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Sparkplug (Transformers)

Sparkplug is the name of several fictional characters in the various Transformers universes.

Transformers: Generation 1 (adult)

Irving/William/Col. Daniel "Sparkplug" Witwicky
Sparkplug in the episode "More Than Meets The Eye Part 2".
Autobot ally
Sub-group Humans
Alternate modes None
Series Transformers: Generation 1
English voice actor Chris Latta

Sparkplug Witwicky is the patriarch of the Witwicky family who was vastly unlike his two sons, in that he was portrayed in startlingly different ways across the two main fictions. The Transformers Classics Mirage toy sports an advertisement for Witwickey Sparkplugs, a reference to this character.

Marvel Comics

Although Sparkplug started out as being quite similar to his animated counterpart in the comic book universe, aiding in the repair of Bumblebee when his son, Buster, brought the injured robot to his garage, his personality took a sharp turn after he was kidnapped by the Decepticons. Instructed by Megatron to develop a process that would convert Earthen gasoline into fuel they could consume, Sparkplug drew on his memories of his time as a mechanic in the Korean War, recalling an instance where he had sabotaged the enemy vehicles' fuel and brake lines, and did the same to the Decepticons, poisoning their fuel and allowing the Autobots to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. However, before this heroic act could come to light, many of the Autobots believed that Sparkplug had betrayed them, and an over-reactive Jazz let loose with his flamethrower, causing Sparkplug to have a heart attack. Thankfully, he soon recovered, but his opinion of the Transformers had changed with that action, and he forbade Buster from interacting with them again.

Ironically, Sparkplug would also come to fall prey to a hypnotic Decepticon device in the comic book continuity as well, drawn in by Ratbat's "Wash and Roll" car wash scheme, which mesmerised humans into giving up their gasoline to the Decepticons in a complex-yet-effective plan. Buster was able to break the hypnotic effect with a splash of water, and Ratbat's plan was foiled, but Sparkplug was given even more cause to hate the Transformers and their involvement in his life when the Predacons destroyed his garage and a vengeful Ratbat captured Buster. Even worse for Sparkplug, when his older son, Spike, returned from college, he took up with the Autobots and was binary-bonded to Fortress Maximus, becoming a mechanical freak in his father's eyes. Spike subsequently saved Buster from the Decepticons, and his father was overjoyed to have his two sons back, although Spike's bond with Fortress Maximus kept him returning to the Transformer war and eventually resulted in his death in battle against Megatron.

Sparkplug's real first name was given as William in issue #3, but was later contradicted in #31 when he gives his first name as Irving.

Animated series

Sparkplug is Spike Witwicky's father. He is described as a widower in the show bible.[citation needed] In addition to being a highly skilled automotive mechanic and engineer, "Sparkplug" Witwicky (for whom no real name was offered in the cartoon) had, in his lifetime, also worked in the crystal mines of Burma, and was working on an oil rig with his son, Spike, in 1984 when a Decepticon attack brought the Transformers into his life. Rescued from drowning by Optimus Prime, Sparkplug became a friend and ally to the Autobots, mainly excited at the prospect of encountering and learning about strange new alien machines and technology he could work on.

A frequent mechanical assistant to Ratchet and Wheeljack, Sparkplug is skilled in physical, practical arts, but like many fathers, lacks knowledge about his son's esoteric tastes, such as types of music, and dinosaurs. Sparkplug owns an automotive garage in New York, which the Autobots refitted to serve as a secondary command base while they were far from their main headquarters.

Aside from helping Bumblebee to plant a bomb that disrupted the Decepticons' crystal-mining operations in Burma, Sparkplug's biggest role in any Transformer adventure was when he was captured by the Decepticons and became the first subject of Doctor Arkeville's mind-controlling hypno-chip. Under Decepticon control, Sparkplug sabotaged many of the Autobots under the preface of repairing their systems, and was later taken to Cybertron to toil there under Shockwave's command, until Wheeljack successfully created a device to undo the hypno-chip's effects.

Sparkplug was never seen or referred to again after the second season of the original Transformers cartoon series, and it is possible that he died or retired at some point between the second season and The Transformers: The Movie, which took place 20 years later.


Sparkplug appeared in the 1984 sticker and story book Return to Cybertron written by Suzanne Weyn and published by Marvel Books.[1]

Sparkplug appeared in the 1984 sticker and story book The Revenge of the Decepticons written by Suzanne Weyn and published by Marvel Books.[2]

Sparkplug was featured in the 1985 Transformers audio books Autobots' Lightning Strike, Megatron's Fight For Power, Autobots Fight Back and Laserbeak's Fury, as well as Decepticon Hideout from the 1986 series. He is not named in any of the books, simply being referred to as "Spike's father".[3]

Sparkplug is featured in the Find Your Fate Transformers book 'Attack of the Insecticons' by Lynn Beach. His invention of the Sun-Pak, a way to power Autobots by solar energy, drives the plot.

Sparkplug Witwicky appears in the 1985 Forest Rescue Mission coloring book published by Marvel Books.

Dreamwave Productions

Sparkplug made no appearances in Dreamwave Productions' version of the G1 universe, instead playing a part in its newly sculpted backstory. After the successful defeat of the Decepticons through a joint Autobot/human operation, Sparkplug was one of the "Magnificent Seven" - a crew of seven humans who would accompany the Autobots and their Decepticon prisoners on the Ark II back to Cybertron, which also including Americans mechanical engineer Mark Marsh and sociologist Linda Richards, Japanese biologist Akira Yashimura, German chemist Rolf Meyer, Russian architect Rudolph Vesic, and British Oxford Professor, Henry Lanson. Sadly, shortly after the Ark II departed Earth's atmosphere, it exploded as part of a plan by Shockwave, taking the lives of Sparkplug and the Magnificent Seven and thrusting the Transformers into stasis.

IDW Publishing

A character by the name of Colonel Daniel Witwicky appears in the second issue of IDW Comic's All Hail Megatron series, it is unknown whether his full name is Daniel. When Danny makes his first appearance his dialog implies a knowledge of cars. This fact, as well as comments made by writer Shane McCarthy on the IDW forums, imply that this character may actually end up being "Sparkplug" Witwicky. Eventually, it was revealed that this is the case.


  • Classics Deluxe Mirage (2006)
The original Mirage received an upgrade in 2006 in the Transformers: Classics line. This Deluxe class car came out in the second wave of the Classics line. Instead of having advertisements from Ligier on it, this Mirage advertised Witwicky Sparkplugs on his spoiler, a reference to the human character from the original Transformers animated series, Sparkplug Witwicky. This toy was designed by Alex Kubalsky.[4] The transformation of this Mirage is very faithful to the original toy.[5]
The mold for this figure was also used for Universe Decepticon Drag Strip[6] and Transformers: Allspark Battles Decepticon Fracture.[7]

Transformers: Generation 1 (kid)

Daniel Witwicky
Autobot ally
Sub-group Humans, Headmasters
Partner Arcee, Wheelie, Hot Rod
Alternate modes Head of Arcee
Series Transformers: Generation 1
English voice actor David Mendenhall
Japanese voice actor Tomiko Suzuki

Daniel Witwicky is a young member of the Witwicky family. He is most often portrayed as the son of Spike and Carly, but was once portrayed as the son of Spike's brother Buster.


Daniel was named the worst cartoon kid sidekick by Topless Robot.[8]

Marvel Comics

Daniel's sole appearance in the Marvel era Transformers continuity is in part one of the U.K. story "Time Wars" (issue #199), where he is seen alongside his father pleading with Rodimus Prime to save the earth.

Animated series

Another character conceived for the animated universe, Daniel Witwicky is the son of Carly and Spike, born in 1993. (Note that Daniel's age is not given in the series, but the script for the movie describes him as being 12 years old by the year 2005.) Living in Autobot City on Earth, Daniel was friends with the young Autobot, Hot Rod, as they broke the rules and had fun together in various ways.

In 2005, when Daniel was particularly feeling the absence of his father (stationed on one of Cybertron's moons), events soon escalated to epic proportions as a Decepticon attack on the city foreshadowed the coming of the planet-eater, Unicron. Watched over by the female Autobot Arcee for the majority of the adventure, Daniel was given his father's old transforming "Exo-Suit" battle armor when the Autobots' shuttle crashed on the Planet of Junk, and he used its powers to escape attacks by the Decepticons and Junkions, and to aid Springer in battle against Wreck-Gar. Arriving on Cybertron, the Autobots' craft was piloted directly into Unicron's massive body, where Daniel was separated from the Autobots, but discovered his father and the three Autobots (Bumblebee, Jazz, and Cliffjumper) who had been captured earlier in the movie when Unicron had consumed Cybertron's twin moons and saved them from meeting a nasty end in an acid vat.

Subsequently, with Hot Rod now in the form of Rodimus Prime and consumed with the duties of leadership, Daniel made a new best friend in the form of new Autobot recruit Wheelie, and they got up to their fair share of trouble when they set out on their own to discover Ultra Magnus's birthday, and stumbled into the clutches of the Decepticons, necessitating rescue by the subject of their search. It was not the last time Daniel wound up in trouble, however, as he and Grimlock soon found their way to the sorcerous dimension of Menonia, where Daniel was imprisoned by the tyrannical Red Wizard. Not long after his return to Cybertron, he was kidnapped by the Quintessons, who sought to harness the unpredictable nature of humans against the Autobots by bringing Daniel's nightmares to life. Daniel was also able to aid the Autobots at times, acting as part of a plan to steal Trypticon's transformation cog.

In 2007, during a friendly race against Blurr, Daniel and Hot Rod worked together to achieve victory, proving one of the theories created by Autobot scientist Brainstorm - that Transformers and humans functioned better together than separately. Soon after, Daniel was among the Autobots and humans who were blasted to the planet Nebulos by the energies of the Plasma Energy Chamber. There, after the Decepticons followed them to the planet and attacked, Daniel attempted to defend Arcee and was mauled by Snapdragon, leaving him fatally wounded. Only the life-support equipment of the Nebulan rebels the Autobots had taken up with was able to keep him alive long enough for the incredible change that was to come. Brainstorm's idea of co-operation was taken to its ultimate extreme when idea Spike performed a procedure to bond some of the rebels and Autobots together as Headmasters to pool their abilities against the Decepticons and Nebulos's evil ruling "Hive". Additionally, to save Daniel's life, Arcee offered herself up as his Headmaster partner, and Daniel and she became bonded, Arcee's head transforming into a duplicate of the Exo-Suit Daniel had previously worn (though in one unusual animation error, when Daniel is seen inside her head, he is still wearing the exo-suit). In the resultant battles against the Decepticons, who duplicated the process, Arcee and Daniel were able to reacquire the stolen key to the Plasma Energy Chamber, but were captured by the Decepticon super-robot, Scorponok, and Daniel was tortured, forcing Arcee to give up the key. Spike - now a Headmaster himself - rescued his son and stopped the Decepticons' plan.

With the removal of'"The Rebirth" from Japanese continuity, replaced with the Transformers: The Headmasters series, Daniel never became a Headmaster on the other side of the Pacific Ocean - instead, he acted as the primary supporting human character of the series, appearing in almost every episode and regularly playing integral roles alongside Wheelie. Although by all rights supposedly older than he was in his American cartoon appearances, the Japanese interpretation of Daniel regresses his personality to a much more petulant, immature child who often bursts into tears; in that regard, much of the Headmasters series is actually about Daniel growing up and maturing.

After Fortress and his Headmasters joined up with the Cybertronian Autobots, Daniel and Wheelie sneaked aboard their battleship so that they could see other planets, and although they were discovered, Fortress allowed them to accompany them on their mission to Planet Beast. Daniel subsequently performed the remarkable act of saving Cybertron by planting the explosives that destroyed a gravity-warping meteor that Galvatron had set on course with the planet. Daniel's tales of Earth ninjas helped expose the deception wrought by Sixshot, and when captured by Decepticons on Mars, he activated the homing signal that brought the Autobots to the planet.

When Spike attempted to hold a peace conference with Galvatron, the Decepticon leader demanded that he leave Daniel on Earth as a show of his good faith. Spike was willing to comply, until the peace conference was revealed as a distraction that allowed the Decepticons to get a heard start on pillaging other planets for energy. Daniel and Wheelie were then permitted by Spike to travel with Fortress and his crew when they set off in pursuit of the Decepticons across the galaxy, so that he might see more planets and grow through his experiences - sadly, it was mostly violence that Daniel saw, although such experiences helped harden him to the realities of war. He was offered one peaceful respite, however, when he met the beautiful young girl, Papika, on the planet of Paradise.

As the Autobots were chasing the Decepticons back to Earth, Daniel foolishly disobeyed orders and sneaked into one of Battleship Maximus's weapons turrets, only for it to be damaged in battle and disconnected from the craft, sending Daniel plummeting to the deserted planet Diamond. Sixshot had also been caught in the storm that dragged him to Diamond, and he rescued the boy from the wreckage, much to Daniel's surprise. Sixshot explained that he might be a Decepticon, but he didn't kill children. In the subsequent adventure they had together, battling Diamond's dangerous native rock creatures, Daniel came to believe that Sixshot was an honorable warrior, and consequently attempted to stop the duel that ensued between him and Chromedome.

Back on Earth, natural disasters caused by Scorponok's plan to destroy the planet began to cause chaos, and Daniel proved to his father how much he had grown by rescuing his mother from the bottom of a cliff. Soon after, during the final battle at the North Pole, Daniel was defended against Decepticon attacks by Sixshot, and as Fortress Maximus was locked in combat with Scorponok, Daniel hit upon the idea of combining all the Transformers' and his energies with the Headmasters' Head Formation, channeling all their power into Fortress Maximus, who destroyed Scorponok's Transtector and won the battle. Daniel was then forced to say his tearful goodbyes as the Autobots left Earth to pursue the Decepticons into space.


Daniel appeared in the 1986 story and coloring book The Lost Treasure of Cybertron by Marvel Books. In this continuity, his father was Buster Witwicky.


In the Japanese manga "Big War" #2 the Autobots Rodimus Prime, Grimlock, Kup and Wheelie, along with their human allies Spike Witwicky and Daniel Witwicky send Computron into battle against Galvatron's new warrior combiner Abominus. The Terrorcons spit "corrosive control liquid" against Computron, taking control of him and turning him into a Decepticon. Spike luckily uses his new Exosuit to free Computron with "defense spray". Defeated, Galvatron retreats.[9]

Dreamwave Productions

Daniel would make a brief cameo appearance in Dreamwave Productions' first Generation One mini-series as a toddler.

3H Publishing

In the Transformers Universe comic released at Botcon 2001, in a story set some years after we had last seen Daniel, we see that he is now a teenager and a college student, who still adventures with the Transformers during semester breaks. Unfortunately, he and Wheelie are involved, with other Transformers including Arcee and Springer, in a major fight with an army of robot ninja drones patterned after Nightbird from the episode of the same name. Wheelie is injured and the only way to stop the robots from causing more harm is for Daniel to detonate manually a large number of explosives, committing suicide to give his friends time to get clear. His loss is deeply felt by Arcee, who enters a long period of depression as a result.


  • Generation 1 Headmaster Arcee (unreleased)
Like all the new characters in the movie (with the exception of Ultra Magnus), Arcee was designed for animation first, but while the other new characters inspired toys that saw final release, Arcee's design never passed early prototype stages. When she became a Headmaster, Takara dallied with the idea of repainting the Chromedome toy to represent her, but the suggestion was abandoned. A few pictures of prototypes have appeared online. In robot mode,Daniel would have been able to turn into Arcee's head, in vehicle mode he would have formed the front of the car.
  • Heroes of Cybertron Arcee (2001)
A non-transforming "Heroes of Cybertron" Daniel Witwicky was released in 2001 with Arcee.

Transformers: Armada

Sub-group Mini-Cons
Rank 5
Partner Optimus Prime
Motto "We must all learn to live in peace!"
Alternate modes Sports Car, Cybertronian vehicle
Series Transformers: Armada

Sparkplug is the young Mini-Con partner of Optimus Prime. He bears a striking resemblance to Bumblebee from the G1 series. He transforms into a sports car and normally powerlinks with Optimus on his left shoulder. He is very open and outgoing, and quickly makes friends with Alexis, Carlos, and Rad. Sparkplug usually operates the mobile command base trailer when Prime is not using it in his Super Mode.[10]

While he was essentially the "leader" of the Mini-Cons in the Armada cartoon, like many Mini-Cons, he played a much bigger role in the comics. He was discovered inside the Mini-Con ship along with the Street Action Team (Perceptor) by the kids, and quickly teamed up with Optimus.

Animated series

In the episode "Runaway", Optimus Prime sent Sparkplug to get the Mini-Cons Astroscope, Payload and Skyblast to talk about using their Requiem Blaster form as a weapon for the Autobots.

Dreamwave Productions

Sparkplug appeared among the Mini-Cons in issue #18 of the Transformers: Armada comic book who aided Over-Run using the Mini-Con Matrix in the defeat of Unicron.


Sparkplug appeared in Transformers Armada: First Contact by Chris Sarracini and James Raiz.

Fun Publications

Sparkplug appeared in the text story from Fun Publications called "Force of Habit." This story explained where he was during the events of the Cybertron story. Ultra Magnus was the commander of various Autobot ships sent to other planets in search for the Cyber Planet Keys. Sparkplug served as captain of the Valiant which was sent to a region near Betelgeuse.

Video games

Sparkplug is among the characters appearing in the 2004 Transformers video game for the Playstation.[11]


  • Armada Mini-Con Sparkplug
Sparkplug was released as four toys. The first was a fairly accurate representation that came with the Armada Optimus Prime figure. As with all Mini-Cons, it could powerlink on any of a number of ports studded over Prime.
Sparkplug's overall design was heavily inspired by the Generation 1 character, Bumblebee. While the final animated version has some minor design changes, the comic book version retained a lot of details making him very similar to Bumblebee. The Sparkplug toys released in the Armada toy line all take on the more Bumblebee-like design.[12][13]
  • Armada Mini-Con Corona Sparkplug
The second, Corona Sparkplug, was a slight redeco with a metallic gold vacuum-metalized paint job and came in a number of different sets, including with the recolored Powerlinx Optimus Prime figure.
The golden Corona Sparkplug figure released in later sets is most likely inspired by Bumblebee's metamorphosis into Goldbug. Both characters had slight robot-mode redesigns with a similar vehicle mode and change from a basic yellow to gold. The two characters also have other parallels, such as being Prime's so-called "side-kick".
  • TV-Boy Micron Prime
There was also a green version exclusive to TV Boy magazine in Japan under its Japanese name, Prime.
  • Built to Rule Mini-Con Sparkplug
Finally, a Mega-Blox version was available with the Built-To-Rule Optimus Prime model set. While not very accurate in its robot mode, it was a fair representation in vehicle mode.[14]

Transformers film series

Ronald "Ron" Witwicky
Sub-group Humans
Function Head of Neighborhood watch.
Series Transformers film series
English voice actor Kevin Dunn

Ronald "Ron" Witwicky is Sam's father, played by Kevin Dunn. Unlike the cartoon, from which the film draws much of its inspiration, "Sparkplug" is not used as a nickname, although Roberto Orci has stated that this may possibly occur in any future sequels.[15]

Movie plot

In the first film, Ron is oblivious of the true nature of his son's car, even at a point when the entire Autobot team is moving around outside his house. He is portrayed as a caring father but also as a rather picky person, cheapskate and a miser, who is at time obsessive in regards to his lawn and often enjoys playing jokes on his son. He also seems to have an irrational fear of earthquakes. Screenwriter Roberto Orci confirmed Ron knows the truth about the Transformers by the end of the first film.[16] Unlike the first two films, in the third film, he has a beard. He and Judy leave Washington DC before the final battle.

Transformers Animated

In Transformers Animated, Sparkplug is the name of three characters.

Robot dog

Function Sari's pet robot dog.
Alternate modes None
Series Transformers Animated

Sparkplug, also known as Sparky, is Sari's robotic pet dog who likes to chew on Sari's key. According to Professor Sumdac, he built Sparkplug as a gift for Sari on her birthday. In "Transform and Roll Out!", Sparkplug and Sari fight over the security key, and Sari got the key after the mutated lice scared away Sparkplug. Even though Sparkplug is Sari's pet, Bulkhead and Bumblebee first thought that Sari was Sparkplug's pet. Bulkhead questioned, "Why would a four-legged bot want a pet that big?". In "Sound and Fury", Sparkplug has not been seen much since Sari took an interest in Soundwave. Luckily for him, Isaac still loves him, who is aware Sparkplug's novelty wore off for Sari. He is not seen in the crowd towards Soundwave when mind-controlled. In "The Return of the Headmaster", once Henry Masterson got his hands on Sparkplug, he becomes an evil robot drone of Henry Masterson and attacks Optimus Prime and Sentinel (without his body).

Adult human

Sparkplug Witwicky
Function One of Sumdac's miners, construction worker.
Alternate modes None
Series Transformers Animated
English voice actor Bumper Robinson (1st appearance), David Kaye (2nd appearance), John Mariano (3rd appearance)

Sparkplug Witwicky is a human miner who works for Issac Sumdac. In "Nature Calls", Sparkplug Witwicky was overseeing two construction bots in a mine, being paid by Isaac Sumdac to find something. Only problem was, that something found them...and it had friends (space barnacles). Sparkplug was attacked, and was presumed dead. In "Sari, No One's Home", while the Autobots were looking for Scrapper and Mixmaster, the Autobot Bumblebee thought that Sparkplug Witwicky's truck was Mixmaster, and fired several bursts from his stingers, which did nothing to damage the truck. Upon being attacked by another alien lifeform, Sparkplug displayed both calmness and familiarity with modern slang by asking "Dude, why you whaling on my truck?" after Bumblebee's attack. In "Three's a Crowd", Sparkplug Witwicky drove an oil tanker and got mugged by the Constructicons.

Human Child

Daniel Witwicky
Sub-group Humans
Partner Ratchet (briefly)
Alternate modes None
Series Transformers Animated
English voice actor Tara Strong
Japanese voice actor N/A

Daniel is the son of Carly and Spike Witwicky. Since his parents work for Professor Sumdac, he is forced into being friends with his daughter, Sari. Spike, Carly and Daniel are seen at a hot dog stand in "Transform and Roll Out" and was later seen in "Sound and Fury" and "Headmaster" voiced by Tara Strong. Daniel, Carly and Spike were also seen in both parts of "Human Error", computer simulations of them riding a bus in the first part while their proper selves appeared in the second. Daniel would later appear in an animated short where he asked Optimus Prime where his trailer goes when he transforms into robot mode, a question in which even Optimus himself cannot figure out the answer.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Major "Sparkplug"
Autobot ally
Sub-group Humans
Partner Whirl
Series Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Major Sparkplug (last name unknown) is a toy-only character partnered with the Autobot Whirl.


  • Dark of the Moon Human Alliance Basic Major Sparkplug/Autobot Whirl (2011)
Major Sparkplug is packaged with the Autobot Whirl and is compitable with any Human Alliance figure.

Transformers: Rescue Bots

Function Burns family pet dog.
Partner Chief Charlie Burns
Alternate modes None
Series Transformers: Rescue Bots

In Transformers: Rescue Bots, Chief Charlie Burn's dog is named Sparkplug. He has not yet appeared in the television series, only in the little pack in story comics that come with the toys.