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The Headmasters are a variant of Transformers so called because they can transform into the heads of larger robots.
In The Transformers, the American exclusive fourth season introduced the Headmasters as the joint creation of the Nebulan resistance and the Autobots, who ended up on Nebulos along with several Decepticons due to Galvatron's attempt to steal the Plasma Energy Chamber. The project was designed to enable the two groups to work together against the Autobot's enemies and the malevolent rulers of Nebulos, the Hive, as well as to provide a life support system for an injured Daniel Witwicky. The Decepticons later emulated the technology and also created the Targetmasters, only for the Autobots and Nebulan resistance to emulate that technology as well. The ultimate expression of the Headmaster design would be produced by Zarak and Spike Witwicky, the latter reconstructing the Hive capital into the massive Scorponok while Spike joined forces with the Autobot Cerebros to turn the former Nebulan capital into Fortress Maximus.
Transformers: The Headmasters revised the Headmaster concept, instead featuring them as Transformers whose physical forms developed into much smaller forms than those of typical Cybertronians. They made up for this by developing and learning to use larger robotic bodies known as Transtectors, which their smaller robot forms could pilot or form the heads of.
Robots in Disguise
In Robots in Disguise, a new version of Fortress Maximus was introduced as a pure robot. The robot Cerebros became the head of the Emissary robot, while their combined form became the head of Fortress Maximus.
Transformers: Animated featured a new take on the Headmaster concept, revolving around the character of Henry Masterson a deranged roboticist in the employ of Isaac Sumdac.
Henry Masterson was employed at Sumdac Industries, but unlike his peacefully minded employer was obsessed with the idea of creating and controlling war machines; when Sumdac realized this, he fired Masterson. Determined to prove the worth of his creations, he took up the Headmaster persona and, finding that most Earth-based robots were incapable of supporting his massive Headmaster unit, he used it to separate the head of Bulkhead from his body and take control of the massive Autobot. He eventually attacked the Detroit nuclear plant and proved a serious obstacle for the Autobots, but they finally managed to dislodge him from Bulkhead's body and captured his unit despite it transforming into a small, mobile robot, and he was taken to prison. However, he was later released from prison and reemployed by Porter C. Powell, a corrupt businessman who had taken over Sumdac Industries after Isaac disappeared.
Masterson later stole Sentinel Prime's body for use in his purposes, modifying his Skyboom Shield before facing Optimus Prime in battle aboard a cargo ship. Optimus defeated him and restored Sentinel's head, but Powell's manipulation of legal technicalities saw Masterson released from police custody without punishment. The Headmaster unit was later stolen from Sumdac Tower by the Decepticons, with Megatron threatening to use it to send Bulkhead's body on a rampage unless the Autobot helped him complete his Space Bridge. Bulkhead acquiesced, but Isaac Sumdac-who had been Megatron's captive-later used the unit to seize control of Starscream's body and attack Megatron, though this attack proved ineffective.
Masterson and Powell were later expelled from Sumdac Tower after Isaac returned and his daughter Sari Sumdac was revealed to be a Transformer with a human form, and Masterson hunted down his unit and found both it and Starscream's inert and headless body. Taking control of it, he made another attack on the Autobots, but was defeated when Optimus Prime tricked him into trying to transform Starscream's body, which wasn't able to accommodate the Headmaster unit serving as its head in jet mode. Masterson was sent to prison once again, while the unit was taken back to Sumdac Tower; this would inadvertently be fused together with a forklift and animated by a fragment of the AllSpark, creating the Constructicon leader Dirt Boss. Though he never functioned as a Headmaster unit, Dirt Boss did demonstrate the ability to take control of the bodies of other Transformers.
- Cerebros/Spike Witwicky
- Go Shooter