Unicron’s Faster-Than-Light Travel Method

What kind of thoughts keep the strange minds at chez AddAltMode up at night? Well, we have relatively few skeletons in our closet, and no strong phobias, so it’s mostly the eccentric stuff; by which we mean musings on 30-year-old movies about robots.

In The Transformers: The Movie, the planet-eating monster Unicron appears to be able to traverse interstellar distances very quickly and with great ease. It is clear that Unicron possesses some sort of faster-than-light (FTL forthwith, due to laziness) engine.

Unicron devours the planet Lithone. © 1986 Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions, and Hasbro.

Unicron devours the planet Lithone. Presumably, he got to where Lithone was from where we was previously at faster-than-light speeds, or else they’d’ve seen him coming and evacuated earlier.

Being a giant nerd, I wonder which of the many methods of faster-than-light travel science fiction has postulated would be Unicron’s choice. Does he slip his vast bulk into some sort of hyperspace, perhaps some sort of nightmarishly haunted hyperspace like the Warp from Warhammer 40,000?

Perhaps he exploits wormholes or pre-made stargates, but they’d have to be pretty large to accommodate his planet-sized bulk: whilst his size in TFTM is confusing and inconsistent, notes attached to Floro Dery’s concept art for Unicron suggest that his body is as large as a gas giant, and those are pretty big.

Floro Dery's Concept Art for Unicron. (© 1986 Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions, and Hasbro.)

Floro Dery’s Concept Art for Unicron. (© 1986 Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions, and Hasbro.)

Looking at the first picture of Unicron above, it became clear to me how Unicron travels: He uses quantum jump engines similarly to the starship Lost Light in More Than Meets The Eye. How can I tell? Simple:

The Lost Light and Unicron (again). Not the spiny features circled in red in both images.

The Lost Light and Unicron (again). Not the spiny features circled in red in both images.

The spines at the top of the Lost Light are called “fuel quills” and are an essential part of the ship’s FTL propulsions system. Unicron has rows of similar-looking spines along his equator in planet mode, which are folded away in robot mode. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that these serve a similar purpose? Not to my mind! from now on, my head-canon is this: the spines on Unicron’s equator are part of the system that fuels his FTL travel mechanisms.

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