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Tarantulas (originally spelled Tarantulus) is a fictional character from the Transformers series. He is a Predacon in the Beast Wars series who turns into a tarantula. Due to problems in trade-marking the name, later releases of the character were called Predacon Tarantulus by Hasbro.
The character of Tarantulas as seen on the television series was very different from how Hasbro originally depicted him on his tech specs. On the specs he was a stealthy ninja of average intelligence who liked to feed on humans, not a double agent or scientist. When Tarantulas was re-released in 2006 they changed his tech specs to more reflect the television series character. Ironically, while he seemed to be more of a scientist (and double agent, serving his own agenda as much as Megatron's, although he did like preying on animals), Blackarachnia was much more adept in the martial arts than he was. His weapons include his shoulder "legs" shooters and a missile launcher in his original form. In his Transmetal form, he used shoulder-mounted missile-launchers and a pistol. Sometimes he used webs and other alternate weapons.
Megatron refers to Tarantulas in "Nemesis part 1" as "Unicron's spawn". According to the Beast Wars writers, this is in fact proof that Tarantulas is not an ordinary Predacon. Writer Bob Forward has claimed that this was in fact meant to show that Tarantulas was descended from Unicron himself. This explains his assertion that destroying The Ark wouldn't affect him, because he and the council have different origins. Although, it is never stated in the show that Tarantulas is descended from Unicron. The closest there has been to a confirmation of the link was in Transformers: The Ultimate Fan Guide. It was claimed he had dark science links dating back to the Chaos-Bringer. Although, whether this in fact means that Tarantulas is descended from Unicron is unknown.
Although he was openly contemptuous of Megatron, he seemed to be genuinely afraid of Optimus Primal. On two separate occasions he retreated when he realized that Optimus was coming; and on a third occasion he refrained from acting in a situation when he saw Optimus. In fact, though he deeply hated the Vok, Optimus Primal appeared to be the only one that Tarantulas feared.
Tarantulas was one of the original members of Megatron's Darksyde crew who stole the Golden Disk artifact from the Cybertron archives. A recurring gag throughout the series is his tendency to get squashed by something, usually a boulder. He has been known to attack enemies both physically and psychologically. He is often considered one of the most sadistic and treacherous members of the Predacons, a mad scientist in his own right. He was the one who infected Blackarachnia and Inferno with Predacon shell programs (and once Rhinox as well). In the case of Blackarachnia, he reprogrammed her from a Maximal Protoform with the full intention of her being his mate and partner. He later developed an obsession with the "She-spider" (as he often called her), because of how much she rivaled him in skills. However, when he was consistently betrayed and rivaled by Blackarachnia, he then took to calling her "Witch". Another attempt to create a spider Predacon failed because the pod had already scanned a fire ant, which resulted in Inferno.
Megatron often relied on Tarantulas because of his technological and strategic brilliance. However, he was always suspicious of his intentions and aspirations as well as his somewhat psychotic nature (he made comments about Tarantulas' "treachery" long before he ever found about his agenda). He was well known for his frequent maniacal laughter. Megatron would eventually discover Tarantulas' role but, much to Tarantulas' amusement, could not afford to kill him as he still had need of his talents.
At points in the first season, Tarantulas would show to have abnormal levels of knowledge about the Vok (then simply called the "aliens") and even knew in advance they planned to destroy the planet. He attempted to capture and modify a Maximal Stasis Pod so he could escape. Unfortunately for him, Megatron learned of this and sent Inferno to stop him. The arsonist Predacon torched Tarantulas with his flamethrower, seemingly disabling him. Despite his body being blasted, Tarantulas' managed to download his mind temporarily into Blackarachnia's body when she tried to access his datatracks.
Tarantulas continued to influence Blackarachnia's body, forcing her to abandon a battle with the Maximals (much to Megatron's fury) to return his newly transmetalized body to the Predacon base. There, Tarantulas' mind was transferred back into his body but kept a psychic link to use Blackarachnia as his puppet, forcing her to attempt to gain information on Megatron's Golden Disks. However, Blackarachnia betrayed him, waiting until he was distracted by the Maximals to download the data for herself. Tarantulas retained the link until Blackarachnia forced him to break it by threatening to kill herself, which would also kill him.
After that (and the resurrection of Optimus Primal as a transmetal), Tarantulas remained with the Predacons for a while. Although, he was always following his own agenda (even sabotaging a Predacon mission in order to gain a new lair). Tarantulas became a free agent after the discovery of the Vok ship that abducted Airazor and Tigatron in "Other Visits", much to Megatron's fury.
The two formed an alliance of sorts after, promising to share its secrets. Megatron predictably pulled a double-cross, forcing Tarantulas (who had planned to do the same) to form a wary alliance with the Maximals to stop him from returning to Cybertron with the ship, actually helping them to stop Megatron due to his hatred of the Vok. After this, he was often seen helping Megatron if he had something to gain from it. The two never truly trusted each other, resorting to spying on each other and bugging the others' communications.
Tarantulas also attempted several schemes of his own, attempting to take Protoform X's pod for himself while forcing Blackarachnia to reveal her knowledge, only to get beaten up by Silverbolt and subsequently torn apart by the psychotic Protoform X. Later, when Ravage was sent to Earth, Tarantulas showed his true colors. Ravage identified Tarantulas as an agent of the Tripredacus council. Tarantulas then aided Ravage and the Maximals in capturing Megatron by disabling the defenses of the Darksyde . When Ravage switched sides after seeing a recording of the original Megatron, Tarantulas also switched sides, helping him to attack the Axalon . However, their attack failed when Rattrap delivered bombs onto Ravage's ship in a daring solo assault on the vessel, with Tarantulas being blown to bits when the demolition charges glued onto his hands exploded.
Shown to be rebuilt by spider-like repair bots in "Optimal Situation" Tarantulas only appeared sparingly, working on his own agenda off-screen, though he appeared to have rejoined the Predacons. Megatron referred to him as "Lieutenant" and he appear to function as a squad commander on the Predacon mission to try and to kill Blackarachnia (now having defected to the Maximals) and Cheetor with the aid of cloned transmetal enhanced Velociraptors and on the Predacon mission to ensure Blackarachnia would die when her Shell Program was being tampered with (this nearly got him killed by a vengeful Silverbolt). His hatred of the Vok was also made clear although the reason behind it remained a mystery.
He finally cut all ties with the Predacons when he manipulated the gullible Quickstrike into using Optimus Primal (who Quickstrike could control via Tarantulas' control suit gadget) to kill Megatron, throwing him into a lava pit as he warred for control of the spark of his namesake. With Megatron's seeming demise, Tarantulas attempted to destroy The Ark, setting it to self-destruct. However, his plan was foiled on both fronts—Megatron arose from the pit, mutated by the power of his ancestor into a massive new dragon form, one he quickly used to full effect on the traitor, first roasting him with blasts of fire then telling him that while Megatron could suffer Tarantulas' treachery, he could not suffer his incompetence (likely meaning that this action was too much for him tolerate), and threw him into the lava pit himself, finishing with "Treachery requires NO mistakes". Tarantulas survived this. Elsewhere, Blackarachnia used her knowledge of Tarantulas' methods to halt the self-destruct countdown.
When Tarantulas attempts to alter history by destroying the Autobots and Decepticons dormant within the Ark he reveals that neither he nor the Tripredacus Council are of Decepticon or Autobot origin, but are descended from Unicron and would not be affected by the time-line alteration. Thus prompting Megatron referring to him as "Unicron's Spawn" It is further implied that this might have been in keeping with the Council's plans.
Badly damaged and forced into hiding after this, Tarantulas attempted to take over control of Tigerhawk from the Vok, ironically saving Megatron (Tigerhawk was about to kill him). Here he revealed that this was the plan of the Tripredacus Council, who were not descended from Autobot and Decepticon like the rest of the Cybertronians, and wanted the planet's current existence erased from the timeline (and hence would not have been affected by the destruction of The Ark). However, in doing so, he inadvertently attracted the direct attention the Vok influence and, as it tried to enter his own body, he accidentally vaporized himself with his own machinery (comically leaving his legs). It is revealed in the two-part series finale "Nemesis", that Tarantulas had been repairing and restoring the crashed Decepticon warship, Nemesis, for his own use.
Pieces of Tarantulas' corpse reappeared in the Beast Machines episode "Spark of Darkness". Megatron's depolarized Spark took control of a Transformer corpse. Although it was never identified or recognized as Tarantulas, the corpse had Transmetal Tarantulas' legs, and torso. However, it lacked Tarantulas' spider legs, shoulder missile-launchers, chestplate and had a head reminiscent of Dinobot's. This body was also considerably larger than the Beast Wars rendition as this version was a lot bigger than both Blackarachnia and Silverbolt. It was likely that it was composed of a cocktail of all the fallen Beast Wars Transformers.
In the Beast Wars: Primeval Dawn comic, it is revealed that Tarantulas' destruction was an elaborate ruse engineered by himself, in order to absorb the Vok who possessed Tigerhawk into himself. With the power of the Vok at his command Tarantulas now planned to destroy the rest of the Vok and refashion the timeline to his own desire. Reviving Ravage and adding Razorclaw, Spittor and Iguanus to his ranks, he sought to complete the task he had begun. However, he met opposition in the Vok's new avatar, Primal Prime, as well as with the returned Tigatron and Airazor.
Although there would be no Tarantulas toy for the Universe line, Tarantulas (seemingly in the Vok-afflicted body from Primeval Dawn) appeared in the Transformers: Universe comic book series. Presumably after his defeat in the Primeval Dawn storyline, he joined forces with Unicron's Decepticons. He welcomed Blackarachnia back to the side of evil (Transformers Universe #2) and sent her on a mission against the Autobots (Transformers: Universe #3).
Tarantulas was featured in the 2006 BotCon tale Timelines: Dawn of Futures Past. Much more of the background surrounding the theft of the Golden Disk artifact was revealed. After Megatron and his crew had stolen the Golden Disk Tarantulas was able to decode enough information from the Golden Disk to set a course through Transwarp space - all the while reporting his discoveries to his master on the Tripredacus Council member General Ram Horn. With a little help from Laserbeak and Buzzsaw (secretly sent by Divebomb to ensure Megatron's plan to change history succeeded) they destroyed one of their pursuers, and the newly christened Darksyde fled into Transwarp space, with the Axalon in pursuit - thus beginning the Beast Wars. Art sketches by artist Marcelo Matere in the latter section of the comic indicate his pre-Earth mode was that of a multi-wheeled transport.
Tarantulas featured in Machine Wars Termination where he emergef from a stasis pod stolen from Jhiaxus by the Predacons, one of four; the others are thought to have contained the Tripredacus Council members.
Tarantulas featured in Dawn of the Predacus where he appeared as one of the minions of the Tripredacus Council while also working alongside Megatron's forces. He helps form Predacus in order to take down Predaking and bring an end to the Great War.
BotCon 2016: Crawling up from a pit of the unknown, the Secret Police member Predacon Tarantulas is really one of the Tripredacus Council's covert agents. He has been working with them longer than even the logs of the Great Wars can remember. A mind as brilliant as it is twisted, Predacon Tarantulas is a key member of the Council's large scale pans and instrumental in the creation of the combiner technology they currently desire. There have been rumblings that he will soon be assigned to a major covert mission within the ranks of Predacon rogues to further flesh out the ranks of the Tripredacus Elders. Predacon Tarantulas wields a unique weapon which injects a cyber-toxin straight into a Cybertronian's spark to cause instant paralysis. Its dual prong nature is of his own design, feeling he must one-up the offensive creation of his Councilmen superiors as to maintain his reputation as an elite scientist within their ranks.
Tarantulas appeared in the 1999 Transformers: Beast Wars Transmetals video game for the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation. The Playstation version of the game included a loading screen that displayed the statistics of Tarantulas, stating that he was 250 centimeters tall and weighed 2100 kilograms.
Tarantulas appeared in the 2006 TransformersCon voice actor play. Voices in the play were performed by a variety of volunteers and the actual voice actors attending the convention. In this play various Transformers from different timelines and realities were swept up in a repeat wave and transported along with Unicron to Earth. The Transformers included original Tracks, Ariel, Cosmos and Megatron, Beast Wars Tarantulas, Robots in Disguise Sky-Byte and Beast Machines Tankor. Tarantulas was seemingly plucked from some time in early season two of Beast Wars. Unlike most of the Transformers present, Tarantulas immediately allied himself with Unicron, who sensed the spider as one of his servants. Eventually the Transformers were able to learn that the death of Unicron in 2005 was what created the repeat wave. They defeated Unicron by tricking him into Transforming and using up his power, then using the Key to Vector Sigma program (which Tankor had brought with him) to tap into the power of Vector Sigma itself, and through it the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. With Unicron severely drained the various Transformers faded back to their original timelines.
Another Pre-Beast Wars version of Tarantulas-here based on the Machine Wars version of Hoist or Hubcap-appeared in the E-Hobby comic released with Convobat. Apparently a minion of Straxus, he and Terradive attempt to capture Megalligator only to be thwarted by his summoning of Convobat.
A new version of Tarantulas was later introduced in The Transformers from IDW as a monstrous Transformers who posed as the Guiding Hand member Mortilus and manipulated several Transformers, including Roadbuster of the Wreckers.
- Kenner Beast Wars Transformers Deluxe Tarantulas
- Tarantulas was a deluxe-sized toy released in the first wave of Beast Wars figures in 1996 by Hasbro. He shared a common mold with Blackarachnia, but in the television series they proportioned Tarantulas like the toy and used the mutant head from the toy, whereas Blackarachnia was given more female proportions and they used the robot head from the toy. This toy was later recolored into the unreleased Halloween Horricon Blackarachnia.
- In early Beast Wars toy commercials, they referred to this character as Tarantula.
- Kenner Beast Wars Transformers Deluxe Transmetal Tarantulas
- He was later reformatted as transmetal spider with attributes of a motorcross bike. One criticism of the toy was that it was very top heavy in robot mode, and this was actually utilized in the episode "Tangled Web." In Japan this figure was sold individually and also packaged together with transmetal Rhinox.
- Kenner Beast Wars Transformers Deluxe Fox Kids Transmetal Tarantulas
- The transmetal toy was recolored for his Fox Kids release. These colors were used to depict Tarantulas in the Primeval Dawn and Universe comics.
- Hasbro Beast Wars Transformers Deluxe 10th Anniversary Predacon Tarantulus (2006)
- In 2006 the original Tarantulas toy was one of the toys selected for the Beast Wars 10th Anniversary toyline. He was repainted in more show-accurate colors. His name is indicated on packaging as Predacon Tarantulus, the spelling of his proper name changed for trademark reasons. He came packaged with one of the six pieces used to make the Transmutate toy. He also came with a DVD with the Beast War episode Spider's Game on it.
- Hasbro Transformers: Generations Combiner Wars Dawn of the Predacus (2016)
- A BotCon 2016 exclusive 5 pack.
- Cicada con is a recolor of Generations Combiner Wars Deluxe Skydive. Turns from robot to jet.
- Ram Horn is a remold of Generations Combiner Wars Deluxe Brawl. Turns from robot to drill tank.
- Ravage is a remold of Generations Combiner Wars Deluxe Breakdown. Turns from car to robot.
- Sea Clamp is a remold of Generations Combiner Wars Voyager Silverbolt. Turns from jet to robot.
- Tarantulas is a remold of Generations Combiner Wars Deluxe Rook. Turns from armored vehicle to robot.
- Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Third Edition. Infobase Publishing. p. 442. ISBN 978-0-8160-6599-8.
- Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc.. p. 87. ISBN 1405304618.
- Stalking The Prey: A Guide to Hasbro's Beast Wars by Nicholas R. Messina, Jr., Lee's Action Figure News and Toy Review #71, page 34-40, September 1998
- "Transformers '96 Beast Wars". Lee's Action Figure News & Toy Review 1 (40): 59. February 1996.
- Transmetal Tarantulas