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Starscream in the Transformers cinematic universe. This is also how he appears in the Surgeon stories.

Starscream is a character from the Transformers franchise. He is the treacherous air commander and lieutenant of Megatron who he wishes to overthrow and take leadership of the Decepticons for himself.

In literature, he serves as the hidden secondary antagonist of the Surgeon stories with the true antagonist role being taken by The Fallen.

Description

Many authors have created many characters in the franchise based on the appeal of Starscream's treachery and cunning; most of these share his desire to lead the Decepticons. Starscream has the ambition to overthrow Megatron as the Decepticons' leader. He has controlled the Decepticons at times, but he usually suffers defeat. Starscream is ruthless, cruel, and more intelligent than average Decepticons, but also, unlikely to act directly on his aspirations without first securing conditions favorable to his ascension. He considers himself vastly superior to other Decepticons and finds Megatron contemptible for his antiquated military strategies and tactics.

The Cobra Origination

Starscream's voice in the Surgeon stories.

In his original appearance, Starscream transforms into a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. As Decepticon Air Commander, he leads the other Decepticon Seeker jets, many of whom share his physical design. His technical specifications indicate top speed as Mach 2.8 and altitude ceiling as 52 miles (84 km). Launchers mounted on his arm (under his wings in jet mode) can deliver cluster bombs capable of leveling a 10,000 square feet (900 m2) area and fire his signature null ray, which for brief periods disrupts the flow of electricity in any circuitry it contacts. This action temporarily renders inoperable any electronic device or machine, including Transformers.

Literature

The Surgeon stories:

As a Decepticon, Starscream is one of the hidden and eventual true antagonists of the Robot Saga, the second part of the Surgeon stories revived series and along with the other Decepticons undergoes a huge change:

I am Cobra Commander

He is now notably less cowardly (in Transformers: Prime, Megatron tells him to "quite grovelling"), whiny, sycophantic (his general personality in the Transformers cinematic universe) and treacherous. This incarnation of Starscream is now much more sinister, loyal and overall is a much darker character; much like Prince John in The Curse of Maid Marian.

The Robot Saga also grants him his wish of ruling the Decepticons where, unlike other incarnations (especially the Animated version where he is much more of a punching bag to the wiki founder), he is actually good at leadership. While he is the leader of the Decepticons and ultimately poses a larger threat to the Surgeon however, he is still the Saga's hidden secondary antagonist because of The Fallen being trapped in limbo.

However, aspects of Starscream's old personality remain such as his contempt for Megatron who he instead sees as a General Failure and this extends to his promotion: When given command of the Decepticons, Starscream promotes Shockwave to his second in command serving with Slipstream owing to Shockwave also wanting to overthrow Megatron albeit for two different reasons (Starscream wanted leadership for personal reasons while Shockwave wanted leadership because he considered it logical).

While Shockwave is given a promotion, Starscream chooses a new fate for one of Megatron's devoted followers, Soundwave: Along with every Decepticon sub faction such as the Constructicons, he has Soundwave cloned; the clone is stuck in his computer alt mode, only able to operate as communications. As for the real Soundwave, he is kicked upstairs: He is also given a promotion, but only has authority over his drones instead of an army like Shockwave.

The Sins of Doom:

As a hidden antagonist, Starscream only appears at the end of this story where he is actually promoted to leadership of the Decepticons by The Fallen who is an un-named character in the series for the most part. In the story, he is summoned by a supercomputer to an abandoned warehouse where it is revealed his superior wishes to contact him.

The Fallen comes on screen and grants him his wish of wanting to rule the Decepticons since 1984 when the franchise came out; a speechless Starscream thanks his master, who soon goes on a rant about being stuck in limbo waiting for an alignment that could free him and so promises the new leader that if he serves him well, then he will make Starscream one of the most powerful Decepticons on Earth.

But before cutting off, The Fallen gives Starscream a very stern warning not to disappoint either him or the other Decepticons again, like he had done for thirty four years. What the story doesn't detail however, is Starscream's power shuffle of the Decepticon five bad band leadership:

The Fallen serving as the series' antagonist, Starscream as the series' secondary antagonist though taking over because of the Fallen's situation, Soundwave serves as eyes and ears of the Decepticon ruled Earth as an evil genius, Shockwave also shares this role but also acts as a Decepticon field commander who rules over his men through logic and finally Slipstream, commander of an Amazon brigade given to her by Starscream under the promise that if she rules with him, he will give her leadership of the female Autobots forcibly integrated into the Decepticons as well as female Decepticons alike.

Droid of the Outlands:

Starscreammovieheadshot

Starscream's face as seen in the Decepticon ruled parallel world.

Starscream still appears as a shadowy character in the story Droid of the Outlands in the Decepticon ruled parallel world where he is described like this:

"For thirty four years or so, this "Starscream" had wanted to overthrow "Megatron" and become the leader of the "Decepticons"; now, in this world, he had that chance. And for thirty four years, he had been all sorts of things to the "Decepticons", from their punching bag to someone who had the most annoying voice in the world and that person you would not want to be around for longer than a millisecond."

While he is still a dark character and less whiny, cowardly, sycophantic and toadying however, elements of Starscream's personality are still evident, specifically his vanity which highlights in a personality cult in the Decepticon ruled world of him, like the personality cult of Doctor Doom in The Sins of Doom.

G1 Starscream voice

Starscream's voice in the original G1 Cartoon.

His voice is also much more deeper and snarling instead of high pitched and screechy like his original G1 incarnation (and especially in the Transformers cartoon's third season where he becomes a ghost and gets a new body courtesy of Unicron). In this story, he is first seen in the shadows giving the speech as depicted in the video to Decepticons around the world to illustrate that as their new leader, he had better be taken seriously or else.

This speech would also be re-used by the wiki founder in Defenders of Earth as the speech that Nelarth, Lord of the Black was described as giving to his eventual queen Nilkozah before he overthrew and killed his old leader Dardathun the Subjugator and seizing control of the Demon Empire.

Revelation:

In the third story of the Robot Saga, Starscream now begins to appear more physically and while the wiki founder writes him as a much more darker and evil character, most of his personality traits still remain particularly his vanity as evidenced by a personality cult in the alternate world visited by the Surgeon and his companions Amanda Mycroft and Jenna Lillywhite.

Unlike the pictures of Doctor Doom which is much more traditional with posters around Latveria depicting him as a wise and benevolent ruler than the armour clad autocrat that the rest of the world knows him as, Starscream's personality cult is much more modernised and akin to Big Brother, with his face being shown on giant television screens.

It's also one of these telescreens that the Surgeon and his companions come across, hinting they've stepped into another personality cult. Finally, Starscream appears physically to the Decepticon prisoners in the form of the Surgeon's companions Amanda Mycroft and Jenna Lillywhite where he demands to know how both women got on this planet given that humans are extinct.

When Jenna refuses, Starscream intends to use someone else to do the job for him: Shockwave. It is with the combined efforts of Shockwave and Soundwave (despite being at the electronics store with the Surgeon) that Starscream eventually learns that Amanda Mycroft and Jenna Lillywhite are in fact time travellers when Shockwave uses a device to delve into their memories.

Intrigued by both mentioning the Surgeon, Starscream intends to meet the Surgeon face to face; to do it, he orders Soundwave to broadcast him on the telescreens across the United Kingdom. On the screens, Starscream blackmails the Surgeon and orders him to come to the Decepticon base if he ever wants to see his companions alive again.

When he does, the Surgeon orders Starscream to let his companions go which the normally treacherous air commander does...but he pulls another gambit: Once the Surgeon decides to leave this world, refusing to have anything to do with the Decepticons anymore, Slipstream orders Starscream to stop the SIDRAT crew escaping.

But the new Decepticon leader already has it under control and orders Barricade to make sure they never leave this planet; as a result, the SIDRAT is destroyed and Starscream appears before the SIDRAT crew one last time and tells them:

"Humans have already fallen to Decepticons! And you will be no different! You will never leave this world!"

Old Enemies, New Allies:

Back at the Decepticon base, Starscream has been involved in torturing the Surgeon's companions but in Old Enemies, New Allies he has a helping hand with Shockwave in torturing the Surgeon and further learns that he is a Time Lord. Though during the story, it is really Shockwave who does much of the torture while Starscream watches on.

Once he learns the origins of the Surgeon and his name, Starscream begins to get a more prominent role in the story as he tells the Surgeon what he wants to know: How this world is the way it is which goes something like this:

Since 1984, Autobots and Decepticons were introduced to the world (our world) with the Autobots being said as wanting to preserve life while the Decepticons were said to want to destroy any other life that wasn't Cybertronian. While Starscream was much more loyal to Megatron than in other continuities (like Transformers Animated for instance and especially Transformers Animated), his contempt for his old leader is still evident.

Though that may be to do with Megatron's General Failure characterisation during G1 since over time, the former Decepticon leader got more and more intelligent, vicious and evil (especially in Transformers Prime and to some extent Transformers Animated). Keeping on with keeping his word, Starscream shows the SIDRAT crew what exactly happened to the world: The Decepticons invaded in considerably huge numbers overwhelming the Autobots who struggled to keep the Decepticons down and protect the humans at the same time.

As the conflict intensified, both sides began to be helped by two kinds of supers (from the Marvel and DC universes for convenience): Super heroes for the Autobots and Super villains for the Decepticons. During the war (which is described like the apocalypse depicted in the Book of Revelation), the heroes tried to shelter the humans while Autobots fought the Decepticons while the villains tried killing the humans while the Decepticons fought the Autobots...except for one man who had unexplained motives.

During the war, the Decepticons already gained the advantage owing to Megatron's better sense of strategy but gained even more of an advantage when they unleashed The Fallen who wiped out Autobot and superhero alike. Some managed to survive however, and those who did were either imprisoned or killed by the Decepticons.

The villains on the other hand were either captured right away (like Mystique, Catwoman and Cheetah) while others were forced on the run (like The Joker, Black Mask and the Green Goblin) when the Decepticons had no further use for them. Imprisoned supers were then scanned by the Pretenders and impersonated giving the Decepticons two Amazon brigades owing to them killing off men, children and babies while sparing women and super heroines.

But The Fallen wasn't finished yet and so merged with Megatron, who had put a curse on his own body which meant anyone who merged with him would be cast into limbo. And that was the ultimate fate of The Fallen; Starscream also reveals that two supers who weren't imprisoned right away were Wasp and Kamala Khan who were both instead captured, experimented on by Shockwave who took away Wasp's ability to shrink and Kamala's ability to alter her body like Mr. Fantastic, and imprisoned.

The villains on the other hand who survived the war were killed...but not by the Decepticons and it is not yet elaborated on because Starscream decides the SIDRAT crew have seen enough. But the leaders are interrupted before they can start.

The source of the interruption? Two figures they thought were dead: Two Face and the Green Goblin (though the figures are not named in the segment when they launch their assault on the Decepticon base) who attack the leaders and take the SIDRAT crew for themselves.