Starscream, like Optimus Prime and Megatron, is a staple of Transformer’s history. From the beginning he was there, scheming his way to the top of the Decepticon hierarchy, just to be knocked down several pegs by Megatron. Then, along came the 1986 movie and rather than reprimand his duplicitous former Lieutenant for his treacherous behaviour, Megatron — now brought back to life as the mighty Galvatron — choose instead to execute him.
However, you can’t keep a good villain down, and despite being blasted into oblivion, Starscream returns as a ghost. He was then able to scheme his way into a new body.
In the comic books, he is also destroyed not once but twice and, in an act inexplicable even to himself, Megatron is the one to return him to life both times!
“Why? That’s what they all asked me. Why him… why Starscream? Why, of all the Decepticons, did I decide to revitalize the one whose record of deceit and betrayal is legend? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why!” ~ Megatron
For whatever psychologically damaged reason Megatron does keep Starscream around, one thing was clear: he is one difficult ‘bot to kill.
Years later in Beast Wars, it is finally explained that Starscream actually possesses an immortal spark; a spark capable of existing even when the body it was in has been destroyed.
While being singular in character, he has always been intrinsically tied to his brothers-in-arms, the Seekers. Specifically he is one of the three original Season 1 Seekers. His G1 toy is probably one of the most recognizable, which made him one of the first candidates to be re-released in the Generation 2 line, and then updated in the Classics line.
He and his fellow Seekers instilled in me a deep love of the F-15 Eagle. His Classics release goes to great lengths to recreate the look and feel of the original toy, while getting rid of the fact that you no longer have to remove a good portion of his pieces to transform him and adding some nice detailing and paint apps to his alt mode.
I literally went through a number of photo setups trying to get a good shot of these guys, unfortunately it blued the background in the process, but this is as close as I was able to get it.
Of course, all of this attention also made Starscream a solid choice for the Masterpiece line, producing a large, wonderfully detailed model. Oddly enough, it was actually Hasbro’s release of this toy that was painted in the Starscream appropriate colours, rather than the odd greyish blue of the Takara release.
Likewise, Masterpiece Starscream’s alt mode is a thing of beauty.
Starscream’s name and character traits have been homaged frequently in series, all the way up to the most recent movies. Similarly, his original paint scheme has since inspired repaints of those that borrowed his name. Speaking of the most recent movie, a version of his Voyager sized toy was repainted in a G1 fashion (a toy I honestly believe I own but am having trouble locating in the mass of plastic bins) as well as a repaint in the earlier Energon series.
Energon Starscream’s (technically his repaint is named Energon Energon Starscream) alt mode is actually a precursor to the recent movie Starscream’s F-22 Raptor.
Starscream also made it into the Shattered Glass universe. In this mirror universe, the scheming backstabber is an intelligent, affable scientist who is also an overly effusive fan of that universe’s Megatron.
Actually a repaint of Cybertron Starscream, Shattered Glass Starscream foregoes the usual jet fighter for a starfighter.