Hot Rod is brash and headstrong, with an overwhelming self-confidence that borders on arrogance. Kup has assumed the role of mentor and advisor to the impetuous young Hot Rod, offering him wisdom and advice when he needs it (though Hot Rod rarely feels that he does, much to Kup's annoyance).
In contrast, his Rodimus Prime persona — while still headstrong and stubborn — seems to suffer from a severe lack of confidence, often doubting his own decisions and expressing distress over his position as an Autobot leader. Of course, much of this comes from comparisons with his former commander Optimus Prime — and let's face it, shoes-to-be-filled just don't get much bigger than that.
One thing that both sides of this Autobot's identity have in common is their impatience—neither Hot Rod nor Rodimus Prime can stand to wait around when they could be doing something instead. He is also very self-reliant, rarely sending others to do anything when he could be doing it himself. His Targetmaster partner is Firebolt.
Several hundred years ago, Fortress Maximus dispatched Hot Rod and Blurr in a small ship to search for habitable worlds. During this mission, the pair ran afoul of the Tyroxians — unpleasant aliens who captured Blurr and pursued Hot Rod through space. While fleeing, Hot Rod crossed paths with the Autobot war veteran, Kup, living a nomadic existence wandering through space at the time, and the youth's bravado in attacking Tyroxia single-handed re-ignited Kup's fighting spirit. After saving Hot Rod and helping him to rescue Blurr, Kup joined the pair in returning to Cybertron. |Kup's Story|
Hot Rod was among the contingent of Transformers on Cybertron fighting under the command of Fortress Maximus against Scorponok and his lackeys. Though Hot Rod was in high spirits after a successful mission in which they liberated many Autobot prisoners from their enemies, his commander did not share his enthusiasm. Maximus had grown weary of Cybertron's seemingly endless war, and announced that he planned to flee to peaceful Nebulos instead of perpetuating the conflict. Though initially shocked at this declaration, many of his troops agreed to accompany him off-world, Hot Rod among them. But Nebulos had its own share of warmongers, and the Autobots found themselves on the brink of a new conflict with its natives. Hot Rod and ten of his teammates marched toward's Nebulos' capital city, where he surrendered his weapons as a show of of good will and cooperation. As the rest of the group did likewise, others going as far as surrendering their heads to the Nebulans, a ceasefire was brokered. |Ring of Hate|
But the Autobots' arrival on the planet stirred civil unrest, and a fear-mongering campaign was helmed by the xenophobic Lord Zarak. During a visit to the Autobots' headquarters, Zarak and his associates inconspicuously copied Cyberton's coordinates from a machine Hot Rod was working on. This act in time led to the Decepticons being brought to the planet, and the war continuing on a smaller scale. Technological advancements developed during the conflict saw Nebulans being bio-engineered into partnerships with the Transformers. |Broken Glass| Hot Rod became a Targetmaster, and was bonded to the Nebulan sharpshooter, Firebolt, who transformed into his gun. But his first mission as a Targetmaster went awry; the Autobots attempted to protect The Nursery from the Decepticons, only to play part in its demolition during the ensuing firefight. Eventually, the Autobots determined to move their war away from Nebulos, and followed a signal sent by Goldbug, received by Hot Rod, to the planet Earth. |Brothers in Armor|
After leaving Nebulos, Hot Rod and the crew of Steelhaven followed an Autobot distress call to the planet called Earth. During the long journey, they had Fortress Maximus heavily upgraded into a larger, more powerful body. Him and Firebolt were a bit unsettled by the new war-like outlook of their leader, Galen, but he insisted he was merely changing to fit the circumstances they had been dealt. A battle between the Autobot and Decepticon Headmasters proved costly, as Galen died protecting an Earthling from Scorponok. He passed on his control helmet to this boy, Spike Witwicky, leaving Fortress Maximus and the Autobots in his hands. |Trial by Fire|
Hot Rod and the other Targetmasters accompanied Fort Max and Spike Witwicky to visit his father Sparkplug and assure him that they would rescue Buster from the Decepticons. However, upon attempting to infiltrate the Decepticons' island base from their A.T.T.T. the Autobots were surprised to discover that it was in fact a rocket with heavy defences that forced them to retreat. |The Desert Island of Space|
Having recovered the Autobot Goldbug and a floppy disk containing the mind of Optimus Prime, Fortress Maximus and a small team set about attempting to resurrect the legendary Autobot Leader, but to no avail. They were interrupted by Hot Rod with some good news, however — he had managed to locate Goldbug's former home, the Ark. There, the Autobots' current leader, Grimlock, refused to accept Fortress Maximus's authority and challenged him to one-on-one battle for the leadership of the Autobots under the archaic Code of Combat. While Grimlock fought Blaster, Fortress Maximus's champion, on the moon, the assembled Autobots fell under a massed Decepticon attack. During the battle, the Ark was damaged and Maximus sent the Steelhaven back to Nebulos where they would have a better chance of repairing Optimus Prime, leaving Hot Rod and the other Autobots stranded on the moon. |Totaled|
This Hot Rod is from a future where events similar to the original The Transformers: the Movie occurred.
When the new Decepticon leader Galvatron traveled back in time to 1986 as part of a plan to free himself from the control of Unicron, the chaos-bringer used his mental powers to plant knowledge of Galvatron's plan into the minds of Hot Rod, Kup and Blurr and transported them to Cybertron, where they used Galvatron's equipment to follow him into the past. There, with help from the present-day incarnation of Ultra Magnus, they were able to convince Galvatron that he had, in fact, traveled back in time to a parallel universe, where his actions would have no effect on the future. Believing this, Galvatron returned to his own time, and after setting any remaining wrongs to rights, the trio of Autobots also returned to 2005. |Target: 2005|
From there, the remaining events from The Transformers: the Movie occurred. |Fallen Angel|
As the new Autobot leader, Rodimus became paranoid about Galvatron's eventual return, since no body was ever recovered from space. He led the Autobot forces high and low searching the universe for the Decepticon leader, neglecting Cybertron in the process. As a result, Shockwave arose as the new Decepticon leader, and total war broke out on Cybertron once again. Unable to take the time to find Galvatron himself anymore, Rodimus rashly placed a bounty on the Decepticon's head. What Rodimus did not realize, however, was that Galvatron had time-jumped again, traveling back to 1987. |Wanted: Galvatron - Dead or Alive| In 2006, when the freelance peace-keeping agent Death's Head pursued Galvatron back to the '80s, Rodimus was informed of this fact by an Autobot double-agent named Nautilus, and, dismayed at the danger he had unleashed on the past, promptly headed back in time himself to stop the dual threats. |Burning Sky| Once again teaming up with the present-day Ultra Magnus, Rodimus and his team of Kup, Blurr and Wreck-Gar tracked Galvatron down to Mount Verona, where he was attempting to harness the volcano's molten energy. While arguing with Death's Head, Rodimus and the bounty hunter were both attacked, but when Ultra Magnus opened fire on his power siphon, Galvatron was distracted long enough for Rodimus to escape. |Hunters| Rodimus then arranged a plan that saw the Autobots capture Galvatron's time-jump mechanism, in order to have Wreck-Gar re-engineer it to return all the time-travelers to their point of origin. Rodimus engaged Galvatron in a protracted battle to buy Wreck-Gar time, but when the device was activated, Rodimus, Death's Head and the other Autobots were returned to 2006. Galvatron was left behind. |Fire on High| |Vicious Cirlce|
Some time later, a disgruntled Death's Head accepted a contract from the Decepticons on Rodimus Prime's head, and ambushed him while he was inspecting Autobot lines. Their battle subsequently went underground, where Cyclonus and Scourge intervened, downing Death's Head in hopes of being the ones to defeat Rodimus, in order to reclaim their lost standing in the Decepticons' ranks. Rodimus was able to lead Death's Head through the underground tunnels, right into the heart of the Autobot camp, where he offered him advance payment for a different contract — on Cyclonus and Scourge. |Headhunt| Death's Head proceeded to track the two Decepticons for the remainder of the year, until the three of them fell under the mental control of Unicron when they discovered his disembodied head on the planet of Junk in the early days of 2007. Under his control, they assassinated Decepticon leader Shockwave and reignited the stalemated Cybertronian civil war in order to keep the Autobots busy while Unicron worked on rebuilding his body. Rodimus, however, learned of the situation thanks to Smokescreen, and led a small Autobot force to Junk, where Death's Head fought against Unicron's control long enough to project Rodimus's mind into a battle with the demigod on the astral plane. During the battle, explosives planted by Wreck-Gar destroyed Unicron's head, and his mind was sealed within the Matrix. |The Legacy of Unicron|
Later in 2007, the alien Quintessons targeted Cybertron for colonization, and attacked the Autobots with a two-pronged assault on both Cybertron and Earth. When Arcee shirked her guard duty at Autobot City, the Quintessons were given an opening that allowed them to take over the outpost, and when she returned, they gunned her down, and left her outside to bait Rodimus into a trap. Arriving at the city, Rodimus discovered the injured Arcee and opened his chest compartment to heal her with the Matrix, only to have it yanked from his grasp by the Quintesson general, Ghyrik, causing him to revert to Hot Rod. Hot Rod and Arcee managed to give the Quintessons the slip however, and made their way within Autobot City. There, they liberated Blaster's cassettes for back-up, and proceeded to fight their way through the Quintessons to Autobot City's control room. While the others busied themselves keeping the Quintessons at bay, Hot Rod activated Metroplex to smash the alien threat. In battle with Ghyrik, Hot Rod duped the Quintessons with a bit of amateur ventriloquism and reclaimed the Matrix; transformed back into Rodimus Prime again, he routed the Quintessons. |Space Pirates|
Unbeknownst to Rodimus, the Quintessons had sought to colonize Cybertron because their own homeworld was being destroyed by a rift in space and time caused by the Transformers' repeated time-travel. The rift continued to grow in size until it threatened both Earth and Cybertron at the beginning of both 2008 and 1989. To put an end to the threat, Rodimus and a squad of Autobots traveled back to 1989, only to wind up mass-displacing Optimus Prime (since the Matrix could not exist in two time periods at once) and a group of other Autobots to limbo, leading to a brief but violent misunderstanding with the present-day Autobots. Optimus Prime was able to stabilize the situation by communicating with all involved through the power of the Matrix. Subsequently, Autobots and Decepticons from both the present and future teamed up to battle Galvatron and Megatron, but one by one they fell, until Optimus Prime used the Matrix to return himself to reality for a final showdown. After absorbing Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge, however, the rift was sealed by Shockwave, and Rodimus and the other future Autobots returned to 2008, vowing to destroy their time machines to prevent this from ever happening again. |Time Wars|
And now, here is a story told by Wreck-Gar in The Big Broadcast of 2006: A Rerun.
In 2006 (of course), Rodimus Prime's Autobots had taken control of Cybertron. Sky Lynx reported suspicious activity on Junkion, so Rodimus sent the Aerialbots to investigate. Superion was defeated in battle but was able to send back an SOS before going offline. Sky Lynx was dispatched to retrieve him, and Rodimus decided to investigate himself. He took Ultra Magnus and Blaster in Omega Supreme.
Once there, the Autobots discovered a chaotic scene where aliens from many worlds, including the Decepticons, had arrived and were all engaged in a deadly battle with one another. Rodimus was immediately attacked by a hypnotized Galvatron, and the two battled to a standstill. The other Autobots were able to disrupt a hypnotic signal that was causing everyone to fight one another. The Junkions then added their strength against the Decepticons, causing the latter to retreat. Rodimus didn't care where the hypnosis signal had been coming from, as long as it was off for good. He never discovered that it was the work of the Quintessons. |The Big Broadcast of 2006: A Rerun|
- Judd Nelson reprised his role as Hot Rod.
- The episode form of Target: 2006 was renamed Target: 2005, and all references to 2006 were also changed to accomodate.
- Hot Rod & Firebolt didn't appear in Trial by Fire!