Unlike Optimus Prime, Hasbro didn’t kill Megatron as part of the events of 1986’s The Transformers: The Movie. Instead, Megs was upgraded into a new, more powerful form. Galvanized by the power of the planet-destroying Unicron, the Decepticon leader took on a new identity: GALVATRON.
Instead of the actual Earth gun alternate mode of a Walther P-38 pistol that Megatron converted into, Galvatron became a giant sci-fi laser cannon. and because what he turned into wasn’t based on a real thing, he could look like whatever he wanted in any mode.
The interesting thing to me about Galvatron was that he wasn’t marketed as the new Decepticon leader. His function on his original bio is listed as “City Commander,” the same rank as fellow 1986 Transformer, Ultra Magnus. And marketing pitted these two as rivals, with no mention of Hot Rod, who would actually become the new Autobot leader by the film’s end.
My personal favorite Galvatron moment is the season 3 episode, “Webworld,” written by sci-fi author Diane Duane. In it, Galvatron’s lieutenant, Cyclonus, takes his insane leader to an entire planet based around rehabilitation. And in the end (spoiler for a 34 year old cartoon), Galvatron is so mentally deranged that he drives the planet itself insane.
Galvatron’s cool. His collar looks like a sweater and he has a goatee. And those two things are utterly ridiculous.