The Quintessons come in many shapes:
- Judges are the most common, creatures with egg-shaped bodies suspended on a beam of light, with thin tentacles trailing down. The Judges have five faces that switch depending on the Quintesson's mood and intent. These are the face of Death, used when a Judge gives its verdict (always "innocent", and always resulting in an execution); a red, demonic face that rotates into place when the Quintesson is angry; a grimacing green face that seems to be wearing a turban; a smiling orange face that seems to be bearded; and another, suspicious green face that has spikes atop its head. These Judges seem to rule the species, but there are many other variants.
- Guards are heavily armored humanoids with vaguely squid-like faces.
- Gatekeepers are spindly creatures whose feet and hands can emit electrical current, and seem to perform various menial duties of a status between the Guards and Judges.
- Inquisitors resemble mechanical crosses between squids and humans, and carry out the duties necessary to run the "court."
U.S. Animated, Japan
The Quintessons were the creators of Cybertron (Seibertron), which was originally built as a factory. They first attempted to create cybernetic servants from fusions of beasts and machines, called the Trans-Organics, but these proved dangerously unstable and were destroyed or imprisoned. After this, they created the Transformers, originally intended as robotic slaves and warriors.
Unfortunately for them, the Transformers eventually developed their own independent minds, and rebelled. The Quintessons were able to keep their disobedient creations in line a bit longer with their Dark Guardian robots, but once the Guardians were defeated, the Quintessons were forced to flee. They retreated to another planet which they dubbed Quintessa, where they lived a "stark and barren" existence, sentencing helpless passers-by to death in a mockery of a courtroom setting. They also sold goods and weapons (using heinous business practices in the process) to numerous races across the galaxy- they recorded these transactions in a series of journals. Circa 3000 BC, the Quintessons also sealed the planet Samojin in a quadrant lock to prevent its natives from advancing to the point of being a threat. Things went on in such fashion for 10 million years.
However, in 2005, however, their lives changed. A group of Transformers crash-landed on Quintessa, and managed to escape judgement by inciting the Sharkticons, their executioners, to revolt. Learning that their creations were still extant, the Quintessons made plans to reconquer their world, often using the Decepticons (Destrons) and their easily-duped leader Galvatron to further their schemes.
Eventually, however, they gave up, and retreated to the edge of the known universe. It is there they have remained.
Besides the standard variations, there are others known:
- Scientists are just what their name says, and have appeared in two varieties- most appear in a squat form similar to the Judges in general shape, but with a single face, while one unique individual had a taller form more like the Inquisitor, but with three identical humanoid faces.
- A banished Quintesson wizard had a form like a cross between the Inquisitor and the Scientist.
As a result of Galvatron's time travel, the Quintesson homeworld was threatened by a rift in time, leading a force of Quintessons to attack Autobot City in the hopes of colonizing Earth. They were repulsed, and the remainder were forced to spread across the galaxy as their planet was finally destroyed.
The latter two examples of unique individuals in the animated canon seem to indicate that the Quintessons might have had more variety in form when they built Cybertron, and have since "standardized" the race's designs.
In the Japanese continuity, the commander of the Destrons in the Transformers: Zone OVA, Violenjiger, had three faces and seemed very Quintesson-esque. It has been speculated that he is a Quintesson, or is related to them. If so, it would seem that, in that continuity, the Quintessons leave their life of isolation once more.