Seemingly out of nowhere (or maybe we forgot that it was happening) Transformers just released a trailer for the upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight (Transformers 5 if you lost count). Transformers: Age of Extinction (4) back in 2014 acted as a sort of revamp of the series and The Last Knight seems to be continuing that story as familiar faces and past missions return. The trailer gives us a fair mix of interesting twist, but it sadly seems to be floating in a sea of ‘here we go again’.
The jarring “vroom” and siren sounds are standard issue in Michael Bay films by now and I’m personally starting to get tired of them. During Age Of Extinction I could look past them, but I’m starting to wonder if 5 is my limit. At one time they were novelty, but using them too much – paired with all the bright lights and flashes – makes for an unpleasant viewer experience. This was especially true of Age Of Extinction, which despite having some really great story lines and visual, had moments that could visually and audibly hurt you.
This trailer already showcases a wide range of discordant sounds so I’m already on high alert for the full film. But beyond all these potential warnings of “Bay-Induced Headaches”, some of the storylines do actually seem interesting – as well as others being repetitive. So let’s break down this first trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight.
Here We Go Again… Again(x4) – Earth = Everything & Pitiful Megatron:
Yes, most Transformers series start on Earth but 1) they eventually explore the universe 2) they end and then a new series comes along. The problem with a sustained Transformers Universe of this scale is that when every problem keeps coming back to Earth as motivation, it makes it seem as though the writers never heard of Galileo and learned that the Earth ISN’T the center of the universe.
On one hand, the trailer displays that this film will (or hope to) explain WHY this is, but unless that is some huge and shocking reveal like what Transformer Prime did with Unicron being at the Earth’s Core… it’s most likely going to seem lazy. I want to be wrong on this and I’m begging the writers to knock me down with an amazing tale. And to be fair, maybe most of this film will be set in space/ somewhere else – or at least set up a Transformers 6 that will be. Sure you can say it’s always set on Earth because that’ll draw film goers, but that’s not the case considering this the 5th installment and considering how poplar space films are – Star Wars, Star Trek, Avatar, need I go on? Though even if the story sets up perfectly why Earth must continue being the center of everything for this films, there is still one that recurring theme that has no explanation – pitiful Megatron.
Megatron is the most iconic Decepticon in history and has been reborn in numerous ways in each story. Again, the problem is that these rebirths were all in different stories. As far as the Transformers franchise is concerned, Megatron has just become an annoyance who many times isn’t the main villain but just a distraction. We haven’t seen a fully armed and threatening Megatron since the original film. Since then he’s been reborn as a quicker and quicker distraction on the way to fight The Fallen, Sentinel Prime and Lockdown. Even being reborn as Galvatron last time just ended up as more of the same.
This time around we see Megatron brandishing a sword and a surprisingly Knight-like armor. Why the design changes? Will we get story explanation for all of this? Is there some larger importance to him? Every film since the original has shown Megatron as some sort of variation of a white tank (besides Galvatron who didn’t retain any of his vehicle mode to begin with) and yet still different. Does Megatron’s different look here mean he’s going to actually end up being ‘The Last Knight’ or is this knightly design purely because Bay said “we need you and Optimus to fight like old Knights”? The burden of proof for this film weighs entirely on how they can solve these two problems. Who knows! Maybe evil Optimus (which I’ll get to) will act as a force of pure chaos and destruction, which opposes Megatron’s views on ‘peace through oppression’. Perhaps Megatron and the remaining Autobots will have to unite against this empowered Optimus is a strange twist are larger than life enemies start to arise. It’s happened in the series before and could be a wonderful way to breath new life into this recurring formula.
The Last Knight – Flashbacks & Dragons:
The main lure of this film – as you probably learned from the title – is Knights. Originally we thought this would refer to the Knights Of Cybertron, something Optimus discovered in the last film. Though here it seems to take quite an …. expected turn as we are given various flashbacks of sorts to olden times. Now some of these scenes are to demonstrate the ‘history of war’, but there are other moments that seem to be happening in real time rather than as part of a montage. For starters, we have that stunning three headed dragon transformer visual. The rendering of this scene as well as the attention paid to shadow and even making its wings drag the water is nothing short of aw-inspiring. I would see this film to see that thing in action alone – which isn’t necessarily a good thing considering that’s why many of us saw Age of Extinction and then the Dinobots only appeared for the final 10 minutes. Regardless, as we look closer to this scene we see someone standing on the cliff. Upon closer inspection it looks like this man is …. Wait…. A KNIGHT?!?!
Knowing how the Transformers films usually play out, let’s assume that there ends up being some ancient relic on Earth tied to Transformers history – because 4th time’s the charm right? If we see a Dragon and an honest to God knight in a scene of this trailer, than it’s safe to assume there’s going to be extensive flashbacks to this relic and perhaps even to that knight since this scene clearly invokes the mentality of simpler times. Could this relic be Excalibur – since a sword is shown in the title card for the film? Considering Optimus just got a fancy sword in the last film, that’d be a little redundant – but again, wouldn’t be the first time that happened in this franchise. For all we know, the narrator (Sir Anthony Hopkins btw) could be that Knight or some other ageless character who recounts the tale for us.
Given the lack of hostility between this Knight and the Three Headed dragon, could it be a guardian of sorts? So in the promotional image where we see Optimus fighting it, is Optimus the bad guy? Or does that happen later? I’ll explore that more in the next section. Back on the topic of dragons, there’s been 3 in Transformers. Megatron/ Galvatron has taken this form twice (once with one head and another with two) and in another series, there was a three headed dragon named Scourge who started as an enemy but then became an ally. As much as I originally hoped this dragon would foreshadow a Beast Wars/ Beast Planet Spinoff with Scourge, I now doubt it. After all, how many times have we seen an animal transformer and though “they’re finally going to do it” only to realize they’re not. Maybe this dragon will indeed be named Scourge, but his role is much more likely to be as guardian of something – but then how/why do he and Optimus clash?
Optimus Prime’ Mission – Continuity, Evil Optimus & Dark Energon:
So when we last left Optimus, he was off to find his creators and learn about his origins. Considering how long it’s been teased, it’s safe to assume this will primarily lead him back to Cybertron. Since we see NONE of Cybertron in this trailer though, it might be safe to assume he doesn’t find much. What we do find is him floating motionless in the sub zero temperatures of space. Whether he’s rescued or reactivated on his own remains to be seen, but judging by his look he certainly needs some assistance. Where the story goes from here can take two paths based on this trailer.
- Option 1: Optimus Is Revived Evil & Is Later Snapped Out Of It:
In Optimus’s travels, he could be found by the Quintessons, his creators and the ones who wanted him back in the first place. The purple glow in his eyes are telling on Dark Energon, a power source that overwhelms and replaces regular energon making the host stronger but also either malevolent or mindless (and controllable by others). At one point in the trailer, we also see Optimus on Earth with his regular blue eyes, which means he is eventually snapped out of it. But before this happens, he clearly is sent to Earth and – as the poster shows – will battle that dragon. But what if we have it reversed.
- Option 2: Optimus Is Tricked & The Dragon Guards The Dark Energon:
The other alternative is that whether by rescue or his own methods, Optimus returns to Earth to find something. Maybe he learns of a clue or something to restore his home world (a usual Transformer Story). Back on Earth, Optimus searches for this clue and finds the dragon guarding this ancient artifact. After the battle, Optimus takes the miraculous artifact only to discover it’s Dark Energon and is immediately corrupted. Whether he snaps out of it afterwards is entirely dependent on how they want to play this, but ending with an evil Optimus could be a huge cliff hanger to set up Transformers 6.
Both theories have merit and can explain Optimus apologizing, but it’s important to note that the line doesn’t have to be delivered WHILE he’s corrupted. It could happen after he snaps out of it or as he feels himself loosing control.
Moon/Planet-Killer – Unicron?
Unicron is of course the planet sized/ planet-killer Transformer, and judging by this trailer it is getting dangerously close to Earth. Though considering this isn’t 6 yet, perhaps it’s just a mini-unicron or something to foreshadow its arrival. Then again, judging by how the moon is present in other scenes and appears to engulf Earth at one point, perhaps this film will provide ample suspense in building this harbinger of doom. All we know for sure is that it is somehow connected to Unicron. There’s much more we have to see of this film before we know if it does indeed continue to powerful storylines of Age Of Extinction or (like Revenge Of The Fallen) undoes all the previous excitement and just hits us with more quantity of things happening and no quality.