Transformers: The Last Knight exploded onto the big screen last night and revealed plenty of surprises. 20+ minutes of footage from the film was shown to fans and journalists at a special event in London, presented by Michael Bay via a pre-recorded video.
The director, who has helmed all five films in the franchise, insisted they were “holding a lot back” but we still gleaned plenty from the “snippets of scenes” shown.
Here are 6 exciting things we learned:
1. Mark Wahlberg is a fugitive – with a higher calling
Rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg (yes, we still haven't forgotten his Funky Bunch), reprising his role from the last film as Cade Yeager, is on the run. We see him sweep in and rescue young Izabella, the girl you’ve seen in the trailers, and take her back to his junkyard hideout, where he’s keeping Autobots on the hush-hush.
We later see him chased by air-born TRF machines through a church. It’s at this point that he runs into a robot “ninja butler”, as Cade refers to him, called Cogman.
Cogman tells Cade he has been chosen, and promptly hands him a device that fixes itself to Cade’s arm. Cogman then escorts Cade to his ‘master’, Anthony Hopkins’ Sir Edmund Burton, who fills him in on the Transformers’ backstory. Cade’s destiny becomes clearer.
2. Stanley Tucci is back – as a drunk Merlin?
Unless our eyes deceived us, we spotted him in the early part of the Transformers 5 footage, which featured a medieval setting and King Arthur and the knights of the round table. Who was he playing? He seemed to be Arthur’s magician cohort, Merlin. Described as a drunk, we see him say, “God, I’m sizzled… one last nip” before the action switches to modern-day Chicago.
3. Anthony Hopkins is on scene-stealing form
We saw plenty of the venerable Welsh thespian in the footage shown. As Sir Edmund Burton, he lives in a very grand castle, with a tank Transformer companion/protector and, of course, Cogman the robot butler.
The tank bot is described by Burton as having “robot dementia” – but Hopkins delivers the line in such a way as to come off every bit as confused and doddery as his Transformer counterpart. It's funny. He's funny. He's also very serious, of course, delivering lines like "12 alien knights who saw in Camelot what the human race could be at its finest – a race of honour" with all the sincerity and gravity of someone who really believes in those words. And we buy it.
He also has a fun exchange with Hot Rod, who we hear speaking in a French accent.
4. The story seems to be about Optimus Prime’s redemption
There’s a lot to indicate that Cade Yeager is the last knight of the title, not least in the ancient bracelet he’s given by Cogman, and the fact that Cogman tells him he’s been chosen, and refers to him as important.
Trailers that we’ve already seen suggest that Optimus Prime could turn bad – he has a fight with Bumblebee which certainly gives credence to that. But, is there a chance that Optimus Prime could actually be the last knight? We didn't see a lot of Optimus Prime in the footage, which could be telling.
Also, the mythology we learned about in the footage revealed that there were 12 robot knights – the Cybertron 12 – who stood alongside the 12 knights of the round table. Could this mean that Optimus Prime will become 'the last knight', to stand alongside Cade Yeager perhaps?
Finally, in the closing scenes from the footage, we see Optimus Prime floating in space before seeing him walking into a spaceship. He seems to have been resurrected. A female voice asks him if he seeks redemption. He replies, "My maker, I do." Could this be Unicron?
The film’s tagline ‘Rethink Your Heroes’ certainly gives us food for thought, as well...
5. There’s a robot that looks like ED-209
The robot that turns on the kids we meet as the timeline transports us to modern day Chicago looks a lot like the OCP enforcement droid in Robocop. I mean, seriously. We’re going to call it an homage rather than a rip-off, though. Similarly, the TRF drones we mentioned earlier are made in the image of mini TIE fighters – another nod to a classic of cinema.
6. We’ll find out why the Transformers keep coming to Earth
With the film dipping into different eras – we’re even taken to Nazi Germany – it looks likely that we will find out a heck of a lot more about the Transformers and their reasons for coming here.
And with Burton filling in Cade – and the audience – on the medieval backstory, it seems likely we’ll hear a lot more. He also tantalises us when he says to Cade, “You want to know why they keep coming here,” which suggests he knows the answer and is intent on revealing it.
The footage overall was pretty nuts, and with Bay saying – again – that this will be his last and will see him “going out with a bang," we’re looking forward to seeing the film in full.
Transformers: The Last Knight is released in the UK and the U.S. on June 23.