Transformers: The Last Knight represents, it seems, the pinnacle of audience fatigue, a product of all of Hollywood’s worst impulses in an era when studios are struggling to find new paths to profit. The last Transformers film, Age of Extinction, was a relative disappointment domestically, making $245 million (which may sound like a colossal sum, but it cost far more to make and market). Aside from Hopkins’s booming voice and a brief glimpse of Mark Wahlberg, the trailer barely features any flesh-and-blood humans, as if the studio believes audience attachment to day-glo mega-bots like Bumblebee will be enough to sell tickets. Forget about reaching “peak sequel”; Hollywood may be going post-human.
Transformers: The Last Knight tell the story of Earth being under threat from a gigantic robo-planet? That’s about all I could successfully glean from the two-and-a-half-minute trailer, which also features a slowed-down version of The Flaming Lips song “Do You Realize??” and some muddy footage of medieval knights. Further investigation reveals that the film plans to delve into the mythology behind the creation of this race of robots that can turn into trucks and various military vehicles—and that will somehow involve the legend of King Arthur.
Hopkins will no doubt play a professor or mad scientist of some sort, included both to legitimize the film with some Oscar-winning gravitas and provide necessary dumps of exposition. Hopkins is a master at both; when discussing Hopkins’s appearance as Odin in Marvel’s first Thor film in 2011, his co-star Chris Hemsworth remembered their first day on set together in costume. Optimus Prime frozen in space and maybe sort of dead. We don’t know for sure. In the original animated series, he was brought back to life a couple of different times.
Transformers: The Last Knight is scheduled to be released on June 23, 2017.
A Bumblebee spin-off and a sequel, Transformers 6, are set to be released on June 8, 2018, and June 28, 2019, respectively.