COUNTDOWN: 10 questions about the Transformers One trailer

The internet has been ablaze since the new Transformers One trailer dropped yesterday!

Anticipation for the upcoming big-screen animated adventure has been high, and despite this first look inevitably prompting a range of different reactions, there’s no doubt the three-minute tease showed off plenty of what we can expect from the film itself. We saw some intriguing footage of this universe’s take on Cybertron, the primary cast of characters, and lots more!

Yet, of course, there will always be some questions following a big reveal like this. So, let’s dive in and look at the biggest queries so far!

#10: How much of Optimus Prime & Megatron will we see?

The focus of the film is the origin of the Transformers as we typically know them in their various adventures, with the Cybertron setting firmly in the distant past. That also means iconic characters such as Optimus Prime and Megatron are not yet the bots we commonly think of; here portrayed as Orion Pax (an early name for the Autobot leader fans will instantly recognise from as far back as the 1980s cartoon but also sources such as the IDW comics) and D-16 (a very clever deep-cut nod to Megatron’s classic 1985 Takara toy, numbered as the 16th toy of the line, with the ‘Destron’ faction represented by a ‘D’ in front of the number in later years). Yet there are glimpses of their more classic guises in the trailer, with the premise being that we will see them evolve into the opposing faction leaders they later become. The big question is, how much of that evolution will we actually see?

The quick shots of Optimus and Megatron may be flash-forwards, after all, with their full journey left as a tease for future films. That said, there are numerous hints we may witness more of their journey towards becoming ‘fully formed’, including snippets such as D-16 receiving his infamous fusion cannon for the first time and his eyes seemingly glowing red instead of orange. So, it is certainly possible this origin will have an unhappy end by the time the credits roll.

A Studio Series toy of Optimus Prime has also been unveiled and appears to heavily match the design briefly witnessed in the trailer (which tallies with director Josh Cooley’s comments about wanting the film’s characters to look and transform exactly like their plastic counterparts). Again, this may be based on a brief flash-forward of some kind, but there’s also every chance that Orion Pax may adopt his more well-known moniker come the final moments of this story.

#9: What about the rest of the classic cast?

Various other prominent franchise names can be seen throughout the trailer, of course! Chief amongst those teases is this blink-and-you-miss-it moment featuring the holy trinity of Decepticon lieutenants, Soundwave, Starscream and Shockwave, all looking stylised but remarkably in line with their iconic G1 counterparts. Elsewhere is a brief action scene featuring Skywarp, and there’s another moment with what appears to be a plethora of randomly coloured Seekers (including a potential Thundercracker), which feels very early-1980s cartoon in many ways. How these appearances tie into the story is anyone’s guess, though, especially as none of them appears (from what we can see!) to be sporting Decepticon sigils just yet. Will there be more classic names featured? That’s a safe bet!

#8: Who are all those background bots?

Transformers has always been famous for its sizeable cast of little-known background bots, and moving the setting of this film to their homeworld of Cybertron only allows for an unprecedented number of no-names to adorn every shot! It also significantly ups the scale of the story by filling it with a whole population of characters beyond those typically thrust into the spotlight. Naturally, speculation is already rife as fans try to identify all the many faces sighted during the trailer’s run time, even if definitive answers aren’t always forthcoming! Who is the bot above, for example? The best guesses so far are centred around Generation 2 Dreadwing or Smokescreen, but there’s a definite touch of G1 Counterpunch about him, too. Equally, he may be his own thing entirely, perhaps not even named in the scene he appears in!

Similarly, this shot contains any number of potential nods, including at least one or two classic Autobots possibly in view. That certainly looks to be Brawn doing the heavy lifting, for starters, and no doubt there’s more here besides.

#7: Is Cybertron partially organic?

Much is made of going to the surface of Cybertron in this teaser, and when we do come to glimpse the terrain of the Transformers’ homeworld, it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen of the planet in any other franchise media so far (well… almost!). Most obviously, numerous organic elements are included in various settings, particularly in the mountains home to Alpha Trion. There are also some vistas of what appear to be techno-organic landscapes and even Cybertronian wildlife and a synthwave-esque sunset to boot.

Does it mean this Cybertron began as an organic planet and became slowly technological over the centuries? That wouldn’t be the first time such a notion has been part of Transformers lore, after all. One also has to wonder if we might see it slowly change into something more recognisable throughout the course of the storyline on offer. Either way, it’s a far cry from the classic cold metal world we typically think of, and no doubt speaks directly to the wider plot at play in this film, especially when considering some of our questions yet to come!

#6: Are those Quintessons?

Yes, it seems as though classic franchise villains the Quintessons are going to feature in Transformers One, as these brief shots from the trailer will testify. True, the designs have been quite notably overhauled, but there are enough of the typical elements present in their appearance to make this one conclusive, with the tentacles being the dead giveaway if nothing else.

We can also see plenty of soldiers here who look very much in keeping with the more G1-style Quintesson troops of old. It appears these aliens have some sort of relationship to Transformers in this world, as they’re seen here interacting with Sentinel Prime – and not very pleasantly!

Could it be that they’ve enslaved the Cybertronian race (much as has been depicted in past franchise media) and banished the natives underground?

#5: What’s the deal with the T-cogs?

The idea of transformation cogs – or T-cogs as they’re commonly referred to – is nothing new. It first popped up where it all began in the classic 1980s cartoon and has been a recurring part of various bits of Transformers media since. Here, though, T-cogs, the source of a Cybertronian’s ability to transform between modes, will be front and centre as a major MacGuffin of this new film. We get a clear glimpse of Alpha Trion bestowing a set of the gizmos upon our primary protagonists, after which they immediately undergo various changes and upgrades before having to swiftly learn what their newfound abilities allow them to do! Again, the concept of Transformers needing to practice the art of transforming has been done before, and the design of the cogs even looks very similar to how they were originally portrayed in animation.

But how will T-cogs play into the wider story of Transformers One? Well, it seems the natives of Cybertron have lost the ability to transform for some time, even though their bodies naturally allow for it. This is represented by the rather obvious gaping holes in their chest during some of the early footage, leading us to speculate that perhaps it was the Quintessons who began removing them as a means of enslaving the Transformers race.

#4: How will The Thirteen factor in?

OK, here’s where we really step off the deep end and get into some surprisingly layered nods to franchise history. Yes, in the cave where our heroes meet Alpha Trion, it appears they also discover the remains of some fallen Cybertronians, and specifically several members of The Thirteen, of which Alpha Trion himself is also typically a member. These were the first Transformers ever created by Primus (assuming the deity exists in this continuity), and became both the progenitors of the Cybertronian race and were where the title of “Prime” first began. They’ve since been established as a staple of the series’ go-to origins, so it’s little surprise to see them worked in here, but quite how they play into the proceedings is something we can only speculate on for now.

The first image above has caused more than a few online to suggest it might be Deathsaurus, but that’s almost certainly intended to be Onyx Prime, who was the first beast-former and is commonly portrayed as having very spiky layered wings not too dissimilar from what we see here. Equally, when D-16 is shown curiously examining a Decepticon symbol of some kind, this is very likely Megatronus, who many fans will better know as “The Fallen” (though he commonly appears as very different to his live-action debut!). Could this be how the future Megatron begins down his dark path as he uncovers more about his heritage?

#3: What’s the significance of the Decepticon symbol?

Eagle-eyed viewers have noted that D-16 spends the entirety of the trailer sporting a Decepticon insignia (or an approximation of one) on his left shoulder, which seems strange considering that he’s not yet evolved into Megatron and led the rise of the conquering faction. However, given his apparent discovery of Megatronus and the vague recognition this seems to spark in him, it’s even possible the Decepticons are a group which has existed in some form before in this continuity and that D-16 is just now discovering a birthright which he previously knew nothing about (or was forced to forget, perhaps). Either that or the symbol has some equivalent meaning beyond just being used to represent the faction itself, and D-16 claims it as the Decepticons become more established in name as the uprising begins. Time will tell!

#2: Are those Transformers Prime references?!

Of all the many unexpected homages to find their way into Transformers One, I don’t think anyone expected not one but TWO fairly overt nods to 2010’s Prime! Yet it cannot surely be denied given how close to the original designs they appear. Firstly, we have what seems to be a league of Vehicon soldiers of various types and designs, including some which appear almost identical to their original iterations. It’s not hard to imagine they’ll be used as little more than disposable cannon fodder for our heroes to smash through in this new tale (and probably won’t even go by their original faction title), but for TFP fans, it’s sure to be a fun sight, nonetheless!

Secondly, and even more surprisingly, that is pretty positively Airachnid flying through the air as a big explosion happens behind her. Again, she looks amazingly close to how she first appeared in the fan-favourite show! Who had this on their bingo card, eh? We will have to see how she factors in (if at all, really) and what other niche nods may lie in wait elsewhere in the film.

#1: Is it in continuity with other Transformers media?

And finally, another big question evidently gnawing at some fans online is just how – and if – this new big-screen effort ties into the live-action films, or indeed any previous iteration of Transformers media. Can it be considered a prequel to the 2007 movie, or indeed Bumblebee and Rise of the Beasts in any way?

Well, the truth is… it’s honestly not worth worrying about. Like, at all.

The reality is that this story probably won’t have any direct ties to either the previous film series or anything else, especially as director Josh Cooley has even confirmed he views it as its own universe, free from any previous links. That said, one imagines Paramount will be keen to market it as openly ended as possible, allowing fans to at least consider it part of whatever loosely-tied saga they wish. Oh, and don’t be surprised if producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura does his best to puff it up as all being interconnected in the process!

The point is that it really doesn’t matter. If you want this to be a new adventure, free from any previous baggage, go for it. Equally, if you want to do the mental gymnastics needed to somehow make this fit with other bits of established continuity, I, for one, will not stop you!

So that’s our list! Are you excited for Transformers One?

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

WHAT HAVE TRANSFORMERS DONE FOR ME?


Don't miss out on the latest