Is the New 'Transformers' Synopsis a Spoiler or a Plot Reveal in Disguise?

How can Optimus Prime be gone when everyone can see him?

There's a certain disconnect between the Super Bowl spot for the next Transformers movie and the newly released synopsis for the film. Is it a case of one hand not talking to the other, or a sneaky hint of things to come?

As a synopsis released via the Transformers Facebook page reveals, Transformers: The Last Knight looks like a movie that intends to overturn a lot of expectations of the franchise to date.

"The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero," the synopsis promises with reasonable understatement. "Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock)."

It continues, "There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours."

The obvious problem with that synopsis is the line, "Optimus Prime is gone." Because, as is clear from the TV spot, he's right there:

There are multiple ways to explain the seeming discrepancy. First, that the TV spot (and earlier trailer) spoils the intended-as-a-surprise return of Optimus midway through the movie, immediately getting in a fight with Transformers who have gone bad. ("Heroes will become villains," remember?) Alternatively, these scenes are flashbacks to events that led to Optimus being gone. And then there's the most unlikely, and most interesting possibility: that's not actually Optimus Prime.

I mean, sure; it looks and sounds like Optimus Prime, but what if "Heroes…become villains" is a phrase to take literally? Optimus is, after all, just a robot; what if someone simply reprogrammed the Optimus Prime body to have a new personality — or plugged in the brain of another Transformer altogether? The tagline of the Transformers franchise has always been "Robots in disguise," so perhaps The Last Knight takes that idea literally, and in doing so, removes the seemingly unstoppable hero who's dominated the movie series up to this point, replacing the real Optimus with someone else altogether…?

Merely speculation, of course; we won't know the truth until the movie is released June 23. But there's every possibility that what at first looks like a strange contradiction is, in fact, more than meets the eye.

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