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Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight assembled its (human) team on Tuesday.
“This is not a number five. This feels like a brand new, fresh look into the Transformers,” said director Michael Bay.
In 2015, the studio appointed Akiva Goldsman to create a “Transformers Cinematic Universe,” with him assembling writers to conceive of spinoffs and prequels to expand the franchise. The Last Knight is the first film released since then.
Bay screened footage that started in Medieval England, where knights are using trebuchets and flaming arrows. But one knight drinks an entire bottle of alcohol … and soon a robotic dragon is flying along a cliffside near him (we’re guessing it’s not a drunken illusion).
Later, the footage cut to kids checking out robot wreckage in a modern-day city. A sinister robot drone orders them to stop, but a mysterious young woman saves them. The film also introduces the adorable robot Squeeks, who is damaged so he can’t transform. Another Transformer, Canopy, is on the verge of death, but Mark Wahlberg’s character Cade distracts the drone long enough for the good guys to get away. Soon, some military types capture Cade, and ask him where he’s keeping his friends, but he refuses to sell out his Transformer buddies.
It also gave a look at Anthony Hopkins, who is hanging out in England with a British Transformer who he jokes still World War I and suffers from robot dementia. He also reveals he met the Transformer Bumblebee when he was just a boy.
During a panel discussion, Hopkins described his strategy for working successfully with Bay: “Do what he tells you. Obey orders.” He also spoke out about filming at Stonehenge, joking about when Bay ended up building a fake Stonehenge just to blow it up. The director admired the production’s version so much, he said “ours was much better than theirs.” Hopkins said “only an American” would have the gumption to say such a thing about a beloved wonder of the world.
Wahlberg praised Bay for re-creating the franchise and “making it new and exciting and different for the fans.
The Transformers franchise has at times been panned for its treatment of its female characters, but the panel emphasized that this film featured strong women.
Actress Laura Haddock called her character Vivian Wembley an “independent, strong, feisty, intelligent woman.”
Isabela Moner, who was just 14 when she was cast after sending in an audition tape, said it was quite surreal joining the production.
“Having grown up watching Michael Bay’s Transformers actually, was just something I never pictured happening before I turned 18,” said Moner.
The Last Knight is the fifth installment of the series, which continues to grow. The Bumblebee spinoff previously tapped Kubo and the Two Strings filmmaker Travis Knight as director for a June 8, 2018 release.
Transformers: The Last Knight opens June 23.
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