Longtime fan-fave Autobot Hot Rod is finally getting his live-action debut in Transformers: The Last Knight. For fans keeping track of Transformers 5 updates, once or twice a week Paramount and returning director Michael Bay are sporadically dropping photos and reveals from the film which is currently shooting in Michigan.

Earlier this summer, these teases showcased new looks for Megatron, Bumblebee, and Barricade – who are all still around since the first movie – alongside a few new characters in the Combaticons, Squeeks, Onslaught, and now Hot Rod.

As his name would indicate, Hot Rod’s a young character who’s a little too brash and overconfident, and was first introduced to America in The Transformers: The Movie (1986). His role in the film was a crucial one which, given his introduction in Michael Bay’s “last” Transformers movie before the franchise blows wide open with all sorts of spinoffs into a shared cinematic universe, could be quite telling.

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In the original animated movie, Hot Rod acquires the Matrix of Leadership (first introduced in the live-action movies with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) from Optimus Prime which transforms him into Rodimus Prime – the new leader of the Autobots. In the new movie universe, since the Matrix didn’t make an appearance in Transformers 4 it is assumed Optimus Prime still has it after using it in Transformers 3 to revive Sentinel Prime, who in turn instructed Optimus to keep it.

With that in mind, don’t be surprised to see “the last knight” (which must be Optimus given the imagery of him wielding the sword) pass the mantle to Hot Rod in a battle that may or may not involve Unicron. That’s too good of an opportunity to pass up, right? Especially if the next movie, a Bumblebee spinoff, doesn’t require franchise poster boy Optimus to be around.

And if that’s the case, Hot Rod could potentially receive a larger, different form and voice by the end of the film (those Hasbro toys, right?) if it follows the blueprint of the original film. As for his current look shared today, it’s clearly not as red and colorful as fans would expect, and instead embraces a darker grey color. Here’s artwork that depicts what the original Hot Rod looked like:

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Other confirmed returning characters include Drift (Ken Watanabe) who first appeared in Age of Extinction

Transformers: The Last Knight opens in U.S. theaters on June 23, 2017, followed by the Bumblebee spin-off on June 8, 2018, and Transformers 6 on June 28, 2019.

Source: Paramount