Transformers: The Last Knight adds divisive Transformers character Hot Rod to its lineup, and now his role in the new movie is revealed. The Transformers series has been under the control of Michael Bay ever since the first live action film premiered 10 years ago. In the past decade, the franchise has pulled in close to $3.8 billion over the course of four movies, so it came as no surprise that Paramount would want to make more of them and are planning to kick off their Transformers Cinematic Universe with the fifth outing, Transformers: The Last Knight.
But this wasn’t the first time Transformers hit the big screen. Back in 1986, an animated film starring Leonard Nimoy and Orson Welles premiered and proceeded to practically kill off the entire original cast of robots in disguise from the television series. Even iconic leader Optimus Prime didn’t make it out alive. In Prime’s place, a new Transformer called Hot Rod took the Matrix of Leadership and became the new leader Rodimus Prime. This proved to be an unpopular move and Optimus was soon brought back to life in the Generation Two series. Hot Rod, however, hasn’t been forgotten and will finally get his live-action appearance in The Last Knight.
Thanks to EW, we now know what part he will play in the film. According to the outlet, Sir Anthony Hopkins’ character Sir Edmund Burton works with Hot Rod to track down what connections the Transformers have to Earth and that brings them all the way back in time to Arthurian legend as revealed in the trailer. EW also debuted a new image from the film featuring Hot Rod:
Transformers: The Last Knight also features Oxford professor of English literature Viviane Wembley, played by Laura Haddock, who harbors a genetic secret which could lead to the salvation of or the end of the world. As a 1963 Citroën DS, Hot Rod belonged to Wembley’s father and has acted as an undercover Autobot agent covertly looking out for Viviane who inherits the car. Haddock described her relationship with the car:
It’s a rickety old thing, but she can’t part with it because she adores it. This car has actually been put there to watch her and feedback information to Anthony Hopkins’s character about what she’s up to and her life. So yeah, she gets kind of taken [by surprise] in a really funny, dramatic way by this Hot Rod.
She’s not had a very good relationship with her father, but this is one thing that her father has done that makes her realize that maybe he cared than she thought.
Hot Rod is a pretty divisive character in Transformers lore since he’ll always be tied to Optimus Prime’s death in Transformers: The Movie. His inclusion here may make die-hard fans a bit nervous because it could mean that Optimus won’t make it out of this film in one piece.
Having said that, it was considered a mistake the first time they killed the character off so it’s hard to believe that Paramount would make the same mistake twice in Transformers: The Last Knight. There’s also the fact that the live-action version of the Transformers franchise plays fast and loose with the lore having already changed the Matrix of Leadership to a device that activates a weapon that destroys the sun in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. To this day, many Transformers fans are still confused why something that sets off a sun-destroying weapon would be called a “Matrix of Leadership.”