The fourth Transformers film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, will be a "soft reboot" for the film series. The requisite humans have been cast, the robots redesigned, and Transformers that fans have longed to see added to the roster are along for the ride; all in an effort to win back those who may have written off the franchise.
Changing up some of those key elements could very well prove crucial to keeping the Transformers franchise from getting stale. Two new Transformers to the film franchise who benefited greatly from the film's simpler and slightly more nostalgic designs are Hound and Drift. Both characters have been designed with lots of little details and personality, and that's something fans will surely appreciate. And while we got our first good look at these new autobots weeks ago, there hasn't been any word on who's providing their voices - until now.
In a press release on director Michael Bay's website it was announced that John Goodman and Ken Watanabe have joined Age of Extinction as the voices of Hound and Drift, respectively.
Both actors are immediately recognizable not only for their distinct voices, but their wide range of past roles. Goodman is the only one of the two with any voice acting credits, most notably Sully in both Monsters Inc. and Monsters University.
As for the role of Hound, the Autobot has always been an army vehicle - Jeep or otherwise - so Goodman will very likely be playing him as a gruff Army general type. But Hound has always been very charmed by humans, so also expect Goodman's Hound to be a real softie at heart.
Even without any voice acting experience, Watanabe shouldn't feel too out of place lending his voice to the Autobot Drift. It's evident from the character design that he's been strongly influenced by the samurai, and Watanabe has portrayed a samurai more than a few times - most notably (to American audiences) in The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise.
Since then, Watanabe has been getting larger and larger American film roles: Batman Begins, Letters from Iwo Jima, Inception, and this month's Godzilla. With an exceptional actor like Watanabe in the part, Drift - rumored to be a disgraced Decepticon coming to the Autobots for a second chance - looks to be a great addition to the robot cast.
On the casting, Bay had these comments:
I am pleased to welcome two gifted and versatile actors, John Goodman and Ken Watanabe, to the world of 'Transformers' and to reteam with Peter and Frank, who have brought 'Transformers' characters alive from the beginning. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best voice talent in the business, and together we will introduce several exciting new robots to fans of the franchise around the world.
With less than two months until Transformers 4 is expected in theaters, this casting does come off as almost last minute. But then again, there's every reason to believe Goodman and Watanabe have already recorded their parts.
Are you excited to hear that John Goodman and Ken Watanabe have joined the cast of Transformers: Age of Extinction? Has this changed your outlook for the film? Let us know what you're thinking in the comments below!
Transformers: Age of Extinction will release in U.S. theaters on June 27th, 2014.