Now that shooting on Transformers 4 is underway, Michael Bay has attempted to curb the set photo reveals that plagued his Transformers 3 shoot by sporadically releasing official images of each vehicle that will be featured in the new film. We've already seen a redesigned Optimus Prime (with a Western Star truck replacing his Peterbilt 379 alternate mode from the first three films) and Bumblebee (now a modified vintage 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS) - along with a host of entirely new vehicles. Most newcomer cars have not been been publicly connected to their respective robot warrior (yet), meaning that we've been doing a lot of digging through the expansive franchise canon to get an idea of which cybertronians might be included this round - as well as what direction Bay intends to take the story (especially since Transformers 4 is supposed to set-up a new trilogy saga).
Today the speculation game continues, as Bay has unveiled a new image revealing that a 2014 Argosy cab-over truck by Freightliner will join the franchise - subsequently delivering some very interesting story and character possibilities.
The Argosy image first appeared on MichaelBay.com (click to enlarge) - accompanied by the following caption:
The adventure continues to transform with a very different offering from Daimler Trucks North America . . . the imposing 2014 Argosy cab-over truck by Freightliner.
For longtime Transformers enthusiasts that have read the comics and watched the various TV series, several fan-favorite character possibilities will come to mind. While other bots are possible (more on that further down), we're going to start with the two most straightforward entries - most notably Ultra Magnus and Motormaster. Both characters are "leader" characters that played pivotal roles in numerous Transformers storylines - and they're both traditionally depicted with a comparable freighter truck-like alternate mode.
Ultra Magnus has previously (on more than one occasion) been depicted as a Freightliner car carrier - the same brand as the new truck in the film. Bay has been known to switch-up alternate modes in past movies - so while Ultra Magnus is an obvious choice, that doesn't mean he's a lock for the movie (especially given the ominous coloring of Bay's Freightliner). In terms of character, several versions of Ultra Magnus exist throughout the Transformers canon: ranging from the brother of Optimus Prime, to a obedient follower in the Autobot army, or even a cocky and reckless leader himself. However, after the close personal relationship between Optimus and Sentinal that was explored in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, it's hard to imagine the filmmakers will retread similar ground by utilizing the brother iteration of Magnus. So, if he is in the film, it's more likely he'll be a new second-in-command type (similar to the role Ironhide played) - a soldier that helps Optimus reunite with his new cast of Autobots.
Motormaster on the other hand, is a Decepticon leader - and head of the Stunticon sub-team (which also includes Breakdown, Drag Strip, Dead End, and Wildrider). Motormaster has never been a Freightliner brand truck specifically but regularly appears as a tractor-trailer-type truck - most notably the Kenworth K100 Aerodyne. Plenty of Transformers fans would likely be excited to see the Stunticons in the new film but, unfortunately, after The Dreads (Crankcase, Crowbar, and Hatchet) chase in Dark of the Moon, the crazy personalities and acrobatic driving/transforming of the Stunticons might not seem quite as fresh to casual audiences who aren't savvy about specific characters in the franchise.
Similarly, the group's combiner capability (joining to become Menasor) has already been tackled onscreen by the Constucticons - when they formed Devastator in Revenge of the Fallen. Plus, given that the new film is supposed to take the franchise in a difference direction (possibly off-planet), it's hard to imagine where the Stunticons would fit into a story that could feature some of the series' more over-the-top ideas like Dinobots and Unicron. As a result, a character like Motormaster seems less likely (albeit still entirely possible) at this point.
Assuming that Transformers 4 really is going to dramatically shift the trajectory of the story, the Freightliner could actually be something very unexpected - such as Nemesis Prime. While certain versions of Nemesis Prime were tied to a long-running Unicron storyline (that also included alternate dimensions), one interpretation presented the character as a twisted clone of Optimus Prime - created by human engineers using spare parts from the Autobot leader.
Check out the Nemesis Prime toy (which debuted as a Comic-Con 2008 exclusive). The figure was a reskin of the "Classics" Optimus Prime but bears a strong resemblance to the color scheme and design seen in Bay's Freightliner image:
If that idea sounds familiar, it should - since an unofficial synopsis for the film indicated that the plot would center around a group of businessmen and scientists that naively attempt to study and use Transformer tech to build new weapons - with dire consequences (while a larger threat from outer space approaches). Studio sources maintain the plot synopsis was fake - but it would not be the first time that official reports outright lied to hide the twists and turns in an upcoming film.
Between the possible plot synopsis, along with the casting of Kelsey Grammer as a human (likely businessman) villain, a Nemesis Prime plot line isn't too far-fetched and could provide some interesting onscreen robot drama. Evil twin stories can be a total misfire but, when done properly, they are a cool opportunity to explore different sides of a fan-favorite character (like Optimus Prime) - by showcasing a version with the same skill set but entirely different sense of morality.
Transformers 4 hits theaters on June 27, 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on Transformers 4 as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.
Source: Michael Bay
Nightwatch Optimus Prime Art: Art-Master-1983