After a three year hiatus from directing robots in disguise, Michael Bay is back with Transformers: Age of Extinction - and, this time, "The Rules Have Changed." Dubbed a "soft reboot" of the series, the fourth Transformers film will continue the larger robot storyline from the first three installments - while making minor changes to robot designs and swaps out series protagonist Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) for a new cast of human characters.
Despite a lengthy film shoot, and only four short months to go before its June 27th release, Paramount Pictures had yet to show any footage from the film - until they unveiled a 30 second teaser during the 2014 Super Bowl. The teaser, paired with sneak peek reveals at Toy Fair 2014, allowed us to identify a number of new characters and story details while awaiting the first full length trailer for the next Transformers adventure. Now, following a brief tease from Entertainment Tonight, the studio has finally launched a full length Transformers: Age of Extinction trailer (check it out above).
For weeks, fans pored over high definition screen grabs from the Super Bowl trailer in order to get an idea of where the story of Optimus Prime and the Autobots would be going from here. Bay has repeatedly claimed that the film is his final entry in the franchise and will lay out a fresh course for the series - with the intention of letting it continue in the hands of new directors. Sly detective work revealed that Galvatron and Lockdown would be the main baddies this round - with Dinobots (and other non-humanoid Cybertronians) potentially fighting on both sides.
The new trailer doesn't exactly spell-out all of the twists and turns (not to mention allegiances) in the upcoming blockbuster - once again raising more questions than it actually answers. Nevertheless, the footage does what any good trailer should - get fans excited and tease the core storyline (while also adding a bit more context to all of the set photos, toys, and other marketing materials that have previously been revealed). In addition to a number of slick CGI action shots showing off fan-favorite Bumblebee and his new Eastern-inspired design, the full length trailer introduces potential viewers to the main human players - who, up to this point, had only been described through their relationships (father, daughter, and boyfriend).
Instead, the new footage gives a clearer picture of how their respective performers, Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, and Jack Reynor, could work on screen together.
Check out new character posters for Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), Tessa Cade (Nicola Peltz) and Shane (Jack Reynor) below (click for full versions):
While the interpersonal dynamic isn't likely to be a major improvement over previous human storylines, it might offer (at the very least) a welcome change of pace - especially after Witwiky's arc had been stretched way too far in Dark of the Moon. After all, action movie fans love on-the-nose job hunting montages, right? Hopefully, Age of Extinction can incorporate its new leads without resorting to the same kind of heavy-handed (and eye-rolling) moments that attempted to make Witwicky continuously relevant in an ever-expanding robot vs. robot war.
The notion that Yeagar discovers an injured Optimus Prime trapped (or hiding) as a broken down Freightliner Cab-over-engine Class 8 truck (still with flames) is an interesting set-up - as is the reveal that humans (including Titus Welliver's Savoy) are actively hunting down remaining Cybertronian Transformers after building terrestrial variations.
Of course, few viewers show up to a Transformers movie for the human characters - and the trailer provides a number of exciting looks at the new (and returning) cast of Cybertronian characters. After the Super Bowl teaser treated fans to the curious image of Optimus riding Grimlock, viewers will surely be glad for additional glimpses of the Dinobot leader brawling with Optimus Prime. Dinobot vs. Autobot fighting should be familiar to anyone that's followed the Transformers franchise for years - and it's safe to assume that the two heroes will eventually see robot eye to eye.
Check out our full breakdown of the new trailer (and all of its surprises) along with our analysis of the Super Bowl trailer - and be sure to call the number (855) 363-8392 (featured in the new trailer) for a fun easter egg.
Transformers: Age of Extinction will be in theaters on June 27, 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on the Transformers series, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.