If there’s one scene that embodies the over-the-top action of Transformers: Age of Extinction, it’s the image of Optimus Prime riding dinobot Grimlock into battle. Featured in the first trailer, the scene became a point of excitement (and some hesitation) among fans of the films and source material. Grimlock has long been a fan-favorite character, thanks to a goofy but lovable portrayal of the dinobot in the original animated series, as well as a steady stream of reimaginings that turned Grimlock into one of Cybertron’s most fearsome (and primal) warriors.
Even though some versions of the hero sparred with Optimus Prime and other Autobot leaders, Grimlock has remained a key player in the fight against Megatron and the Decepticons. As a result, expectations were especially high when the Grimlock was included in Transformers: Age of Extinction – with many fans hoping that the film’s title hinted at a deep character arc for the dinobots. Unfortunately, while Grimlock and his team provided viewers with some great action beats in Transformers 4, there was very little in the way of development for his character.
Fortunately, it sounds as though that may not be the case for Transformers: The Last Knight – which, according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, won’t just see the return of Grimlock, the film will also provide the dinobot with more personality this round:
“You’re going to see Grimlock again. So that, to me, is one of the characters in the last movie that didn’t get enough screen time. He has a personality this time, for sure. A little more personality. Everybody wanted to see more Dinobots, including ourselves. We all wished we could have found a way in Age of Extinction‘s story to include them more. So that was one of the hopes/priorities going into this, was to try to find a way to bring them back into the stories. There are a few others, but I like Grimlock the most. He’s funny. He’s like a naughty dog in this movie. He’s really sheepish when he does something wrong. He’s a great character. We’re bringing out a side of him that you’re going to like – you’re going to relate to.”
Longtime Transformers fans may still be skeptical of Grimlock’s “naughty dog” depiction in The Last Knight – since a dog-like wrecking ball isn’t likely to strike a balance with inspired iterations of the character from Transformers lore. Instead, like many of the Transformers movie heroes, Grimlock could be utilized most by what he can bring to an action (or comedic) beat – rather than what his character might be able to contribute to the actual story.
Ultimately, a “naughty” Grimlock isn’t a stretch for the character either – given that many, not to mention the most beloved, depictions of the dinobot portray him as a reckless and overeager force of nature. Grimlock has, throughout Transformers mythology, suggested he is smarter than he might seem but there’s no doubt that many versions of Grimlock still toyed with the notion that he could be a liability to the Autobots – thanks to his impulsive personality and clumsy dinobot form. In a room full of robot scientists, war heroes, and tacticians, Grimlock should be a blunt instrument.
While some fans might be discouraged to hear that the powerful Grimlock has been relegated to a supporting position, and won’t be central to The Last Knight story, he might be where he is best served: a key player in Autobot action set-pieces. Of course, that’s all before taking into consideration that Bonaventura promises the film will feature “a side of him that you’re going to like – you’re going to relate to.” How moviegoers will relate to an ancient robot warrior (“disguised” as a dinosaur) isn’t clear at this point – but the producer obviously has very specific moments in mind.
That said, it’s reassuring to hear the filmmakers intend to include more of the dinobots – since other key characters (like Jazz and Arcee, for example) were killed-off or abandoned after a single film. Certain characters in the Transformers live-action series have fallen short of fan expectations but, at the same time, the films continue to deliver unparalleled action spectacle – via some genuinely cool set-pieces moments from fan-favorite Transformers characters (Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwave, among others). No doubt, a Decepticon slaying dinobot like Grimlock is a smart character to keep around – and if he gets a bit more development this round, that’s even better.
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.
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