We need to talk Stanley Tucci’s cameo in Transformers: The Last Knight. It’s so weird some of you reading this may not have even realized he was in the film, but serves as an emblem of how utterly bonkers the film is.
Whether or not it winds up being his last, the fifth entry in the franchise very much feels like a cap on Michael Bay’s time as the franchise’s chief creative voice. Not only does it take his obsession with dominating human history with Transformers – the film reveals both that Earth’s greatest minds are part of secret cabal the order of Witwiccans and the planet itself is Transformer Unicron – but most of the key characters from across the movies (not played by actors who openly badmouthed the director) appeared in some form.
Shia LaBeouf got a crazy faced photo-spot, Nicola Peltz had a one-way conversation with Mark Wahlberg and John Turturro squeezed in one day of filming as Seymour Simmons, now hiding out in Transformer-sympathising Cuba. Tyrese Gibson was even reportedly meant to reappear before his role was cut down to a blink-and-you-definitely-missed-it cameo (he’s reportedly in one of the helicopters at the end).
By far the weirdest, though, is Stanley Tucci. You’d be totally forgiven for not even realizing that the chameleon actor was even in the film. His returning involvement was first announced all the way back in September 2016, but since then there’s been no word on where he fits and a complete absence from the marketing (although he did make a revealing appearance on the red carpet at the premiere). And, as it turns, this isn’t just a returning role, rather a bizarre new part seemingly done as random as any of Mr. Bay’s usual action.
Stanley Tucci’s Age of Extinction Role
To really hammer home just how strange Tucci’s The Last Knight part is, first we should take in where he was up to in the franchise. Fitting of how the series (or rather, the films’ immense talent budget) has attracted many big names over the years, he signed on for the fourth film in the series, Age of Extinction. There he played Joshua Joyce, a multi-billionaire industrialist who’d made his name in tech and was now working to construct his own manmade Transformers using the newly discovered element Transformium. This was successful but less profitable than expected, with his “Galvatron” serving as a reincarnation of Megatron (who previously had his spine removed by Optimus Prime at the end of Part 3). When things went to pot he turned sides, working with Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yaegar to take down Lockjaw’s attack in Hong Kong and drink some Chinese branded milk.
Obscene product placement aside, Joyce was the single acceptable thing in an otherwise disastrous movie. Whereas Mark Wahlberg and Kelsey Grammar (yes, he was in it) took everything straight faced, Tucci went in with the misplaced zaniness of his Hunger Games character Caesar Flickerman. This resulted in a completely ridiculous, self-aware comic relief character who actually successfully altered the movie’s otherwise oppressive tone.
Typical of a continuity flippant franchise, The Last Knight ditches a lot of what’s established in Age of Extinction. Wahlberg remains as Cade but his daughter is dropped and invention obsession downplayed, while pretty much every impact the film has on the world bar Optimus’ departure to space is backtracked; Autobots are once again being hunted and the most pivotal world event in terms of the aliens is Dark of the Moon‘s Chicago. This made it hard to figure out how Joyce would return. And, it turns out, he doesn’t.
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