Michael Bay’s Transformers films have been criticized for featuring storylines that are overly convoluted or confusing – especially for a franchise based on cartoons about good and evil teams of transforming robots. But the property does have a fairly dense mythology, and fans continue to pore over trailers like the new one for Transformers: The Last Knight looking for clues as to what’s coming next. The biggest question landing this time? Why are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee fighting?
Like many teasers, the first trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight was short on plot details in favor of showing off the variety of characters, settings and types of action featured in the film without much in the way of context. We see scenes set in medieval times (believed to involve King Arthur and Excalibur), Transformers fighting in cities, a seemingly “dead” Optimus Prime and a planet-sized machine(?) many fans have immediately assumed to be classic Transformers: The Movie nemesis Unicron making his live-action debut.
But what’s left many fans with the most questions is the sequence that closes out the trailer, which appears to feature Prime attacking his onetime Autobot ally Bumblebee with intent to do serious damage. The trailer provides no context for what might be happening, but that hasn’t stopped multiple theories from cropping up online from dedicated Transformers fans. One such theory, as advanced by Cosmic Book News, posits that the key to the scene are the shots of the seemingly “dead” Prime earlier in the trailer.
In the fourth live-action Transformers film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Prime departed Earth to seek out the Transformers’ creators – but based on The Last Knight trailer, he appears to have suffered a fatal setback. It’s possible that he could have been transformed into a zombie; in fact, that same thing happened in the animated TV series after Prime’s famous death in the animated Transformers: The Movie.
It’s also possible that Prime could be operating under the influence of Unicron. A planet-sized Transformer who devours other world’s for fuel, Unicron figures prominently in several different continuities of the Transformers mythos (sometimes as the opposite number of Autobot “god” Primus) and is often depicted as rebuilding dead or injured Transformers to become his servants. That kind of behavior is also associated with The Quintessons, who in some tellings are the very “Creators” Prime had gone to investigate at the end of Age of Extinction.