With Travis Knight's Bumblebee, it certainly looks like more than the lead yellow robot will be transforming onscreen: the entire Transformers franchise, in fact, is gradually changing into something different. We got Generation 1 cameos from other characters in the recent trailer, and if this movie does well, you can expect subsequent Transformers movies to follow suit. Less over-the-top Bayhem, and more focus on individual characters.
But which ones? Well, here are some of the robots we'd like to see future adventures center around. (To keep realistically connected to the current franchise, every robot on this list has appeared at least in some form in a previous live-action installment.)
The obvious choice. Peter Cullen petitioned for it at Comic-Con, and for many of us, it was his ability to give a cartoon truck such gravitas that hooked us on Transformers in the first place. And while you can argue that Optimus is the lead robot in every Transformers movie, there hasn't been one yet about how he became the leader of the Autobots. Bumblebee may be considered the most kid-friendly Autobot, but Optimus Prime was always the classic hero. It's time to watch his journey.
While there were moments in the first two Transformers movies that alluded to the dynamic between Decepticon leader Megatron and his slimy second-in-command, Starscream was one of the most off-model movie designs, and he was ignominiously taken out in the third film when Shia LaBeouf plucked out his eye. He deserves better than that. Get back on model, and tell an origin story of how he became so devious, culminating in the tragedy that he ends up always serving power rather than obtaining it for very long.
Announced as the big new bad for Dark of the Moon (a misdirect, as it turned out, so fans wouldn't see Sentinel Prime's betrayal coming), Shockwave had no discernible personality onscreen and didn't transform into anything. It's ironic that his role was upstaged by a Leonard Nimoy character, as Shockwave is meant to be a cold practitioner of logic, often at odds with Megatron's more heated leadership ways. Put him together with Starscrem and Megatron, and you get a warped Spock/McCoy/Kirk dynamic, but evil. The problem with Shockwave as a protagonist, however, is that he has no facial features to express himself with save one eye, and fans might not be ready for that to change.
Fans were excited when Age of Extinction teased the coming of Dinobots, and disappointed when they didn't actually do very much onscreen. By the time they were behaving as glorified pets in The Last Knight, nobody was expecting them to ever be remotely cartoon-accurate any more. Grimlock may be kinda dumb, but he's no animal--let's see him and his Dinobots awaken early on primeval Earth, and possibly turn out to be the reason mammals ultimately survived.
Age of Extinction's main villain is a space bounty hunter with a ship full of captured aliens. Lots of possibilities here. Depending on the mission, he can be a hero or a bad guy, but you can take him basically anywhere.
The Transformers movies have a habit of adding new robots into the mix without any explanation or backstory, and perhaps the weirdest one was Daytrader, the pack-rat robot voiced by Steve Buscemi who sells Transformer parts. You'd see a movie in which Buscemi played a creepy guy who secretly sells human organs, right? It's that, but robots. We're in.
Jim Carter's Cogman was a vastly underappreciated character in The Last Knight, probably because the Venn diagram of Downton Abbey viewers and Transformers fans might not be the biggest on the planet. But to hear fussy, conservative monarchist butler Mr. Carson playing an insane, unstable robot version of that was comedy gold, and that's not the only reason he should have his own film. The character is also canonically a Headmaster, which means that even though we never saw it happen, his head can pop off and become a tiny driver of whatever vehicle his body becomes. And he looks like he dates back to the steampunk era, which opens up a whole new realm of prequel possibilities.
Look, after six live-action movies we deserve to actually see a whole planet that turns into a robot, especially since we were left hanging about him being Earth. And how he got to be a planet would be a great story too. But the best reason for the franchise to do a Unicron movie is that Unicron's existence spans different realities, and that's how you get your in-canon reboot. Orson Welles' final character onscreen could be voiced by Maurice LaMarche, who is always game for that particular impersonation.
What are your thoughts? Were you rooting for an Ironhide adventure instead? Let's here what characters you'd like to see movies for in comments.