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'Transformers One' Producer Is Hyped for Chris Hemsworth's Optimus Prime

May 16, 2023

The veteran 'Transformers' producer teased the film is "different than any animated movie you've ever seen."

Although Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will only just grace theaters this week, Lorenzo di Bonaventura is already getting excited about the next major installment coming for the giant robot franchise - Transformers One. The animated film won't be out for a while especially after a recent delay kicked it back to a September 2024 release, but the veteran Transformers producer couldn't help but hype it up in a new interview with Collider's Steven Weintraub. He dove into why it'll be such a special animated project and how the cast will elevate the film.

Transformers: One will feature something fans haven't gotten the chance to see on screen before - the origins of Optimus Prime and Megatron's feud. di Bonaventura previously detailed the plot of the film to Collider, explaining that it would act as the beginning of the Transformers saga as fans know it, taking place on Cybertron with a young Optimus and Megatron who are still friends. Before they matured into two leaders on the opposite sides of a conflict, they were fellow Cybertronians and far different from the characters they are in the cartoons or films. Transformers: One looks to set the stage for a natural trilogy too as di Bonaventura says, promising a sweeping story about the fall of Cybertron and the societal strife that the bots are swept into.

The animation itself is very promising too. Collider previously learned from di Bonaventura that Industrial Light and Magic, the industry giant better known for its state-of-the-art special effects technology used in the Star Wars franchise and MCU films among other projects, is taking another crack at animating after creating 2011's Rango. Since he last sat down with Weintraub, he's only grown more in love with the work they're doing on Transformers: One. While di Bonaventura, unfortunately, couldn't promise footage any time soon, he expressed just how smoothly everything was progressing and praised ILM for creating something special with them:

"I don't know about when we'll see it. It'll be a while. I can't tell you how excited I'm getting about it. It's one of those things that like, it just keeps progressing in the right direction, you know? You never know, sometimes when you're making a movie, you're, like, 'Well, I think it's working.' Everything I'm seeing is working and it's exceeding my sense of what it was gonna be, so I'm really excited about it. It is a very fresh and different look, I would say different than any animated movie you've seen, which is a high bar to set, but ILM is capable of delivering it."

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One of the more shocking details of Transformers One is that longtime Optimus Prime voice actor Peter Cullen will be stepping back from his usual duties in favor of Thor star Chris Hemsworth. Considering the film will show the origins of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons and thus a much different Optimus, it's not entirely unreasonable to have a different actor in place. It's still a move that will feel unusual as Cullen has voiced the leader of the Autobots in just about everything Transformers under the sun. Bonaventura is not the least bit worried about the casting though. Rather, he's excited for audiences to hear the voice Hemsworth is going with and how it feels like a natural progression from him to Cullen. He had high praise for both Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson, adding:

"Also, it's the imagination of our artists and our director, and one of the great things is, as you actually put the voices to the characters– When we first listen to Chris Hemsworth's voice, you're like, 'God, is he gonna be a good Optimus!' Obviously, he starts as Orion Pax and you don't become Optimus for a while, so he's not playing, for most of the movie, what we think of as Optimus, Peter Cullen. So it's that transition, and Chris's voice has a timbre that… it's logical that Peter Cullen would take over that voice, if you would, which is really great, the fans are gonna really feel great. But Scarlett [Johansson] is amazing, and it's just coming alive in a way that it's really rewarding, and we had confidence in our director, and all he's doing is giving us more and more."

Like Rise of the Beasts, Transformers: One includes a star-studded roster already. Directly opposite Hemsworth will be recent Oscar nominee Brian Tyree Henry as his nemesis Megatron. Johansson plays Elita in the film while Keegan Michael Key will voice the fan-favorite Bumblebee. Also aboard the film are Jon Hamm and Laurence Fishburne who play former Autobot leader Sentinel Prime and one of the franchise's oldest bots in Alpha Trion respectively. Toy Story 4 directer Josh Cooley helms the film with a script penned by Andrew Barrer, Steve Desmond, and Gabriel Ferrari.

Transformers One is currently slated for September 14, 2024. Rise of the Beasts will tide fans over in the meantime as it rolls out into theaters on June 9. Check out the trailer below.

Ryan O'Rourke is a senior news writer for Collider and lifelong gamer. A diehard Cubs fan, he contributes to a FanSided blog on the side and can be found glued to a baseball game or his Switch during his spare time.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Lorenzo di Bonaventura Transformers One Transformers Steven Weintraub COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT Star Wars Rango Peter Cullen Thor Chris Hemsworth Brian Tyree Henry Keegan Michael Key Jon Hamm Laurence Fishburne Toy Story 4 Josh Cooley Andrew Barrer Steve Desmond Gabriel Ferrari