Article: The Missing Autobot in "Age of Extinction"

in 2014, Age of Extinction, Article, Autobot


A Missing Autobot in "Age of Extinction" (aka The Rollbar Conspiracy)

Movie productions often undergo a hefty amount of change as the movie is filmed. Projects like these can take over a year to complete, so it's no shock that over such a long period of time things can change. In the original script for "Transformers: The Movie" Metroplex was known as "Fortress Maximus". In "Dark of the Moon" Skids and Mudflap were going to appear but were ultimately cut out except for one quick scene. This past summer's film "Age of Extinction" seems to have its own version of something being changed during production: a missing Autobot!

At Botcon 2014, it was revealed the "Generations" Skids sculpt would be given a new deco and released as "Rollbar", representing a vehicle to be seen in the film (but not an officially licensed Chevrolet). The vehicle's hatchback, "racer" look matched the Skids mold nicely, but most fans brushed this aside as a one-off redeco akin to Longarm from the first movie.

Rollbar action figure

Imagine my surprise when I sat in the theater (in IMAX no less) and saw a car that looked just like the Rollbar toy I had seen at Botcon slowly creep into a field across from Cade's house. Even more importantly, there was NO DRIVER. In a small screen capture online it's not as noticable (but you can still see there's no round driver head in there) but on the IMAX screen? It was blazingly obvious.

No driver

The entire scene was a gigantic set up with tension building, the Yaeger family (and friend) in peril and creepy Lockdown getting ready to do his evil thing. Then as everything begins to explode (literally), the mystery car knocks out a solider with its wheel!

Precision wheels

So I'm thinking "No way a human driver has that level of precision. That's an Autobot!" and as the scene moved forward, I found myself disappointed when they revealed Shane "Lucky Charms", the driver. Still I thought "Oh, they're setting us up for an awesome reveal, they even kept this from most of the media, an Autobot we didn't know about earlier!" and I was pumped.

As the chase scene moves along, we hear "Lucky Charms" declare "I don't know how I'm driving this good, it's like today I've gone to a whole other level!". This seemed to explain how he could pull off smacking a solider in the face with the tire (something almost impossible by chance with a human, but totally possible if the vehicle is your body as it would be if this were an Autobot). As this scene continued, I kept thinking that perhaps Rollbar was "hiding out" as Shane's car all this time and he didn't even realize it - perhaps even explaining his success in racing.

Alas, the entire sequence ends with the car being shot up and abandoned - never to be seen again in the film.

I still think there is evidence here of a dropped plot point. Perhaps Rollbar was meant to be an Autobot and they decided the CG model was too expensive to shoehorn into the film. Maybe this was an artifact of an early draft of the script. Unfortunately there's no official word on an Autobot being removed from the movie, but it's fun speculation with some evidence in the final cut of the film.

Don't worry Rollbar, in my personal fan canon, you were the hero of that entire sequence and after Lockdown and Optimus left the scene, you managed to hobble over to another garage and get yourself fixed up before going to another adventure!