Takeaways from the "Transformers One" Trailer


On April 18, 2024 the trailer for Transformers One debuted online and has drawn a variety of reactions online.  You can check it out below.

This trailer is dense and as a long time (read: old) Transformers fan I could not help but take away a bunch of references and ideas from the trailer.  Here's a rundown of my thoughts:
1. Orion Pax & D-16 's Friendship
The trailer begins with Orion Pax and D-16 in a repair shop.  They're in some kind of trouble and get dumped into mining duty underground.  This is a great level setting scene as it shows us the aesthetic of the movie in one shot and it shows that these future enemies were, at one time, good friends who got into trouble together.  This is also a good look at the character designs for both characters which allude to their future forms.
Orion Pax and D-16 from "Transformers One"
2. Head Designs
It is fair to say that the head designs of both Optimus Prime and Megatron are iconic, carrying over decades of Transformers designs even to characters who are namesakes such as Optimus Primal.  Orion Pax and D-16 have head designs that call back to previous Transformers fiction.  Orion Pax has a "smoothed out" Optimus Prime helmet with hints of G1 Orion Pax while Megatron's head is a bit more streamlined than his "Megatron" head and feels more like his "bullet head" design seen in early G1 commercials.
Orion Pax and D-16 Close ups
3. B-127 (aka Bumblebee)
Bumblebee is (of course) a feature character in the film (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key).  Thankfully Bumblebee will actually be able to talk in this movie instead of doing the silent/radio chatter thing from the live action films.  The B-127 designation comes straight from the Bumblebee movie, which suggests this may be set in that continuity or at least is a universe adjacent to it.
4. Flash Forward
While a majority of this film appears to be set in Cybertron's Golden Age (or at the very least, the distant past), it looks like there will be scenes set in the future when both Orion Pax and D-16 have taken on their future personas as Optimus Prime and Megatron.  Optimus Prime is clearly seen with the Matrix in his chest.  Meanwhile Megatron is scene with his full "Megatron helmet" and a Decepticon symbol forged in metal.  I think this is an important story element.  While the trailer shows lots of light hearted moments and jokes, in the end the tale of Optimus and Megatron is being set up as a truly tragic one where two comrades and friends would become bitter enemies.  It is important to highlight that in the film.
Optimus Prime in "Transformers One"
Megatron in "Transformers One"
5. Iacon
Iacon was first introduced as the home of the Autobots going back to G1.  In time its prominence in Transformers fiction has grown to it often being considered a capital city of sorts.  The trailer briefly shows us a sign that says "Iacon 5000", perhaps referring to a race (the logo shows several cars and aerial vehicles).  It's great that bits of Transformers lore are being used even if just in the background.  This adds to the richness of the environment and film.
The Iacon 5000

6. D-16
Before he ruled the Decepticons with an iron fist, Megatron was known as D-16.  This alpha numeric name is a reference to Megatron's designation in the Japanese Transformers toy line.  This detail was not used in releases outside Japan, but there he was "D-16" so it is wonderful seeing a piece of lore like this used in a Transformers film.  It also appears at some point he finds what could be either just a sculpture or maybe even a piece of Megatronus' armor?  We'll have to find out when we see the film!

"D-16 finds an artifact"

7. Cybertron
It is very likely that this film is set in a new continuity, but one could also interpret it as a prequel to the live action series of films.  One design element the two share is Cybertron's appearance, which is a relatively dark place with similar lighting.  The two also feature areas of the landscape that can transform!   Check out the comparison between a screenshot of Cybertron from the Bumblebee movie versus the trailer.

Comparison of Cybertron from "Bumblebee" to "Transformers One"

9. Cybertronian Wildlife
When fans were first introduced to Cybertron in 1984 it was shown as a completely mechanical world and its residents all appeared to be sentient robots.  However, in the G1 tech specs for the Autobot Mirage it was mentioned that he enjoyed hunting "turbofoxes", implying that Cybertron was not just inhabited by semi-humanoid robots but also forms of wildlife.  The trailer shows us what appear to be Cybertronian "deer".  This gives us a sense of the wonder and beauty of the pre-war Cybertronian landscape, and it also adds another element of tragedy to the story knowing that in the future such wildlife may be destroyed.

Cybertronian "deer" in "Transformers One"

10. Techno-Organic?
Once our heroes wind up on the surface of Cybertron they see amazing sights including transforming mountains and the aforementioned wildlife.  They also appear to encounter areas with a mixture of metallic and organic elements.  In one scene the landscape appears to be covered in greenery.  This may be an unintentional callback to Beast Machines Transformers which described Cybertron as a planet that was once organic in nature.  By the end of that show, the planet had merged the technological and organic into a techno-organic planet.  It is interesting that this version of Cybertron seems to share that feature.

Cybertronian landscape

11. Onyx Prime?
Parts of the trailer take place in a mysterious cave where it appears Alpha Trion lives.  It also seems this cave (or another one perhaps) has artifacts from the past including the aforementioned Decepticon symbol.  In another shot inside this cave we see the destroyed body of what appears to be Onyx Prime, one of the original Thirteen Primes created by Primus.  The main 'give away' detail are the wings and his sharp edged fingers.  If Alpha Trion himself is one of the Thirteen in this continuity, then it would make sense that he would reside in the space with the remains of his former friends and comrades.

Onyx Prime - maybe?

12. An Evolution Revolution?
In the trailer Alpha Trion gives transformation cogs to our four heroes and they "learn" the art of transformation.  The idea that Alpha Trion would provide transformation cogs and that the Transformers would have to "learn" to transform is interesting as it echoes some ideas from the past.  In the G1 animated series the idea that Transformers did not always have the ability to transform was introduced during a "flashback" sequence to the era when the Quintessons ruled Cybertron.  This idea was also touched upon in the Beast Machines series.  In another fun callback, the design of the transformation cogs is very similar to the animation model used for Metroplex's transformation cog in "The Five Faces of Darkness Part 5".

Alpha Trion gives our heroes tranformation cogs

13. Bumblebee's Alt-Mode
During the trailer we see Bumblebee attempt to transform into his vehicle mode (and winds up crashing into the ground as a result).  The alt-mode shown in the trailer is very similar to the alt-mode for Bumblebee in the Bumblebee movie during the Cybertronian scene at the beginning of the film.  In the screen cap below I've pasted in a look at the Studio Series B-127 Bumblebee's alt-mode for comparison.

B-127 alt-mode

14. Quintessons
While this trailer has many light hearted moments, at its core it is still an action film which has bad guys to fight.  It looks like in this case the bad guys will be the evil Quintessons!  Depending on the continuity/fiction these guys have been portrayed as the creators of the Transformers, antagonists with mysterious goals or even servants of Unicron!  Regardless, the attackers in this film show the same technological/organic mash up (with vine-tentacles!) as Quintessons shown in the past.



15. Airachnid?!
The Transformers Prime series featured a Decepticon named Airachnid who had spider-like design elements in robot mode and transformed into a helicopter.  The trailer features a quick moment where we see a character who looks very  much like Airachnid!  Will it be an alt-universe version of her?  Time will tell!


16. Decepticons Forever!
There is a 'blink and you'll miss it' moment in the film where we see three classic Decepticons: Soundwave, Starscream and Shockwave.  Starscream appears to be getting up from a throne, implying that he is in a leadership position.  Is this part of a flash forward?  Do the Decepticons already exist only to have Megatron take leadership later?  It will be interesting to find out!


17. B-127 Battle Mask & Weapons
In a couple scenes Bumblebee discovers he has a Battle Mask and arm blades.  The design of the Battle Mask is a fun callback to both the original G1 and G2 Bumblebee toys.  The arm blades are a callback to Cybertronian Bumblebee.  I appreciate these nods to the character's past.

B-127 Battle Mask and Arm Blades

There is much more in the trailer I'm sure.  For instance, at one point we see cargo being loaded onto a vehicle by several "background" robots, one of whom appears to be Brawn while another is (maybe) Wheeljack.  I really enjoyed this first trailer and I look forward to seeing more!

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