In preparation for The Last Knight, take a look back at the Transformers story so far
The Transformers franchise is arguably at once both the most simplistic and most complicated franchise in all of movie history. At its base, Transformers is a franchise based on Hasbro toys that feature massive mechanical aliens that fight each other to shreds. But the Transformers story so far, over the course of Michael Bay‘s first four films, has detailed a surpsingly complex plot that includes how the Transformers were involved in human history and how they plan to use Cybertron technology to take over Earth – before they start wailing on one another.
The fifth Transformers movie, The Last Knight is said to be the final Transformers story that Michael Bay will direct, having helmed every big screen franchise entry to date. It shows humans at war with Transformers, and Cade, Mark Wahlberg‘s hero from the fourth film, desperately trying to learn why Transformers keep returning to Earth. Transformers: The Last Knight also stars Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Tucci, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, and Nicola Peltz.
Before The Last Knight hits theaters on June 21, catch up on the full Transformers story with our handy-dandy guide!
The first Transformers story begins with the history of the Transformers. On their home planet of Cybertron, there are two opposing factions: the Autobots and the Decepticons. The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, are fighting to prevent the Decepticons (led by Megatron) from getting the AllSpark, a powerful artifact that would grant unlimited power to whoever possesses it. Determined not to allow the evil Megatron to get ahold of it, Optimus Prime sends the AllSpark into space. Megatron goes after it, but crashes into Earth’s Arctic Circle. He is discovered in 1850 by explorer Archibald Witwicky, who unknowingly activates Megatron. Megatron engraves the AllSpark’s location into Witwicky’s glasses, then sends the transmission back to Cybertron.
The glasses end up with Witwicky’s great-great grandson, Sam (Shia LaBeouf), who has just gotten his first car. When other Decepticons track down the glasses and attack Sam, his car suddenly springs to life – it is an Autobot! After saving Sam and his friend Mikaela (Megan Fox), the two erstwhile heroes are introduced to the rest of the Autobots, who have just arrived on Earth. If Megatron and the Decepticons get ahold of the AllSpark, they plan on using it to bring to life all of Earth’s machinery and wiping out the human race. Most of the rest of the movie is just extended battles between various Transformers. It ends with the AllSpark being extinguished, most of the Decepticons either dying or escaping, and Optimus Prime salvaging a small shard of the AllSpark. The Autobots go into hiding on Earth.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
The Transformers story continues more new history: the Primes, the original Transformers, traveled the galaxy creating Sun Harvesters in order to create more power like that in the AllSpark. The rule was that they never put a Sun Harvester on a planet that hosts life, but Megatronus Prime (later known as The Fallen) ignores the rules and builds a Sun Harvester on Earth. The other Primes imprison The Fallen and the Sun Harvester is hidden, but never activated.
Back to the present. The Autobots have joined the U.S. military and help track down surviving Decepticons. When one of the Decepticons reveals to Optimus Prime that The Fallen has returned, the National Security Advisor reminds the Autobots that the remaining piece of AllSpark is safely locked up. Of course, a surviving Decepticon has hacked into a military satellite and hears all of this. He sends another Autobot to retrieve this shard.
Sam is now dating Mikaela, and they are headed off to college. He finds a shard of the AllSpark in his jacket, and when he looks into it, he is imprinted with Cybertronian glyphs. Megatron has been resurrected by fellow Decepticons, using the AllSpark shard that one of the Decepticons stole from the Army. He reunites with The Fallen on a Saturn moon, who explains that he needs to capture Sam in order to learn the location of the Sun Harvester, which can then start creating new Energon.
The battle portion of the movie ensues, which includes Megatron killing Optimus Prime. An ancient Transformer, known as a Seeker, sends Sam and his group to Egypt to find the Matrix of Leadership, which will revive Optimus Prime. The Matrix dissolves upon touch, but Sam hides a bit of the dust in his sock. During battles, Sam is killed, but the Primes appear to Sam in a vision, bring him back to life, and empowers the Matrix dust to revive Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime faces off with Megatron and The Fallen, who have revealed the Sun Harvester. He kills The Fallen; mutilates Megatron; and destroys the Sun Harvester.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Dark of the Moon‘s history lesson takes the Transformers story back to 1961, when the Ark, a ship from Cybertron carrying top secret inventions, crashes onto our moon. The American and Russian space programs were developed as a response to this crash and the attempt to cover it up.
In the present, Optimus Prime discovers a piece of the Ark while inspecting suspected alien technology at Chernobyl. The Autobots head up to the moon to investigate, and they discover the previous Autobot leader, Sentinel Prime, comatose on the moon. He is surrounded by pillars that were meant to teleport things between the Earth and the moon. Optimus Prime uses his Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime.
Sam starts looking into the Ark and teams up with Sector 7 agent Seymour Simmons (John Turturro). They discover that the Decepticons found the Ark wreckage long ago, and left it and Sentinel Prime on the moon as a trap for the Autobots. This works, and Sentinel, once revived, reveals that he has switched sides; he is now Team Decepticon. Sentinel Prime kills an Autobot then starts transporting hidden Decepticons from the moon to Earth. The Autobots are exiled from Earth and once their ship leaves the planet, Megatron blows it up, presumably killing all the Autobots. The Decepticons move forward with their ultimate plan: to transport Cybertron to our solar system, enslave humanity, and rebuild Cybertron. The Autobots, unsurprisingly, had remained hidden on Earth, so they are all fine, and the battle begins. Optimus Prime kills both Megatron and Sentinel Prime; the transport bridge is destroyed which causes Cybertron to implode, and the Autobots accept Earth as their new home.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Millions of years ago, an alien race known as the Creators came to Earth and terraformed it with a device called Seed, spreading an alloy called Transformium (you can see where this is going). The Transformers story then continues in present day, as a geologist starts digging up Transformium for a company, KSI, that plans to use the material to create Transformer drones.
After Chicago was all but destroyed in Dark of the Moon, the Autobots have gone into hiding. The American public doesn’t trust Transformers of any kind, and a CIA black ops team, known as Cemetery Wind, has been hunting down and killing Transformers. A bounty hunter from Cybertron, Lockdown, promises to give Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), the leader of Cemetery Wind, a Seed if he kills Optimus Prime.
Optimus Prime has been hiding in Mexico City, where he meets his new “owner,” Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg). His daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) and business partner Lucas (T.J. Miller) want Cade to turn Optimus Prime over to the government, but Cade, an inventor, wants to learn about the Transformers. Lucas turns him in anyway, and is killed when Lockdown shows up and a battle ensues. Cade discovers KSI’s involvement with Cemetery Wind, and Optimus Prime calls on his remaining Autobots to “roll out.”
The prototype of the new Transformer is called Galvatron, and he more closely resembles Megatron than Optimus Prime (turns out, he is a “reincarnation” of Megatron). Galvatron goes nuts and fights the Autobots, but Lockdown shows up and kidnaps Tessa and Optimus Prime. Cade and Tessa’s boyfriend Shane sneak aboard Lockdown’s ship and finds a new “breed” of Transformers, known as the Dinobots, and uses them in the fight against Lockdown and Galvatron. When the dust clears, Lockdown is destroyed; Galvatron retreats; and Optimus Prime vows that he is coming after the Creators.
As to where the Transformers story will head next, you’ve got to find out in theaters starting June 21!