Alan Tudyk Didn't Realize He'd Been Cast As Optimus Prime In Transformers: Earthspark

"Transformers: EarthSpark" is a Paramount+ original animated series that follows the eponymous robots in disguise as they work together, Autobots and (some) Decepticons alike, on a post-war Earth to protect and educate a new breed of Transformer: the Terrans. These new robots are unlike the rest in that they were born on Earth. For the Terrans, it's the only home they've ever known, and Cybertron is a distant myth. Also, there are a bunch of humans tagging along because the audience demands a surrogate. The whole thing is very "Steven Universe."

Starring everyone from Zeno Robinson and Danny Puddi to Nolan North and Clancy Brown, "Transformers: EarthSpark" is up to its antennae (modern cars still have those, don't they?) in famous names. One of them in particular — Alan Tudyk, who voices Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots — comes with something of a funny story. Thing is, fans of Tudyk will know that he's typically cast as comedic characters. Conversely, fans of all things "Transformers"-related will know that Optimus Prime is traditionally not what you would call "comedic" in any sense. According to Tudyk, there was a little cognitive dissonance when the offer was first made and it took him longer than he's proud of for it to register.

Tudyk thought he was a side character

In an interview with SFX Magazine, Alan Tudyk confessed that, at first, he didn't believe he'd been cast as Optimus Prime in "Transformers: EarthSpark." He was convinced that the studio was offering him some variant of the character who would only briefly appear. A joke character, for a quick laugh. Then it set in. Tudyk explained: 

"I got an email asking if I wanted to do it. I read it and my brain rejected the idea that I would even be asked to play Optimus Prime [...] I saw Prime and I was like, 'Oh, right. There are other Primes.' Because I did 'Transformers: Dark Of The Moon,' and there was another Prime [...] and so I thought I was like Optometrist Prime or some other, you know, Amazon Prime. I was like, 'Cool [...] I'll probably have like two lines an episode and I get to do this cool thing.' It wasn't until just a few days before I ever had to record that I started working on it and saw that all the lines in the script that were highlighted were Optimus, and I freaked out [...] I'm more like Uncomfortable Prime, I shouldn't be [...] That's usually my characters that I play: Indecision Prime, left or right? [...] The first time I got to say 'Autobots, roll out,' I got chills, literally chills."

Time has since passed and the entirety of the first — and currently only — season of "Earthspark" is available to stream through Paramount+. As of this writing, the series is set to release one episode per week on Nickelodeon, starting February 3, 2023. While Tudyk is no Peter Cullen, Tudyk is Tudyk. He's Hollywood's reigning champion in the field of voice acting. Prime is in good hands.