'Transformers: The Last Knight' Set Visit: Everything We Learned About The Story And Characters

This past summer, Paramount Pictures gave us the opportunity to visit the set of Transformers: The Last Knight while they were shooting up in Pontiac, Michigan. The experience of being on a Michael Bay movie set is one that I'll never forget, if only because of the amount of explosions, gunshots and debris myself and other members of the press saw in front of our eyes. We'll have more about the experience of being on a Michael Bay production soon, but this portion of our set visit is dedicated to the story and characters.

While most moviegoers aren't necessarily going into a Transformers movie with a lot of concern for the story and character development, that doesn't mean there aren't longtime fans of the franchise interested in how the battle of the Autobots and Decepticons continues in Transformers: The Last Knight. That includes the return of some human characters from previous movies, a few new ones and a deep dive into the mythology of Transformers in general. And of course, there are plenty of new Transformers, and one returning Transformer that fans will be happy to see more of.

In this set visit report, we run through everything we learned about the story, including where we find our human characters with regards to their relationship to Transformers. There are plenty of new details here that haven't been revealed until now, so get the full rundown in our Transformers The Last Knight set visit report below.

Transformers Dark of the Moon Cybertron

Exploring the Transformers Mythology

At the end of Transformers: The Age of Extinction, Optimus Prime blasted off into space with The Seed, planning to confront The Creators who basically put out a hit on the Autobot leader for some reason. We spoke to franchise executive producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura of Optimus Prime's role in Transformers: The Last Knight will see Optimus Prime following through on his self-imposed mission. He says:

We will explore that. I'm not going to give too much away. Definitely, he's going to–it's going to go back into the deep mythology of the Transformers and Cybertron, and how they were formed, and how the original Transformers–it's going to go into a very deep dive into the mythology, is where he's headed.

The story in Transformers: The Last Knight actually came from two different ideas for two different movies converging into one. Di Bonaventura explains, "As it turned out, there was not one idea that won the day for this movie. It ended up being two ideas in particular, so there was a bit of a combination thing that happened over time." With regards to how these stories tie into the larger Transformers mythology and history of Cybertron (seen above in Transformers: Dark of the Moon), "one is in the Transformer's mythology, billions of years ago, and one is hundreds of years ago."

This exploration of Transformers mythology includes learning more about the history of Optimus Prime and Megatron, including the eventual conflict between Autobots and Decepticons:

If you go back in the mythology, how Transformers were actually created, where did it start, where did they go from being a sort of a slave-race to a sentient race–we're delving into that aspect of the mythology. So the characters that are involved in there are Megatron before he's Megatron, Optimus before he's Optimus, the Librarian, the Quintessons, there's a whole group of things that have to do with how, in a sense, the Transformers were birthed, and also with how they were divided. What brought up the division, and what were the jealousies involved.

This mythology also includes diving into Earth's relationship with the Transformers and how they've been part of our own history. Apparently, there are aspects of Earth tied to Transformers mythology that we haven't yet learned about. This likely has something to do with the medieval flashback sequences we've heard about involving King Arthur and his knights. But more on that later.

Transformers The Last Knight

What's Happening on Earth?

Transformers: Age of Extinction showed us that Transformers were labeled as public enemies after the Battle of Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Though it was believed that the Autobots were granted sanctuary after stopping the Decepticons yet again, they ended up being hunted down by the CIA so they could find Optimus Prime as part of their secret pact with Stanley Tucci's character Joshua Joyce, who was going to give Optimus Prime over to Lockdown and The Creators in exchange for a Seed that would allow him to advance human technology by creating his own Transformers.

The destruction that followed has now led to Transformers being hunted down without mercy. Though there was a time when humans were working with Autobots, there's now a mandate for a new team called the Transformers Reaction Force (TRF) to eradicate all of the Transformers, regardless of their affiliation. New cast member Santiago Cabrera is the leader of this team.

On the next page, find out what's going on with the movie's human characters, both new and old.

Santiago Cabrera - Transformers The Last Knight

Meet Santos, Transformers Reaction Force Team Leader

Santiago Cabrera explained a bit about his character while on a break between takes. Decked out black military gear, dirt on his face, sweat dripping from his brow, he explained:

My backstory would be that I was a SEAL but I've retired and I'm on contract. The TRF has been formed to fight the Transformers, so my orders are I don't care if they're Autobots of Decepticons we gotta stop this war. So I'm a team leader and I've come with my team to fight them.

We're told by Cabrera our introduction to Santos comes in the form of a scuffle that he has with Mark Wahlberg's character, Cade Yaeger. The TRF learns Yaeger may be harboring some of the Autobots in a junkyard, so they seek him out, and the result is a huge action sequence involving drones controlled by the TRF and the Autobots they've come to hunt down. I can't be sure, but I believe that's where this shot comes from:

Transformers The Last Knight

This is where Bumblebee gets in on the action, giving the TRF more of a fight than they expected, and their pursuit of the Autobot and Cade Yaeger is just getting started.

Santos is a guy who is just following orders, but based on the fact that he's fighting alongside Mark Wahlberg in the scene we've been watching throughout our set visit, the conflict between Yaeger and Santos won't last for the whole movie.

Transformers The Last Knight - Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel's Return as Colonel Lennox

We've known for a while that Josh Duhamel is returning as Colonel Lennox, and we've assumed that he would be decked out in military gear again. However, it sounds like there might be some mystery to his character this time around. Duhamel explained to us that there's a question as to where his loyalties really lie:

Am I with the US military, the Army, or am I working with a group that's trying to eradicate all Transformers? Not just Decepticons, but all of them. There's a bit of a struggle between myself and Santiago Cabrera, and then we're also working against Wahlberg's character in this. Because he's definitely working with the Autobots.

So it sounds like Duhamel's character has likely been recruited for TRF just like Santiago Cabrera's character. But maybe because of his history with the NEST team that used to work with the Autobots, he's not entirely sold on his mission to take out all the Transformers, so he doesn't follow through with his mission as efficiently as his team leader would like him to.

There was almost a scene shot where Mark Wahlberg punched Josh Duhamel, but it ended up being cut. Duhamel tried to convince Bay to put it back in, just so he could say he got punched in the face by Wahlberg, but it didn't pan out. Still, Cade Yaeger and Colonel Lennox are on opposing teams for at least part of the movie. But again, based on the fact that Duhamel and Cabrera were fighting alongside Wahlberg in the sequence we saw filmed, that conflict won't last forever.

Transformers The Last Knight - Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg Is a Man on the Run

In Transformers: Age of Extinction, Mark Wahlberg found himself inadvertently caught up in the battle between Autobots and Decepticons when he stumbled upon Optimus Prime. Now he's a friend to all Autobots, and as we heard above, he's harboring some of them to keep them safe from the Transformers Reaction Force. However, apparently enough time has passed that he's not as quick on his feet as he was in the previous movie.

Wahlberg is sitting in a golf cart in a flight suit that's removed down to his waist, revealing a tank top made dirty by all the dirt and debris he's been running through on set, and he explains where we find his character:

They wanted to make sense that I was older, a little slower. But yeah, you meet up with Cade now and he's living elsewhere and he's basically had to go on his own on the run.

But wasn't Cade Yaeger concerned with protecting his teenage daughter in the last movie? Where is she? Wahlberg says that will be addressed in the movie, but it sounds like he might have sent her away so that she wouldn't have her life threatened by those who will come to hunt down Cade for his alliance with the Autobots.

However, Yaeger won't be a loner forever. In an image above, he's running with young new cast member Isabela Moner from an unseen threat. In addition, Wahlberg says that he ends up finding "a great relationship with this smart, sophisticated English woman and that creates a lot of humor." Speaking of which...

Transformers The Last Knight - Laura Haddock

Laura Haddock Is Tasked With Saving the World

You might not know British actress Laura Haddock by name, but if you've seen Guardians of the Galaxy, then you've seen her work. She played Peter Quill's dying mother in the opening scene of the Marvel movie, and because of her look in that particular scene, you'd never recognize her standing in front of you. Haddock just finished running through some explosions and debris on the Transformers set, wearing a military flight suit and some Converse Chuck Taylors, and we learned a little bit about her character.

Haddock plays a character named Vivian, and she ends up thrust into the plot when she's picked up at her family home by a Transformer in vehicle form. She's taken to a castle where she meets Cade Yaeger and learns that she's key to helping save the world. What makes her so important? Well, unfortunately, there are some details that we can't reveal just yet, but she's very important when it comes to the MacGuffin of this movie, some kind of artifact with ties to the mythology of the Transformers and their history with Earth.

It sounds like Vivian may end up being a love interest for Yaeger in the end as Haddock says, "They have real good banter, they don't understand each other at all in the beginning, mainly because he's American and she's English and mainly don't get each other and they have a lot of banter. But then they end up going on this massive journey together and needing each other and they see a different side to each other."

On the next page, we talk about some of the new Transformers and an old one making a big return.

Transformers Age of Extinction - Grimlock

The Dinobot Grimlock Is Back With Some Little Friends

We've already heard rumors that there will be mini-Dinobots making their debut in Transformers: The Last Knight, and we can confirm that there will indeed be tiny, T. rex Transformers appearing in this movie. Michael Bay says they're just learning to spit fire, so they're cute and cool at the same time.

But of course, the mini-Dinobots need someone to teach them how to spit fire, so Grimlock is back too. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura agrees with fans that he didn't get much screentime in the last movie, but he'll be back in the sequel. As far as we know, Grimlock has a key part in the beginning of the movie, but we're not sure how big his role will be after that. Apparently he'll be a little more than just a steed for Optimus Prime to ride:

He has a personality this time, for sure. A little more personality, that's for sure. He's funny. He's like a naughty dog in this movie. He's really sheepish when he does something wrong. He's a great character. He's really–we're bringing out a side of him that you're going to like–you're going to relate to.

You can't go wrong with dinosaur robots, so it should be cool to see Grimlock back on the scene.

Transformers The Last Knight

Squeeks the Scooter May Be Your Favorite New Transformer

We've already met the Vespa scooter known as Squeeks, a new Transformer who will be accompanying a new human character played by Isabela Moner (seen above with Squeeks). There's definitely a Rey and BB-8 vibe from their pairing in this movie, and Squeeks does sound like he'll be rather entertaining. Producer Lorenzeo di Bonaventura describes what makes Squeeks unique:

It's an Autobot that you can't figure out how to transform at the beginning of the movie, and/or has a physical limitation that they can't figure out how to get around, and during the process, we have some real fun with the sort of malaprop attempts to form. A pretty seemingly inconsequential Autobot is going to rise a really great f***ing moment... it's incredibly great, from a sort of story plot point of view, but you'll laugh so f***ing hard, because it's such a great way for him to finally show his mettle.

Squeeks is also teamed up with new cast member Isabela Moner, who plays a character who is also named Izabella (yes, it's just spelled differently). She's been with Squeeks awhile, and since she's pretty good with welding and mechanics, she keeps trying to fix him. Really, it seems like Squeeks is all she has. Moner explains, "He's like my lifelong friend ever since the battle of Chicago."

Izabella lost her parents in the Battle of Chicago, and we're told she's been living with Autobots ever since. And with the Transformers Reaction Force hunting down all Transformers, that probably means she's not safe. But eventually she'll end up meeting with Mark Wahlberg, and presumably he'll try to protect her and Squeeks.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen - Submarine Concept Art

A Submarine Transformer

This is something that we didn't learn much about, but there was some discussion of some kind of submarine Transformer being introduced in Transformers: The Last Knight. The submarine is called the HMS Alliance, but we don't know what his Transformers name will be.

Apparently this particular Transformer gets involved in the story when Josh Duhamel and his team are investigating some kind of massive anomaly in the depths of the ocean. We're not sure what all that's about, but this will be the first time we're getting some underwater action involving Transformers.

Note: The above image is a piece of unused concept art from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Transformers: The Last Knight

A New Villain and a New Prime

The marketing has already teased the return of Megatron, who is technically Galvatron after the events of Transformers: Age of Extinction. But it turns out there's another villain who will be introduced this time as well. Lorenzo di Bonaventura explained that we'll be getting a new villain that will be "a surprise" who is "a very different kind of Decepticon form."

In addition, we'll be seeing a new Prime in the movie as well. While talking about the expanding mythology that Transformers: The Last Knight will have, di Bonaventura also teased that we'll be exploring the history of the Primes. In addition to opening to door to meeting other Primes in the future, The Last Knight will feature "a Prime that you will be surprised by."


That's all the story and character details that we learned on our Transformers The Last Knight set visit, or at least that's all that we're allowed to tell you for the time being. If you want some details on the scene that we saw filmed and what it's like to be on a film set directed by Michael Bay, another extensive part of our report will be coming soon, so stay tuned.