new autobots transformers 4
There's been a lot of talk about next month's "Transformers: Age of Extinction," and how it serves as an in-franchise reboot, updating much of what's come before while saying true to the series' roots and longstanding mythology. But how, exactly, things had been updated (besides jettisoning much of the cast, both robotic and human, from the previous films), was still much of a mystery. Until now.

Thanks to some photos published by USA Today, we now have a better understanding of what's been added to the Autobots' arsenal (as it turns out -- a lot).

The photos that reveal the most are a full-body shot of Optimus Prime (below) and another shot of Prime wielding a sword (above) and Bubblebee pointing a very large gun (and, yes, there's another shot of Grimlock, the crazy leader of the fan-favorite Dinobots). Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told USA Today that the robots are "bigger and badder-ass than they have ever been," saying that Bay insisted that they top the already-ginormous third movie, with this new film.

Bay told the site that the robots' new look is similar to other superheroes. "It's like Batman with a new suit," Bay said. "We needed to change the look from top to bottom." Di Bonaventura added, in regards to Optimus Prime's new accessory, "The sword is emblematic of what we've done to Optimus Prime as a whole. He's been upgraded with new abilities."

But what does the voice of Optimus prime have to say about the supposed upgrades? Peter Cullen, who voiced the character in the influential animated series on television (from 1984-1987) and in the big screen movies, told USA Today, "There are changes, but he still maintains the element of characters that are so important to him. Since the original concept of Optimus Prime, the trustworthiness, the honor, the courage are still there. That will always prevail. And that's the basis of his popularity." Spoken like a true Autobot leader.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" opens one June 27th.
CATEGORIES Movies