There are few actors who are so iconic they can be the voice of a character in a children's show of the 80s and go on to perform the same character almost forty years later in a big budget movie version. That, however, is exactly what Peter Cullen has done and still is doing as he reprises his role of Optimus Prime in the upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts movie. If you are looking for a secure job in Hollywood, then it doesn't get any more so than this.
Cullen was the original voice of Optimus Prime in the Transformers first outing in the 1984 cartoon series. Since then, he has voiced the character in animated series, movies, games and of course the recent big budget, live action movies, which continues with the new sequel this year. For pretty much four decades, Cullen's fatherly tone has commanded the Autobots and it looks like he isn't about to stop anytime soon.
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said at a press conference launch of the new movie, "Peter Cullen brought this character to life with his amazing voice back in 1984. Is he returning? Absolutely. There's, there's no discussion without him really, you know, unless he didn't want it. That would be the only way he would not be in here. I know Optimus is near and dear to him. Steven and I are going to be talking soon about some of the stuff that he's interested in bringing to the table and, and vice versa. And so, yeah, he's on board."
It is almost unthinkable to imagine a Transformers movie that features Prime to not have Cullen's voice behind the machine, so we are thankful that he is happy to go on voicing the leader of the Autobots and that the producers are more than willing to let him continue. As there appears to be a new wave of Transformers movies and potentially series to come, we can expect to hear a lot more of Cullen in the near future.
When the new movie was officially revealed today, one of the first things shared was the return of Optimus Prime as the main focus of the movie, after Bumblebee became the star of the previous installment. However, as the Decepticons seem to be taking a lesser role this time around, it was down to Steven Caple Jr to explain more about what can be expected from the latest entry to the franchise.
"We wanted to expand the universe, you have the Autobots and the Decepticons, and I would say my new flair to this is the Terracons," Steven Caple Jr. said. "The Terracons are a new threat to Optimus Prime, and it's something I pride myself on when entering the franchise. I've done Rocky with Creed, and you bring the nostalgia that fans want, but also bring something they aren't expecting, and the Terracons are that."
"The Predacons in our film are more reptilian in nature. We've seen a few in the other Transformers films, but we've never had the chance to focus in on their logo, their tribe if you will, and we get to see another side to them," Caple Jr. went on. "It's all about building a backstory to these characters that are more than just 'let's take over the world.'" Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is filming now and is scheduled for release on June 24, 2022.