Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Transformers: The Last Knight Explained

It was supposed to be the bridge between the franchise's cinematic past and future. Now, Transformers: The Last Knight looks as though it may have been a dead end.

The fifth film in the series was going to be director Michael Bay's last ride with the robots in disguise. It was the first script to come out of the new Transformers writer's room, an attempt at growing the franchise by bringing a number of screenwriters together to develop and hone their ideas into a new and lucrative cinematic universe. But the film's disappointing performance — it made half-a-billion dollars less than its predecessor, according to Movieweb – means audiences may never see the threads it left dangling pulled together again.

Many people remember The Last Knight as the installment where Anthony Hopkins explains how the Transformers came to fight the Nazis during World War II, among other historical interventions, and how the secret society he belonged to kept all this hidden from the world. But the film's big reveal is that Earth has also had a much bigger role in the history of the Transformers than previously thought.

The biggest Transformer of them all

Our planet, Hopkins' character Sir Edmund Burton learns, is in fact a planet-sized Transformer known as Unicron. Unicron has filled a variety of roles throughout the property's history, almost always as a villain, and often as a planet-killer on the order of Marvel's Galactus (as in 1986's animated The Transformers: The Moviewhere he was voiced by Orson Welles). There's little indication of his murderous intent in The Last Knight. Instead, the bad guys — led by the sorceress Quintessa (voiced by Gemma Chan) and Megatron (voiced by Frank Welker) — want to drain Unicron and thus the Earth of its energy in order to rebuild their homeworld of Cybertron.

Regardless of Unicron's intentions, that seems like a bad idea for everyone currently standing on it, and so the heroes of Earth and the Autobots attempt to stop them. Robot battles ensue, as do human attempts to secure the MacGuffin allowing for this siphoning, in this case a Cybertronian relic that once belonged to Merlin. The good guys win. Everyone lives happily ever after, forever.

Just kidding. In a post-credits scene, the disguised Quintessa (now actually Gemma Chan) approaches a group of scientists stationed in the desert near one of the giant horn-like protruberances Unicron sprouted in response to the threat. She cautions them against attempting some of their experiments, and promises instead that she knows of a way to kill him.

So where does that leave the franchise?

You won't get a more blatant set-up for a potential sequel than the villain promising to teach someone how to kill the Earth, or the planet-sized Transformer that we know as the Earth. But whether audiences will ever see exactly how Quintessa plans to bump off the newly uncovered Unicron is uncertain, as the future of the Transformers franchise is up in the air.

For this, The Last Knight has only itself to blame. The film was a box office disappointment, losing its parent companies as much as $100 million. That's the sort of shortfall that can scramble the best-laid franchise plans.

The next Transformers film, 2018's Bumblebee, took a detour to the 1980s to tell a smaller-scale story. It garnered a more positive reception, and a sequel is reportedly in the works. There's also a plan for a Transformers reboot that utilizes characters from the franchise's Beast Wars spin-off –– Optimus Primal turns into a gorilla, you know the deal. (Depending on which rumors you believe, this may or may not now end up being the same as the Bumblebee sequel.) Deadline also reports there's a plan to make an animated prequel set on Cybertron that will be directed by Toy Story 4's Josh Cooley, so that's something.

But there's been little movement on the main thrust of the series in recent years. Whether it's lying dormant like Unicron, waiting for the moment of its return, or is as dead as Cybertron, only time will tell. The Last Knight led the franchise into the future, but not in the way anyone hoped, and now that ambiguous ending will likely hang out there unresolved for all time.