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The Ending Of Transformers: Age Of Extinction Explained

The fourth film in the massively popular "Transformers" franchise, "Transformers: Age of Extinction," introduced a whole new cast of human actors reacting to huge green screens. Anchored by Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager (yes, that is his credited name), the flick featured a ton of new Transformers, including the beloved Dinobots. This 2014 summer hit doesn't exactly break the wheel, but it delivers exactly what fans want from every Transformers movie: giant CGI car-alien hybrids beating the heck out of each other, while humans helplessly watch and sometimes aid the Autobots.

Plot-wise, the events of the previous Transformers film "Dark of the Moon" mean that humans now distrust the Transformers. The CIA is hunting down Autobots while the corporation K.S.I. uses their parts to build drones. But when a damaged Optimus Prime is discovered in New Mexico by Yeager, a failed inventor, the two have to work together to stop the alliance of K.S.I. and a reincarnated Megatron from conquering the world.

The movie ends with the Autobots victorious as Optimus flies into space, carrying the powerful Seed device and vowing to confront his alien Creators.

Here's what all that means for the series.

The alien Creators trigger the events of the movie

The opening of the movie showed how millions of years ago, an alien race, the Creators, used powerful devices called Seeds to cover the Earth with the metal alloy Transformium. The result destroyed the dinosaurs in the process. Meanwhile, in the present, K.S.I. head Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) builds drones with Transformium while planning to use a Seed, gifted from the Creators through Cybertron bounty hunter Lockdown, to change society completely.

But this is only a pretense for Megatron's plan of using the Seed to conquer the world. The Hong Kong fight results in the defeat of Lockdown and Megatron, but Optimus Prime is curious about who sent Lockdown after him, and he also plans to take the Seed out of human hands.

Optimus leaves Earth and flies off with the Seed, intent on finding his Creators. The ending — and a hefty gross, per Box Office Mojo — helped set up the fifth installment in the series: 2017's "Transformers: The Last Knight."

Transformers: The Last Knight was nowhere near as successful

"Transformers: The Last Knight" tried to follow through on Optimus Prime's Creators storyline while focusing on the hidden history of the Transformers on Earth, which includes the reveals that they fought alongside King Arthur and that World War II sub HMS Alliance was a secret Transformer.

The absurd winks at actual history and the revision of Transformers canon may have been too much for critics and audiences alike. "Transformers: The Last Knight" got a 15 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Ian Freer of Empire writing that "It is amazing how a series with so much nostalgic goodwill, technical finesse and behind the scenes talent have led so often to experiences that are so joyless." It was ultimately a box office disappointment as well, the first "Transformers" entry since the legendary animated film to lose money for the studio (per Movieweb).

Prequel "Bumblebee" was already a modest hit though, and Paramount nevertheless plans to release new "Transformers" films in 2022 and beyond, albeit as basically standalone films and sans previous series director Michael Bay.

"Age of Extinction" is currently streaming on Hulu, for any curious fans who might need their fix of robots in disguise.