By Anthony Breznican
Updated February 11, 2011 at 04:44 PM EST
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Here is one small step toward understanding Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and one giant leap forward for toy-collecting fans.

Hasbro’s new line of awesome playthings reveal tantalizing clues about the third installment in the shapeshifting alien robot saga. We’d say “meet Sentinel Prime,” but loyal Transformers geeks have already encountered him in December’s teaser trailer for the movie — they just didn’t know it.

Read more after the jump …

That eerie, lifeless robot trapped in the wreckage of a gigantic alien craft being explored by the Apollo astronauts? Yeah, that’s the guy. He’s Optimus Prime’s predecessor, apparently lost in space for eons. He actually crash-landed on the Earth’s moon and patiently waited for the humanoid ants on the planet to develop some technology, fly up, and plug him back in.

Lookee-loos on the Chicago set of the movie long ago heard mention of Sentinel Prime, most often associated with a boxy firetruck used in the battle scenes. But until now no one has seen the face of the character (which kinda looks like F. Murray Abraham) to make the connection with the mystery ‘bot featured in the trailer. The official name of the toy is “Mechtech Leader Sentinel Prime.”

Hasbro also exclusively revealed to EW a new kids’ playset designed to be a Transformer-carrying spacecraft — the Ark — which fans of the original ’80s series will recall as a big, yellow, half-moon-shaped cruiser that was crashed halfway into the side of a volcano. (Think of a massive, metallic, robot-stuffed pita). In the cartoon, it served as the Autobot headquarters, but in Dark of the Moon that smashed hulk that serves as Sentinel Prime’s living tomb is the updated version of The Ark.

Finally, we have the first official image of the new Megatron, this time taking the alternate form of the kind of scary truck most drivers would slow down to let pass on a lonely desert highway. At the end of 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen, Megatron fled the battle at the pyramids, spitting fluid as half of his face was destroyed. In the new film, he still needs a little work done — as this toy with a tattered tarp for a mask reveals. Hasbro calls this one “Mechtech Megatron Voyager.”

When I visited the set of this movie last summer, Bay said Megatron would start the movie in Heart of Darkness mode, hiding in the jungles of Africa, nursing his wounds, and vainly hiding his pulverized visage while plotting — what else — revenge.

Bay also confirmed then that one new villain in the picture would be the fearsome cyclops Shockwave, another blast from the ’80s toyline that started it all. Meanwhile, the recent Super Bowl ad for the film also stirred speculation about what new metallic characters would be joining the cast. Laserbeak, anyone?

Other characters from the film (opening July 1), could begin leaking soon because Toy Fair 2011, the industry’s annual convention and preview, begins Sunday.


  • Movie
  • 143 minutes
  • Michael Bay