Sure, Michael Bay’s massively scaled “Transformers: Age of Extinction” might be just a little over a month away from premiering all over the world, but apparently that doesn’t mean that he can’t still cast people in pivotal roles.
Bay announced (via his sleek personal website) that John Goodman and Ken Watanabe will join the voice casting, playing Hound and Drift, respectively, while Peter Cullen and Frank Welker will return to the franchise (Cullen is, once again, Optimus Prime, while Welker will essay a new character, Galvatron).
“I am pleased to welcome two gifted and versatile actors, John Goodman and Ken Watanabe, to the world of Transformers,” Bay announced in a statement on the site. “And to reteam with Peter and Frank, who have brought Transformers characters alive from the beginning. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best voice talent in the business, and together we will introduce several exciting new robots to fans of the franchise around the world.”
Other voice actors mentioned in the announcement include John DiMaggio (who has voiced everything from Bender on “Futurama” to Jake on “Adventure Time”), Mark Ryan, Robert Foxworth, and Reno Wilson. Goodman has a storied past as a voice performer, having starred in Steven Spielberg’s “We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story,” Disney Feature Animation’s “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “The Jungle Book 2” (he voiced Baloo in the sequel), DreamWorks Animation’s “Bee Movie,” Laika’s “ParaNorman” and, most memorably, in a pair of Pixar classics — “Monsters Inc.” and last year’s delightful “Monsters University.”
The two new cast members only intensify our excitement for the new “Transformers” sequel, which serves as a kind of in-franchise reboot, jettisoning much of the three previous films in favor of a new storyline and characters that still, somehow, picks up from where things left off. Mark Wahlberg steps in for Shia LeBeouf, playing an inventor/mechanic who accidentally discovers a dormant Autobot and, well, nobody knows much else about the plot although clearly Dinobots are a big part of the action, if the Super Bowl commercial and the giant movie theater standee I saw are any indication.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is out on June 27th.