Whether you grew up watching the classic Transformers cartoons or jumped on the Bayformers’ bandwagon, at one time or another, you heard Peter Cullen’s iconic voice sound out. The legendary actor has portrayed franchise lead Optimus Prime countless times and is the only individual we can picture in the role. That said, it was quite a shock to learn Netflix cast an entirely different actor in Transformers: War For Cybertron.
Instead of recruiting veteran actor Peter Cullen for the Autobot leader, Netflix chose to go with Jake Foushee. The decision isn’t all that surprising considering Foushee has portrayed Prime in the past, though Cullen seems like he should’ve been first in line. His name would’ve been a major draw for fans, of course, that’s not how things panned out.
What Peter Cullen Had To Say About The Netflix Series
Cullen himself had mighty strong words to say about Netflix hiring non-union personnel to take over his role. He spoke at GalaxyCon back in March, where he conveyed his disapproval of what the streaming giant did to him and his co-stars. One can argue that Cullen doesn’t hold any legal ownership over Optimus Prime, so whoever Netflix wants to hire should be of little concern.
However, Cullen points out that using non-union personnel “undercuts protections the actors’ unions provide them.” It’s also an unspoken rule in the entertainment industry that you don’t take over another actor’s role without their approval, especially if the said actor is still capable of doing their job.
On top of nixing Cullen from the project, Netflix also went with a different actor to voice fan-favorite villain Megatron. Frank Welker has played the part for as long as we can remember, and it was just as shocking to learn that Jason Marnocha would be replacing him as the Decepticon leader. Welker also sat on the panel at GalaxyCon to voice his concerns, adding to Cullen’s initial sentiments.
With both the Autobot and Decepticon leaders voiced by new actors, the road ahead for Transformers: War For Cybertron will be a tough one. The latest installment holds a worthy premise, but as we mentioned before, Netflix recruiting a whole new troupe of actors—who sound nothing like the originals—has been a detriment to the anime.
There is, however, one option Netflix may consider if Season 3 turns out to be as bad as we think: recast the War For Cybertron characters. A small change like a new cast might not make a huge difference at first glance, but bringing back iconic voices like Peter Cullen and Frank Welker could up the status quo. The only problem is that the veteran actors might not accept any such offer.
As mentioned before, Welker and Cullen aren’t pleased with how Netflix went about recruiting actors for Transformers: War For Cybertron, and they’re not likely to change their stances. A substantial paycheck could be a decent incentive to offer, although it’s unlikely one that Cullen or Welker will accept at this point. Anything can happen, but fans shouldn’t count on either of them working with Netflix in the future.