Beware Orlando: The Decepticon invasion has begun. Evil lord Megatron made his diabolical debut at Universal Studios Florida, emerging from the shadows of Cybertron to meet, take pictures with, and even talk to theme park guests outside the soon-to-be-open Transformers: The Ride 3D.
In less than 12 months, Universal has, well, transformed the former unused Soundstage 44 into a new high-tech attraction, set to open this summer. With construction walls down around the large grey industrial-looking building, it’s difficult for fans not to wonder just when Transformers: The Ride 3D will welcome its first guests in Orlando.
But while the world waits for Universal to announce an official opening date, they have rolled out three popular characters from the “Transformers” franchise for everyone’s entertainment.
First, it was Autobots Optimus Prime and Bumblebee who arrived in Florida in November, finally meeting theme park guests last month. But the Autobots are on guard now with this week’s arrival of Megatron, Decepticon leader, and all-around bad guy.
Video: Megatron talks to guests outside Transformers: The Ride 3D at Universal Studios Florida
While Transformers: The Ride 3D remains under construction on the inside, a temporary meet-and-greet location has been set up outside the attraction’s Supply Vault gift shop, with alternating appearances by Optimus, Bumblebee, and now Megatron too.
Megatron moves fluidly through the crowd and despite his dastardly demeanor, he seems too content to pose for pictures, though wisecracking his way through, delivering quips like, “I’m almost touched… Fortunately such thoughts pass quickly” and “I do NOT smile.”
UPDATE: Chris McFeely on TFW2005.com traced Megatron’s lines of dialogue heard in the video above back to their original sources:
“Have you come to surrender?” – Transformers: Dark of the Moon
“Come here, little cretin!” – Transformers: The Movie
“I’m glad you asked, Earth germ!” – Transformers, original TV series, “Megatron’s Master Plan” episode
“I’m almost touched – fortunately, such thoughts pass quickly!” – Beast Wars, “Code of Hero”
Impressive! Megatron does say other lines as well, though some are somewhat difficult to understand.
His tattered appearance makes his battle damage obvious from multiple run-ins with rival Optimus Prime, even missing part of his head. But Megatron arrives on Earth prepared for battle, armed with a blaster on his back.
Megatron is now making daily appearances at Universal Studios Florida. Though there is no release schedule, the Transformers meet-and-greets tend to wrap up by around 4 pm, give or take a couple of hours.
As for Transformers: The Ride 3D, Universal appears to be ready for large crowds to arrive whenever it does open, with a winding extended queue set up outside.
At Universal Studios Hollywood, Transformers: The Ride 3D soft-opened nearly two months before its official grand opening in late May 2012. It’s possible (and likely) Orlando will follow the same path, potentially soft opening the ride within the next few weeks. But the only official timeframe given for its opening is some time this summer.
More photos of Transformers: The Ride 3D, characters, and store: