‘Transformers: Dark Of The Moon’ Trailer: What Does It Mean?

We decode the explosion-free teaser set around the historic 1969 mission to the moon.

No explosions? No Shia LaBeouf? Is this Michael Bay’s “Transformers” we’re peeping?

Well, yes it is, and we’ve seen it before. Michael Bay’s brand-new, moon-centric teaser trailer for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is distinctly reminiscent of the director’s first trailer for the 2007 original film, which similarly featured a rather startling discovery on a massive outer-space rock: a NASA probe lands on Mars in 2003, only to be destroyed by one nasty ‘bot.

Shia and the explosions will come in due time, as will the first official footage of Megan Fox’s replacement in the franchise, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley . For now, let’s dive into the new trailer and try to suss out exactly what’s happening.

The clip is set around the historic 1969 mission to the moon, but inserts a bit of alternate history: Neil Armstrong and his fellow spacemen encounter a crashed Transformers ship. Are they discovering such ‘bots for the first time? Have they seen such machines before? The encounter has left some fans confused about the timeline of events within the franchise’s mythology, so let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on.

We learn in the first film that Sam Witwicky’s (LaBeouf) great-great-grandfather discovered a robot during an Arctic mission in the late-19th century, leading to the eventual construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s as a way to hide the presence of nefarious Decepticon head honcho Megatron. Clearly, then, the astronauts and their government backers know Transformers exist. And after watching the new trailer a few times, it seems to us that the driving force behind the Apollo 11 moon mission was not solely to walk where mankind had never walked before but to figure out just what the heck was going on up there.

As soon as the astronauts find themselves on the dark side of the moon and cut off from communication with Earth, a mission control official says, “Mission is a go. You have 21 minutes.” Thus it seems, at the very least, NASA knew it was going to encounter something up there, that they had some indication of the presence of something odd on the surface. Whether they knew it was Transformers-related or not remains to be seen. But the key point is that this new trailer isn’t trying to suggest the ’69 mission was humanity’s first encounter with the alien robots. Similarly, the original teaser trailer wasn’t meant to imply that the encounter with the ‘bots on Mars was our first clue about their existence.

Now, about that robot the astronauts encounter. Just which one is it? Savvy Web speculators seem to agree its Alpha Trion. The giveaway is that mechanized fu Manchu. In pre-movie franchise mythology, Alpha Trion is one of the 13 original Transformers created by the god Primus. But Bay’s series tweaked this backstory, focusing on the AllSpark rather than Primus as the all-important life-giving force. So how exactly Alpha Trion fits into the “Dark of the Moon” tale remains an open question.

We’ve known for a while, though, that the new flick would dive deep into what Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner told us is the characters’ “core mythology.”

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura further explicated the mythological direction of the movie in conversation in April.

“We are going to continue to explore the past in the third one and that will continue to inform the present,” he told us. “I think it’s pretty much the same thing we did on the first two: You try to get as close as you can to the lore and sometimes you run into pieces where there’s not enough information to make a judgment, so you make your own call. That’s a necessary component. By and large, the fans have accepted and embraced what we’ve been doing.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.