12 Transformers Movie Human Characters Ranked Worst To Best


  • Despite appearing in four movies, Captain Lennox is a forgettable character who serves as a vessel for the military obsession in the franchise.
  • Carly, played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, has very little depth and is limited by poor characterization and material.
  • Sam Witwicky, the main character of the first three movies, never grows or becomes likable, and is unceremoniously killed off between films.

Robots like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee may be the titular heroes of the Transformers franchise, but the series has had several human protagonists, some of whom are more captivating than others. Throughout the seven live-action Transformers films, the cast of human characters has changed drastically, with most movies introducing at least one new human protagonist. Sometimes this is because the films take place decades apart, so it is necessary for Optimus and Company to meet new humans, while other times characters are swapped out for behind-the-scenes reasons.

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While characters like Sam Witwicky are featured in several movies, others, like Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie, only get limited time in the spotlight. However, it doesn’t matter how much time a character has in a film, but rather how it is used. The Transformer movies aren’t always the best at balancing the human drama with the larger-than-life robot action, but some characters do get the opportunity to stand out.

Related: The Full Live-Action Transformers Timeline Explained (& Best Watch Order)

12 Captain Lennox

Transformers - Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel’s Captain Lennox is tied for most appearances by a human character in a live-action Transformers film, appearing in four of the movies. This may come as a surprise considering how forgettable the character is. Duhamel is a likable star, but the character of Lennox is often pushed to the background and given very little to do outside of yelling orders at nameless soldiers. The Michael Bay entries in this franchise are overly obsessed with the military and Captain Lennox is more of a vessel for filling that desire than an actual character.

11 Carly

Transformers Dark of the Moon Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Carly Spencer

English model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has an arresting look about her and her work in Mad Max: Fury Road proved she could work well in a big-budget movie. Unfortunately, the character of Carly has very little to her. The script for Dark of the Moon already gave very little for the female character to do, but once Megan Fox wasn’t invited back and the character had to be rewritten, the role had even less characterization. Huntington-Whiteley did her best stepping into the role at such a late point, but there is only so much she could do given the material.

10 Sam Witwicky

A blended image features Shia LaBeaouf as Sam Witwicky in a photo in a frame and in action in the Transformers movies

The most known human character in the franchise, Sam Witwicky is the main character for the first three Transformers movies, yet he somehow never grows past the complaining teenager from the first movie. The biggest problem with Sam is that he is annoying and hard to root for, very rarely earning the protagonist role, and instead falling into it by heritage and chance. It doesn’t help that he spends most of the action scenes screaming his head off. The filmmakers didn’t seem to care for Sam that much either, as he was unceremoniously killed off-screen between movies.

9 Vivian Wembley

Transformers Vivian

Only appearing in Transformers: The Last Knight, Vivian Wembley is the last descendant of Merlin and the new love interest for Cade Yager. The Last Knight has the least amount of actual Transformers out of the films, and Vivian is emblematic of that, acting as the catalyst for the strange King Arthur adventure the characters must go on. While Vivian may have more going on than Carly, she is still an underwritten female character whose arc is mostly there to service the male lead.

Related: 10 Most Powerful Autobots In The Transformers Movies, Ranked

8 Maggie Madsen

Transformers Maggie

The biggest problem with the first Transformers movie is the amount of side plots and human protagonists, and Rachael Taylor’s Maggie Madsen suffers the most because of this. While her storyline of trying to find out the truth about the NSA could be interesting, it is given far too little screen time to properly develop, and she gets lost in the shuffle. Taylor is a good actor, but the character buckles under the weight of the movie and is one of its least interesting elements.

7 Izabella

Transformers The Last Knight Trailer - Izabella

Izabella, played by Isabela Merced, is a wonderful idea for a Transformers human character. She is an orphan living in the ruins of Chicago befriending Autobots and helping the fight against Decepticons. It’s an interesting concept and Merced is an engaging enough presence that an entire movie could be built around her. Sadly, she only appears in Transformers: The Last Knight very briefly, and is absent for most of the film’s runtime. From what the movie shows, it seems that she is the most interesting character in the film, but there simply isn’t enough of her.

6 Elena

Transformers Rise of the Beasts Elena Arcee

Despite how talented Dominique Fishback is, the character of Elena is just too underwritten to make her that noteworthy. All of Elena’s characterizations, like her love of history, are only there to serve the story, and the character doesn’t grow or change much throughout the movie. She also gets roped into the adventure, despite not having any emotional attachment to the Autobots. Fishback manages to make the character likable enough, and she would be a welcome addition to a Rise of the Beasts sequel, but there isn’t much about the character that stands out.

Related: 9 Reasons Rise Of The Beasts Is The Lowest-Grossing Transformers Movie Yet

5 Cade Yeager

Transformers the Last Knight - Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yaeger

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Cade Yeager may have a little too much going on. He’s an inventor, an overprotective father, a high school dropout, the true «last knight», and an all-American guy. Cade is often manic and easily provoked, yet the movies still insist he’s a great father and an all-around good guy. Thankfully, Mark Wahlberg knows how to play these types of roles, and he manages to make Cade very watchable, even when his actions don’t make much sense.

4 Noah Diaz

Anthony Ramos in Transformers Rise of the Beasts

While Transformers: Rise of the Beasts may have lacked the spectacle and production of the Michael Bay entries, it did a much better job of centralizing the story around a relatable human protagonist. Noah, played by Anthony Ramos, is a likable main character who puts his family before anything else. With emotional connections to several Autobots, especially his car Mirage, Noah is the ideal human character to have in one of these movies. He’s likable and funny, and Ramos brings great pathos to the character, making him one of the stronger leads this franchise has had.

3 Simmons


The only other human character to appear in four out of seven Transformers movies, John Turturro’s Simmons had several roles in the films. First, a federal agent, then a deli owner, then a best-selling author, Simmons was always been the human comedic relive, and Turturro knows how to raise the material and make it funnier than it is on the page. While Simmons was never very likable or relatable, he matched the tone of the films perfectly and made the human scenes all the more entertaining.

2 Mikaela Banes

Megan Fox as Mikaela on the phone in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

The first Transformers movie made Megan Fox a household name, and for good reason. Mikaela Banes is by far the most interesting character in the first film, and she is a much more engaging lead than Sam ever was. With an emotional backstory with her criminal father, an interest in cars and motors, and a likable movie star, Mikaela has everything a human character needs to stand out in a Transformers movie. While her role in the sequel wasn’t as complex, Fox still brought enough humanity to the character to make her not a complete waste.

1 Charlie

Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie in Bumblebee.

Out of all the films in the Transformers franchise, Bumblebee does by far the best job of tying the robot action to the emotional arc of the human characters, and therefore Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie comes out the best. Charlie shares many of the same traits as Mikaela, but since she is the lead, she gets more time to shine and grow as a character. She also has the best relationship with the Autobots, as her connection to Bumblebee is heartfelt and well done. Steinfeld is one of the most charming actors working today, and she made her mark on the Transformers films giving them their best human character.

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