It could be argued that there was a version of Hot Rod shown in a Transformers live-action movie already, but thanks to the issue of needing permission to use the character, the Autobot that was used for The Last Knight was kind of a goofball, even when compared to other versions of this character that have come and gone over the years. The character of Rodimus Prime, the form that Hot Rod took in the animated movie when he accepted the matrix of leadership from the dying Optimus Prime, made it possible for Hot Rod, who was thought of as an irresponsible punk by a lot of the other, older Autobots. As a leader, it’s been seen that he hasn’t always been the best, but the fact is that despite being kind of an unreliable leader at times, Hot Rod is still a valuable addition to the Autobots since he’s loyal and is there when he’s needed. A lot of fans likely remember him from the animated movie when he was voiced by Judd Nelson, but over the years he’s been largely underappreciated and unused for one reason or another, though he’s stuck around.
Seeing him in an upcoming Transformers movie would be nice since it would indicate that he’s still a valued character and that perhaps someone would finally allow Hot Rod to live up to his potential since he is an interesting character that could help to advance the Transformers in a way, as could Arcee, Kup, a few others that have rarely been mentioned anywhere the anyone but fans would look. It’s even easy to argue that if Unicron does make an appearance at some point that bringing in Hot Rod would be a good idea since it might make for one awesome story. Now that Galvatron is out and about it would even be a fun story to think about since he and Hot Rod have a history that dates back to the animated movie.
It’s a little disconcerting to see characters like Hot Rod being kept under wraps so often, but he’s been a part of the comics and a few animated shows over the years, but nothing that anyone is really going to notice as they do when the movies come out. As an Autobot, Hot Rod is still pretty cool, and Rodimus Prime, despite being a step up, still isn’t that different. In a way, it does feel as though Rodimus Prime might be a nice addition since it could be that Optimus might finally die for good one of these days, though it’s easy to think that a lot of fans wouldn’t want to see such a thing. The leader of the Autobots has died a few times over the years, to be honest, and there’s always been a way to bring him back since despite his penchant for giving speeches in the middle of a battle or anytime the mood strikes him, people tend to like the character and have even come to like Bumblebee in the same way. It does feel that Rodimus Prime would need to stand out in some way to really be accepted, but at the same time, it’s likely that if a great enough story was written for him that it would work without too much trouble.
The idea of Unicron appearing in the Transformers universe has already been teased, and the character of Quintessa even hinted at it in the last movie, so perhaps something could be built from that unless of course, everything is going to be redone and retconned in a manner that will do away with everything that’s come before. Between the filmmakers and the fans, it’s been hard to pin down a definitive voice for this lien of movies and it’s been even harder to accept that while the Decepticons tend to roam in packs and even large groups, the Autobots are usually outnumbered and outgunned quite a bit, no matter that they often have the more battle-hardened and impressive warriors. It doesn’t help in the movies however when they’re betrayed by their own, as they were in Dark of the Moon when Sentinel Prime turned on them. In some ways, the Autobots are a great example of why the forces of good are bound to lose more often than not since they’re not as willing to go in for the kill when they have the chance. It’s been noted that they will go for the kill when they have no other choice and when they’re outnumbered, but the fact that it gets to this point when they know what the Decepticons will do is kind of tough to accept.
Rodimus Prime is kind of the same way, but he’s been seen as a little more impetuous than a lot of the other Autobots as well, and might actually react a bit quicker when it comes time to take a life. That would certainly give him a little bit of an edge as a leader and a character.