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WE'VE NOTED BEFORE that Prime Video's Invincible may just have the greatest voice cast in the history of animated television. We're talking just stacked top top bottom with characters who appear throughout the series (Steven Yeun, JK Simmons, Sandra Oh, Walton Goggins, etc.), recurring characters (Seth Rogen, Mahershala Ali, Ben Schwartz), and seemingly one-off fun (Jonathan Groff).
But one thing in common with most of these notable stars is the fact that they're also notable for their appearances elsewhere in live-action. Invincible Season 2, Episode 3, titled "This Missive, This Machination," changed that, bringing in an extremely recognizable voice—and one that people almost certainly will recognize just from the voice.
The episode follows three main storylines; one is Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) going off to college for the first time at Upstate University, and another follows his mom, Debbie (Sandra Oh), as she attends the superhero spouse support group that Olga (Red Rush's widow) previously pointed her toward.
But the one we're focusing on for the purposes of this story is a mid-episode diversion that tells the origin and present story of Allen the Alien (Rogen), a friendly Unopan from the Planet Unopa who we find out was essentially bred from birth to defeat the Viltrumites, who we know have essentially launched a universe-wide plan for conquering.
We'd previously met Allen as someone who, we learned, travels from planet to planet looking for the strongest universal fighters, essentially. He was never supposed to come to Earth (he was actually looking for "Urath"), but it led him to find Mark—who he tells the Coalition of Planets in "This Missive, This Machination" could be the key to defeating both Omni-Man and also all of Viltrum.
As it turns out, the leader of the Coalition of Planets—a majestic dude named Thaedus—plays a rather large role in the episode, and has a voice that fans of genre television and films will almost certainly immediately recognize.
Peter Cullen—the voice of Optimus Prime—voices Thaedus in Incincible Season 2, Episode 3
If Thaedus' voice sounds familiar, then you've likely seen some form of Transformers media—whether it be the '80s animated series or any of the live-action films—in the last several decades. Peter Cullen provided Thaedus with his voice, giving a character who's supposed to come with quite a bit of gravitas an immediately powerful and distinguished voice and presence.
Cullen has provided the voice of Optimus Prime in 1984's The Transformers animated series, and has been providing it ever-since, becoming synonomous with the character across his many appearances in animation, video games, and even live action films. In fact, "Optimus Prime" was trending on social media following Cullen's appearance on Invincible—just because his voice for that character has become so iconic and recognizable.
— INVINCIBLE (@InvincibleHQ) November 16, 2023
Back to Invincible for just a moment; Thaedus, it turns out, has a bit more going on than just what viewers first see on the surface level. There are some twists at play here. He will certainly continue to play into the future of Invincible (and Allen the Alien's ongoing story, if he has any more to be revealed)—and we expect to hear that voice again in the future.
Cullen, a Canadian-born actor who is now 82 years old, has been consistently working as a voice actor since the '70s and was even nominated for an Emmy for his work on Transformers Prime in 2011. He's also provided the voice of characters like Eeyore the Donkey in Winnie the Pooh. He also got some comedy experience in live-action, appearing (alongside a young Steve Martin!) in The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour between 1971 and 1974.
But without question, Cullen is best known for that unmistakable voice that we immediately associated with Transformers and Optimus Prime—and now, in the context of Invincible, will associate with Thaedus.
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