Normally it's the Matrix of Leadership that determines which Transformer takes up the Prime mantle, but this year Hasbro's doing things a little differently. Fans are voting to see which Autobot, Decepticon or unknown evil gets the next Optimus-style upgrade.
Image from G1 episode "Dark Awakening" courtesy of the Transformers Wiki
Every Prime has to start somewhere. Optimus Prime was once Orion Pax, a lowly dock worker, archivist or possibly fry cook, depending on the Transformers continuity you follow. 80s kids got to witness the passing of the Matrix of Leadership from Optimus Prime to Hot Rod, who arose to become Rodimus Prime and light our darkest hour.
Now Hasbro is letting the fans decide which bot gets the Matrix of Leadership and new look and name that come with it. The Power of the Primes fan vote is happening in two stages. First fans vote for the leaders of three different factions: honour, chaos and order.
The Honour group (Ultra Magnus, Arcee, Hound) wants to carry on Optimus Prime's legacy. Chaos (Thunderwing, Optimus Primal and an Unknown Evil) are warlords bent on planetary domination. Order (Megatron, Shockwave and Star Saber) wish to leave Autobot and Decepticon distinctions behind and create a new world order.
So first fans pick a leader for the three factions, which will be revealed on January 27. Then they will vote for which of the three faction leaders gets the Matrix between February 1 through 4. The winner will be revealed later that month at the annual New York City Toy Fair.
The Chosen Prime (hee) will play a pivotal role in the upcoming Transformers Generations"Power of the Primes" storyline, the third part of the Prime Trilogy which began with Combiner Wars and continued with Titans Return.
So, I'm guessing the three leaders will be Arcee, Optimus Primal and Megatron, with Megatron taking the whole thing, as Decepticon fans are a loud and boisterous bunch. Who's your pick?