We finally know what’s next for the Transformers franchise. And it’s big.
Today, director Steven Caple Jr., producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and stars Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback did a virtual event announcing that the seventh Transformers film will be Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and yes, as rumoured, it’s an adaptation of Beast Wars. Caple Jr. is best known for Creed 2, while Ramos is best known his roles in Hamilton and In the Heights, and Fishback is best known for Judas and the Black Messiah and Project Power. Fishback plays Elena, an artefact researcher who works in a museum. Ramos is Noah, an ex-military father figure to his little brother who is skilled with electronics. Here’s the title treatment:
The film is set in 1994, which places it on the timeline between Bumblebee and the Michael Bay films, both of which are canon to Rise of the Beasts. In terms of size and scope though, the producer promised Rise of the Beasts will have a spectacle closer to that of the earlier Bay films, but hopefully with the heart of Bumblebee. The main locations are Brooklyn, New York, and Peru, where they are filming at Machu Picchu. Both Ramos and Fishback are from Brooklyn so they were excited the film was set there and, in very authentic New York fashion, both don’t have driver’s licenses and had to get them for this movie. (Ramos also grew up a Beast Wars fan and said he threw the script across the room when he realised that’s what this film was doing.)
But what about the robots? Well, there will be Autobots. There will be a few Decepticons. And it being inspired by Beast Wars, there will be Maximals, Predacons, and even Terrorcons. However the main robot character will, indeed be Optimus Prime, voiced by Peter Cullen, complete with a new hybrid look, inspired by both the Bay films and the character’s iconic “G1” style from the original Transformers cartoon.. Bumblebee will be back, though this time he’ll transform into an off-road Camaro. Mirage will join the Autobots, transforming into a Porsche 911, and Arcee will be joining the team as a Ducati. Nightbird is also a new addition, and she transforms into a Nissan GTR.
Megatron isn’t the main villain in this film though (and it’s unclear if he’s in it at all). The main villain is Scourge, the leader of the Terrorcons. He loves to kill Transformers and keeps their insignia as a memento. As for the Beast Wars characters, three were revealed: Airazor, who transforms into a peregrine falcon, Rhinox, a rhino, and Optimus Primal, the leader of the Maximals. He’s a giant gorilla, kind of the King Kong of Transformers. More are sure to be coming soon.
Transformers as a franchise has been around since the mid-‘80s when it rose to prominence as a toy line and soon, an animated series. Its first movie was animated, released in 1986, but things really got big in 2007 when director Michael Bay made the first live-action film. That film spawned five direct sequels, which grossed several billions of dollars combined. The quality quickly fell off though, and despite Paramount doing a soft pivot on the franchise with 2018’s far superior Bumblebee, audiences were put off by the franchise and didn’t show up. That’s when a slew of writers were hired to pitch and develop various ideas in the franchise and, after many rumours, false starts and more, this is most prominent development yet.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is now filming and will be released Jun 24, 2022.