By Kieran Burt
The Autobots will be rolling out in 2023 in the newest Transformers film, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Here is everything that’s known about the film so far.
Announced by Paramount at a virtual showcase event in June 2021, the upcoming seventh film in the franchise will be adapting the Beast Wars storyline from the animated series that debuted in the 1990s.
Directed by Steven Caple Jr., the film will be a sequel to Travis Knight’s Bumblebee film in 2018. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura will be producing. Di Bonaventure described the film as a “spectacle story … in the tradition of the Michael Bay films. This will be a departure from Bumblebee, which Di Bonaventure said was deliberately a smaller and “more intimate” movie.
Michael Bay is also attached as a producer. The film will be the first in a new trilogy.
The film will take place in 1994, seven years after the events of Bumblebee. New York City will be a prominent location in the film, as well as shooting in Peru and at the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.
Two new human characters will be introduced, Elena (played by Dominique Fishback), an artefact researcher who keeps having her credit stolen by her boss and Noah (Anthony Ramos), an ex-military electronics expert living with his family in Brooklyn.
Though Bumblebee will be present in the film, it will mainly focus on Optimus Prime (once again voiced by Peter Cullen), serving as an origin story for the first time he came to Earth and becomes a leader.
“I want to discover more about Optimus Prime, get underneath the surface — get underneath the metal, if you would — and explore who he is and his experience on Earth,” said Caple.
This film will pull from the aforementioned Beast Wars series, which sees Transformers turn into animals instead of vehicles. Caple explains that these Transformers are “prehistoric animals that travelled through time and space, and we find them on Earth”.
They will include Airazor (who transforms into a falcon), Rhinox (who transforms into a rhino, and Optimus Primal (a different character to Optimus Prime, and one who transforms into a gorilla) and who is the leader of a team known as the Maximals.
Other Transformers that will appear in the film are Mirage (who transforms into a Porsche 911) and Arcee (who transforms into a Pink Convertible). Both have appeared in previous Transformers films, with Acree appearing in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Mirage appearing in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Pete Davidson will voice Mirage, taking over from the late Francesco Quinn. Michelle Yeoh will provide the voice for Airazor.
The film will also introduce two antagonistic factions, the Predacons and the Terrorcons. The Predacons are descended from the Decepticons, actively taking animalistic forms consisting of predatory animals such as scorpions and dinosaurs.
While the Predacons will be the primary antagonists for the film, its primary villain will be from the Terrorcons. Scourge will be the main evil. The Terrorcons are also a subgroup of Decepticons, and are the Transformers version of zombies. But this iteration of the group is relatively new in the Transformers lore, so their first interpretation of combiners might be utilised instead.
Di Bonaventura explained that the decision to pivot the franchise to “Beast Wars” was “to give the audience a lot of ‘new.’”
“We had somewhat exhausted, I would say, the battle between Decepticons and Autobots,” he said. “You’re going to see villains you’ve never seen before, you’re going to see Autobots you’ve never seen before, you’re going to see a lot of elements that we’ve never done before.”
Caple showed off some concept art of the characters, suggesting a sleeker and more elegant design, departing from the maximalist approach to the Transformer designs in the Michael Bay movies.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will release on June 9, 2023.