It’s alright to feel confused at the sight of shapeshifting vehicles riding robot dinosaurs kidnapping Megan Fox’s nerdy boyfriend. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking to immerse yourself in the mechanical mayhem, we’ve got you covered. We present the ‘Transformers chronological order’ to help you understand the timeline.
If you’re a stickler for continuity and want to experience the Transformers universe as it unfolds within the timeline, then watching the movies in chronological order is the way to go. So, without further ado, here’s your roadmap to an epic Transformers binge-watching session, starting with the origin story in Bumblebee and culminating with the most recent installment.
Note that for this Transformers chronological order, we’re omitting the cartoons. We’re sticking to live-action for now since they follow their own continuity.
Chronologically, the Transformers saga began in the 1980s with Bumblebee. This prequel introduces us to a younger version of the beloved Bumblebee, who sought refuge on Earth after a devastating war on his home planet, Cybertron.
Bumblebee’s mission is to establish a base for the Autobots and protect Earth from the nefarious Decepticons.
However, upon his arrival, Bumblebee is severely damaged and loses his ability to speak, taking the form of a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. That explains why he’s a mute in the first Michael Bay Transformers movie.
The movie follows the story of Charlie Watson, a teenager dealing with the loss of her father, who discovers Bumblebee in a junkyard. As their bond grows, Charlie learns about Bumblebee’s mission and the imminent danger it poses.
It’s essentially E.T. but with a giant robot that can level the whole town.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts takes its odd place as the sequel to Bumblebee and a prequel to the 2007 film Transformers.
Set in 1994, this installment explores the adventures of two archaeologists from Brooklyn, who unwittingly become entangled in an ancient conflict involving three primordial factions of the Transformers franchise: the Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons.
Inspired by the popular Beast Wars animated series, this movie wedges a fresh perspective to the franchise by featuring Transformers that take on animal forms. Don’t expect a heavy focus on the Maximals, however, the film is mostly a fan service and a typical Optimus Prime-timeline story spliced with the Maximals.
The original live-action Transformers film, directed by Michael Bay, takes the third place in the Transformers chronological order. It’s also one of the most significant milestones for the franchise since it’s Transformers‘ first outing in live-action.
Released in 2007, this movie is where the Autobots and Decepticons’ war arrives on Earth. The story centers on the power struggle for the AllSpark, a powerful artifact capable of granting life to mechanical objects.
The Decepticons, led by the iconic and notorious Megatron, also covet the AllSpark to conquer the universe. The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons reaches Earth when the AllSpark crash-lands on the planet.
This film introduces Sam Witwicky, the main protagonist, who gets entangled in the conflict after purchasing a used car that turns out to be the Autobot scout Bumblebee in disguise.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen serves as the sequel to the first live-action Transformers film.
The story is set two years after the events of the original and this movie follows the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, as they form an alliance with humans to combat Decepticon threats– again.
A new danger arises when Megatron is somehow resurrected and forms an alliance with the ancient and formidable Fallen.
The Fallen seeks to harness the power of the Sun Harvester, a hidden device with the potential to cause havoc. Sam Witwicky is back here again, now preparing for college, experiencing mysterious visions that lead to a race against time to uncover the secrets of the Transformers and their connection to Earth’s history.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Continuing the story, Transformers: Dark of the Moon takes place several years after the events of Revenge of the Fallen.
The Autobots, still led by Optimus Prime, continue to work alongside humans to protect Earth from Decepticon threats, which now has a new leader.
This time, the movie reveals a shocking revelation about the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, which had a hidden purpose: to investigate a Cybertronian spacecraft that crashed on the moon. Quite the nod to conspiracy theorists.
This would mark the end of the Sam Witwicky trilogy for the live-action Transformers movies.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
You can consider this one as some kind of soft reboot for the live-action timeline. Because who the hell could have anticipated a changeling truck riding a mecha-T-Rex mount while wielding a sci-fi Excalibur to save the day?
Anyway, Transformers: Age of Extinction is set a only few years after the events of Dark of the Moon.
The Autobots now find themselves hunted down by a CIA black ops unit called Cemetery Wind, led by Harold Attinger. Attinger believes that all Transformers, including the Autobots who had previously allied with humans, now pose a threat and must be eliminated.
Replacing Sam Witwicky is an older and more seasoned main man named Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor. Cade discovers a rundown semi-truck in an abandoned theater, which happens to be Optimus Prime.
The film also introduces the ancient Transformer Galvatron, Magatron’s reincarnation, along with the Dinobots, massive Transformers that take on the form of robotic dinosaurs. They practically just threw several timelines into a blender, but hey, more Transformers, more fun.
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
They really doubled down on the Excalibur and Arthurian elements for this sequel. The final installment in the chronological order would be Transformers: The Last Knight— for now.
The world has changed much and now Transformers are deemed illegal on Earth. Consequently, a war rages between humans and the Transformers.
The Transformers Reaction Force heels humanity as the primary spearhead against the Transformers.
Optimus Prime is still present here and he must now embark on a journey to find his creator and find a way to reclaim their home so that they don’t have to squat on Earth. Cade is back here as Optimus’ only hope for a human connection and ally.