Transformers fans better be ready to roll out because Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is set to be released on June 9, 2023. That date is for the US theaters, primarily. Other regions might have slight variations in their release dates.
Likewise, ticket prices vary and depend on the specific theater showing the film’s theatrical version.
It’s also worth noting that Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has already premiered on May 27, 2023, to a limited audience at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in Singapore.
The film was directed by Steven Caple, Jr. and produced by Michael Bay once more with the help of Paramount Studios and, of course, Hasbro. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts had a budget of about $200 million, and it wrapped up filming sometime around October 2021 with locations ranging from Los Angeles, Peru, Montreal, and New York City.
Is it a reboot? A sequel? Or a prequel?
It’s all of those, apparently.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is technically the seventh live-action Transformers film from Paramount and Hasbro, but where it stands in the franchise continuity is somewhat convoluted.
Rise of the Beasts will primarily take place in a past timeline for the franchise, specifically in 1994– that’s where the prequel part comes from. It’s set decades before the timeline in the first Transformers movie. At the same time, it will also disrupt the main Transformers’ continuity by being a sequel to Bumblebee– a character origin film that almost felt like a separate and standalone entity in the franchise.
As for the reboot part, this is where the fun comes in for a lot of die-hard Transformers fans; because Rise of the Beasts, as the title implies, will splice in the primordial Beast Wars timeline with the more futuristic Autobots vs. Decepticons timeline.
Beast Wars joins the fray
To understand all the hype about the Beast Wars merge, a little history lesson is in order. Back in 1996, Hasbro decided to shake up the Transformers formula by introducing Beast Wars: Transformers, a new TV show with a timeline several centuries into the future of the typical Autobots vs. Decepticon warfare.
Descendants of Optimus Prime and his Autobot crew found themselves stranded on a strange primordial alien planet in an unknown time period and location, and the only way they could adapt to the new and hostile environment was to copy the local life forms.
Hence, instead of transforming into killer vehicles, they could transform into animals, notably a gorilla, a cheetah, a rhinoceros, and a rat, while also assuming some of the characteristics of the said animal they copied. They now call themselves the Maximals.
Meanwhile, descendants of the Decepticons, called Predacons, also crash-landed on the same planet but in a region filled with dinosaurs, insects, and other menacing predators. So they assumed the form of predatory creatures, like a T-Rex.
Back in the 1990s, this revitalized the Transformers franchise. Now that they’re about to join the main Transformers timeline, it’s only natural for kids who grew up on Beast Wars: Transformers to feel once again excited about the franchise moving forward.
However, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will notably change the origin story of the Maximals and Predacons to fit the narrative of the film better. Speaking of which…
The story so far
Since it’s a prequel and the film’s story will predate the six other movies that came before it (minus Bumblebee), you can consider this a fresh take on the Transformers story.
As for how the mainline transformers will merge with the Beast Wars transformers, it seems to have something to do with Unicron, one of the earliest entities in the universe who were tasked with exploring it. Somewhere down the line, Unicron became known to be a planet-eater, and in eventually, in the Transformers: Rise of the Beasts time period, he’s out to consume Earth.
So it’s up to Optimus Prime’s Autobots once more to save the planet with the aid of Optimus Primal’s Maximals, who apparently have been there in hiding for thousands of years.
Sure enough, Decepticons, as well as the Predacons and the Terrorcons, are also there to stop the two Optimus leaders and their respective groups.
Oh, and of course, there’s a human protagonist as well who serves as an ace in the hole for the Autobots and Maximals, like Sam Witwicky in the first film, Noah, played by Anthony Ramos, was somehow roped into the hidden war between the transformer factions in a visceral and cinematic all-out war.
Who are the important characters?
Based on the trailers and the numerous promotional materials, Optimus Prime of the Autobots is still the main hero of the story, and Peter Cullen will reprise his role as the most definitive Optimus Prime actor. However, there’s room for another main hero in the form of Optimus Primal of the Maximals, played by Ron Perlman.
Here’s who you can expect to appear for each of the numerous warring factions in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts:
Generation 1 good guys are here though their roster looks a bit different compared to what appeared in the first Transformers movie.
- Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen)
- Bumblebee (he’s mute again in this one)
- Mirage (Pete Davidson)
- Arcee (Liza Koshy)
- Wheeljack (Cristo Fernandez)
- Stratosphere (John Dimaggio)
Good guys from the Beast Wars timeline got merged into the main G1 timeline though they look mostly intact. Apparently, they’ve been hiding on Earth for a long time.
- Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman)
- Airazor (Michelle Yeoh, most recent Best Actress winner for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once)
- Rhinox (David Sobolov)
- Cheetor (Tongayi Chrisa)
These are a mix of Decepticons, Terrorcons, and the Predacons.
- Scourge (Peter Dinklage)
- Unicron (Colman Domingo)
You’ll notice that the Predacon list is rather short, but hopefully, the film is just reserving them as a surprise. The bigger question is, where is Rattrap from the Maximals?
He’s one of the most prominent characters in Beast Wars, and it looks like they might not even include him though there’s always hope that he’s also a secret surprise in the film. Or not, and they probably thought animating a giant rat that transforms into a robot looked too ridiculous, even for CGI.
Will Beast Wars get its own film?
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, at its core, is still a movie about the Autobots and the Decepticon War. The Maximals and the Predacons are just joining in for added intensity, and even the Predacon member list is rather vague.
Whether Rise of the Beasts will give way to future Beast Wars projects could depend entirely on the reception of the film or its box office success. After all, they still have their own story potential since their original setting is in a more primordial or prehistoric environment.