In 1996, “Beast Wars: Transformers” debuted in syndication as a tie-in to the new Transformer’s toy line. Across three seasons (and the two season follow-up of “Beast Machines) audiences were treated to the battles between the Maximals and Predacons. Led by Optimus Primal who could transform into a gorilla and Megatron who could transform into a T-rex respectively, the series became known as one of the best written animated programs of its era. Now these successors to the Autobots and Maximals are coming to the big screen in “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.”
The year is 1994 and bad things are happening. It’s not 30 seconds into the trailer when we find out that Unicron is coming. That’s a name that should strike fear into the hearts of Transformers fans given that he’s essentially that universe’s equivalent of Marvel’s Galactus. Need a planet devoured? Unicron’s your man. And despite living in secret for hundreds of years on Earth, the Maximals led by Optimus Primal, know this could mean the end of everything.
Primal tells his vehicular counterpart that his help is needed against the looming threat of the Predacons and Terrorcons but Prime believes that this is not his fight to engage in. At some point in time he must get over this though, because he Bumblebee, Mirage, and others are seen teaming up with Primal, Cheetor, Rhinox, and Airazor to take down Unicron and his Terrorcon minions.
There looks to be a good mix of vehicular and robotic/animal combat as the Autobots and Maximals use their respective skills and abilities in combat. Naturally there are human allies too who get roped into things as they also have a vested interest in ensuring their world isn’t devoured by Unicron. Given the film’s placement in 1994, this also puts it after the events of “Bumblebee” (which this is mostly a direct sequel to) and before the events of the 2007 “Transformers” movie. So canonically, that should make Megatron still frozen in ice and the rest of the Decepticons less of an issue to deal with.
Fans of the animated “Beast Wars” series may be bummed to find out that as of now, the only confirmed Predacon in the story is Scorponok, but maybe we can hold out hope for Tarantulus or Waspinator. Either way, Unicron is enough of a threat with the Terrorcons to give the Autobots and Maximals a run for their money. The film is set to debut in theaters on June 9th. In the meantime you can check out the trailer. Oh, and that’s not all, because there’s more Transformers news about another film project happening!
“Autobots, transform and roll out… into the recording booth!” Optimus Prime didn’t exactly utter those words, but that’s what’s happening over at Paramount. Earlier this month we made note of a new animated “Transfomers” movie trilogy that will be hitting theaters starting next year. If there’s one thing that the series has been known for in any of its adaptations, its the strong voice work behind the characters. Now, courtesy of a Paramount presentation at CinemaCon this week, we know who the key voices behind the bots will be.
In the upcoming “Transformers One,” Taking up the two big roles of Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively are Chris Hemsworth and Brian Tyree Henry. Both actors have extensive experience in franchise films, specifically the Marvel universe, with Hemsworth having made a name for himself as Thor, and Henry featuring in “Eternals” and as the voice of Jefferson Davis in the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” films. They have big shoes to fill considering the legacy left behind by Peter Cullen‘s Optimus and Frank Welker‘s Megatron. Though at least Cullen can still be heard as the Autobot leader in the upcoming “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.”
This animated trilogy is set to take place before most of the “Transformers” media we’ve seen, focusing on a younger Optimus and Megatron and how they came to become bitter enemies. Being this early in their character journeys naturally leads to a different cast of characters than we’d normally be accustomed to. That said, Bumblebee is still a prominent figure, this time played by Keegan-Michael Key.
As for the rest of the cast, the figures may be a bit more obscure unless you’re heavily vested in the original “Transformers” cartoon and its subsequent comics, otherwise known as the “G1” canon. They consist of Scarlett Johansson as Elita, Laurence Fishburne as Alpha Trion, and Jon Hamm as Sentinel Prime. As we previously reported, this movie is set on the Transformer home planet of Cybertron, before their trip to Earth and subsequent battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. So if you’re sitting around wondering who the hell Alpha Trion is, then that’s a normal reaction to have.
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” hits theaters June 9th 2023. “Transformers One” is scheduled to release July 19th, 2024.