By: Olivia Ong
Paramount recently announced the next installment of the Transformers franchise. The upcoming movie is entitled Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and will be taking up a new direction under Steven Caple Jr.
“There are different breeds of Transformers,” said Caple as he describes the premise. “In our particular film, they are prehistoric animals who travel through time and space, and we find them here on Earth,” he added.
Rise of the Beasts introduces the audience to new breeds and races of Transformers as opposed to simply focusing on the established feud between Autobots and Decepticons.
“We had somewhat exhausted the battle between the Decepticons and the Autobots,” said Di Bonaventura, producer of the Transformers series, as he referred to the existing movies. They had to ask themselves, “How do we find a new set of villains and a new set of priorities?”
Di Bonaventura says that there will also be more Autobots and Decepticons that have never been seen before in the previous movies. The producer draws from the original Beast Wars: Transformers animated series by integrating the Maximals and the Predacons, as well as the concept of robots that transform into animals rather than different vehicles. New characters will be introduced such as Airazor who transforms into a falcon, Rhinox who can become a rhinoceros, and Optimus Primal who changes into a gorilla.
But even with the focus primarily on this animalistic breed of Transformers, Caple reveals that Optimus Prime will remain as the main protagonist with Peter Cullen returning to voice the iconic character. He will be joined by Optimus Primal, the leader of the Maximals, along with classic Transformers characters such as Bumblebee, Mirage and Arcee.
The film can be seen as an origin story for Optimus Prime character as it shows his first arrival on Earth and his journey to becoming 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.
The main antagonist was also revealed as Scourge, the leader of the Terrorcons known to combine parts of slain Transformers onto his body.
“He loves to collect Autobots and Maximals and use them as his trophy,” said Caple
The film welcomes further change by introducing new human characters. In the Heights star Anthony Ramos plays a military veteran electronics expert named Noah who lives in Brooklyn with his family.
“The one thing I love about Noah is his tenacity and his heart and his will to never quit in spite of all the crazy things life is throwing at him,” said the actor. “It’s amazing to see his journey when we then venture out into the world when the humans meet bots and things start to happen and shit gets real.”
Project Power’s Dominique Fishback joins Ramos as “an intelligent artifact researcher” named Elena.
“She works at the museum and she’s trying to get a leg up in life, but her boss keeps taking credit for the work that she’s done,” Fishback elaborated.
The film will take place in the ‘90s as a prequel to the movies directed by Michael Bay and will be shot in multiple locations such as Brooklyn and Peru. Caple draws inspiration from the 90s hip-hop scene in order to properly place the setting.
“As soon as the movie starts, you’re going to feel the hip hop culture, you’re going to feel Brooklyn,” said Caple Jr. “We’re trying to recreate that era. We’re going to have a great soundtrack.”
All these changes made to the next installment of the well-known franchise marks a new direction that expands on the previous movies by introducing new characters and focuses.
The film is set to be released on June 24, 2022.