Transformers: Rise of the Beasts – Everything We Know from the Production Kick-Off Event

Paramount Pictures held the Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Production Kick-Off Event today, and it had a lot of goodies for fans of Transformers. This includes the movie’s title, setting, and revealed characters. The biggest news of all is that the film will be bringing in the Maximals and Predacons from Beast Wars, a ’90s Transformers animated series. During the event, Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Director Steven Caple Jr (Creed 2) talked about what fans can expect while bringing in the film’s stars Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback.


Returning to the action and spectacle that first captured moviegoers around the world 14 years ago with the original Transformers, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure and introduce the Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, the film arrives in theatres June 24, 2022.

The Setting

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will be set in 1994 Brooklyn, New York. Other locations will include Machu Picchu in Peru. With a ’90s New York setting, Caple Jr. mentions that there will be hip-hop culture.

“We originally had set it in 1994,” di Bonaventura said during the production kick-off event. “And we were thrilled when Steven read the script and said, ‘I love that time period.’ We were thinking about it as a progression. Bumblebee was in 1987. How do we move it forward and also not run into the timeline of the Bay films? So we had picked 94 in part because it has great music during that time period, and it just felt like that natural extension.”

“This place that you’re looking at right now was Machu Picchu, which is very majestic,” Caple Jr said to the press during the event. “Incan ruins, spiritual people. I definitely felt something up there. And very few films have actually shot not only in Peru but also Machu Picchu, where they’re opening the doors for us.”

The Autobots

The filmmakers announced Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Arcee, and Mirage on Team Autobots. Optimus Prime will have his G1 look with some tweaks.

“We are going G1 with Optimus Prime,” Caple Jr said. “And I made him flexible, because I know he was a bit boxy. So I’ve definitely taken care to make sure he can move and still fight and do all the cool stuff we need him to do.”

Bumblebee won’t be a classic Volkswagen Beetle this time around. He’ll be a classic Camaro once again like in Bay’s first Transformers film. He’s getting added pieces for off-roading since the film will have new terrain.

“We’re traveling to new terrain,” the director said. “So there’s some added pieces to them. So we call this our off-road Bumblebee, a Bumblebee special. And so what’s cool about this film is that we’ll see pieces of their vehicles more, if you will, in robot form.”

Mirage will be in the film as a Porsche 911.

“Slightly different than original,” Caple Jr. said. “It was a Formula One, but he still holds that speed. He’s fast, he’s flashy, and he still holds up to the name Mirage, which you’ll see in the film. As a character, I would say he’s just a rebel in a group. He’s more of an outlaw.”

Arcee will be a Ducati 916, and her design will be an homage to Generation 1, especially the head and the color scheme. There will be pink and white and red.

“I saw a glimpse of her, just a glimpse – no shade to Lorenzo – in Bumblebee,” the director said. “And I just wanted to bring her back. I want to give her more. I want to give her a voice. I want to give her a fight. She’s super tough and fierce, she’s very much a loyal soldier to Prime, the voice of reason at times, and she’s a motorcycle. She can do really cool things.”

The Terrorcons

The Terrorcons will be the new threat in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Leading the charge will be Scourge, a villain that appeared in the classic animated Transformers movie. In the upcoming film, he has more of an industrial look, smokey pipes coming out of his shoulders, and a giant claw serving as his left hand complete with electricity.

“He’s a prideful dude,” Caple Jr. said of Scourge. “He loves to collect Autobots and Maximals and use them as his trophy. Let’s just say that’s how ruthless he is.”

Serving as Scourge’s right-hand robot is Nightbird, a deadly female ninja robot. She can transform into a GTR, and her color scheme is metallic grey and purple.

“She still has those ninja traits though, if you remember from the cartoon,” he added. “Yeah, she was the actual ninja and so I still kept that alive with her.”


The Maximals were the heroes in Beast Wars, and they will be coming to the live-action movie. Leading the charge is Optimus Primal, a robot who can transform into a gorilla.

“It makes Prime have a character that he can actually have a philosophical conversation on sort of the same plane,” said di Bonaventura. “They both have dealt with leadership; they both deal with what is it like to be on Earth, etc. So there’s a lot of commonality in what they’re dealing with. But there’s a difference in perspective that they share with one another.”

Update: Transformers artist Furio Tedeschi shared an unused concept art titled Transformers Primal for Transformers: The Last Knight. This art is pretty close to the WIP image shown during the kick-off event. The only difference is that Optimus Primal has more fur and is more rustic looking.

Airazor is a robot that can transform into a bird, and she is the heart of the Maximals.

“She’s very nurturing, but I definitely say don’t test her,” said Caple Jr. “Underneath her regal design, there’s still a beast. She’s very rustic and design, as you can tell. She has this aged texture to her. And we’re basically playing with how long the Maximals have been traveling, and how long they’ve been here on Earth. This older design is a little bit more fluid and different than the the Autobots or any other robot that you’re actually seeing, where you can see the animal style and design but yet underneath that, you’ll see the mechanics if you pay close attention to it.”

And then we have Rhinox, the rhino robot.

“Rhinox, the muscle of the group,” the director said as he looks at the WIP art. “He was also the the brains of the Maximals. He has a rustic design too. And again, playing with more of this organic and sort of natural material to make them all sort of feel alive. That was a big thing for me. I wanted these animals to feel like they’re breathing. And you can see him pushing out some air right now. So you’ll see a lot of mechanics move. That’s why you can see the slit and things like that. I think it allows us a whole new sort of category and area to play with when we start to really design them and put them into a live-action movie.”

The Humans

Anthony Ramos will be playing Noah and Dominique Fishback as Elena. Both actors are from Brooklyn, so it’s very fitting for their roles and this setting.

“He lives with his family, lives with his mother and his brother, and he’s like the father figure to his brother,” Ramos said of his character. “He’s all about taking care of home, and he’s all about taking care of his family and the people he loves. He’s ex-military. He came back home and is trying to find his way if you will.”

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