To much excitement, it was reported this week that there are now two separate live action Transformers films supposedly in the works at Paramount. One of them will reportedly be a follow up to Bumblebee in that same universe, but the other is being speculated as a Beast Wars movie, which definitely caught the eye of many fans who’re already feverishly speculating what a big screen recreation of the classic series could look like.
AND LET IT BE CALLED… https://t.co/YqyiqdGJ7v
— Sixo (@SixoTF) January 28, 2020
The Maximals and Predacons first graced screens between 1996 and 1999, and the show and toyline were responsible for kickstarting the Transformers franchise at a time when it was all but considered DOA. Whilst it was relatively controversial at the time amongst some old-school G1 fans, it’s latterly been regarded as one of the most coveted bits of Transformers fiction, so it’s no surprise that a potential live action film would garner so much excitement.
But considering that we know absolutely nothing about the project thus far, today we’re taking the time to speculate how it might look by the time it makes it to screens and counting down 8 questions we have.
Fair warning, there will be some major spoilers for the original Beast Wars show, in case you’ve never seen it!
#8: Will it feature the classic Beast Wars characters?
The Beast Wars cartoon paved the way for a lot of future Transformers shows in many ways, not least of which was focusing on a small ensemble cast of characters. Whereas the G1 series featured huge numbers of robots that may come and go at random, Beast Wars kept things relatively tight by having small groups of Maximals and Predacons stuck together on what eventually turns out to be prehistoric Earth. Many of these characters have become much loved by fans, most notably examples like Dinobot, Rhinox or Megatron, and it’s hard to imagine the idea of a big budget film striking a chord with nostalgic audiences unless it were to recreate them somehow. But how closely will it stick to the source? The first 5 Transformers films all featured incredibly liberal translations of classic G1 heroes, often with little to no resemblance to their original personas or appearances beyond just name usage, although Bumblebee definitely showed a shift in gear in that respect. Time will tell, but we’d be amazed if we don’t at least get a gorilla named Optimus Primal, let’s put it that way!
#7: How closely will it resemble the BW cartoon?
Scan c/o BWTF.com
The Beast Wars cartoon is kinda definitive in terms of how people think back on that particular part of the franchise, but it isn’t the only source of canonical material. As well as the show there was an initial comic made that was included with the toys and featured quite a different take on how the Maximals and Predacons came to be (with “genetically-altered Predacon robots” and the like). Later there were also other attempts such as Beast Wars: The Gathering, an IDW comic series from 2006 which also brought its own ideas. Equally it might be that a big screen story would rip up a lot of what we’ve seen before and craft its own ethos, merely taking some thematic inspiration from the source material much in the same way that the 2007 film did from Generation 1.
#6: Will it be set in the past or the future? Or both?
Even casual fans will likely know that the Beast Wars cartoon featured a fair dose of time travel antics, mostly being set on prehistoric Earth but also tying in extraordinarily closely to the G1 storyline in a way that is astonishing even by today’s standards. It meant that viewers got a good idea of what had happened in the years after the original series ended, but were also treated to a nostalgic look back at events that ran concurrently with that show’s story. If a live action film follows suit then it will be interesting to see if we get a far-flung future Cybertron shown on screen, before somehow zooming back to the past for a spot of action on prehistoric Earth. Equally maybe they will abandon all of that and come up with a completely new idea!
#5: Will it be in continuity with the other TF films?
On a similar train of thought, could the Beast Wars movie tie into some of the previous live action films somehow, even if only loosely? It might be that they take some inspiration from the original cartoon and show that the new storyline intertwines with established events from previous movies, or it might just be that they try and vaguely connect the dots whilst leaving the details up to your imagination, as they kinda did with Bumblebee. Similarly this could be a whole new adventure that abandons established canon entirely, but something tells us that might be a little confusing for more general audiences who could be looking for some sense of a nod towards the films they’ve already seen. It’s not like continuity has ever been a huge point of focus for the live action franchise so far, but we’d be surprised if this entry tears up the rulebook entirely.
#4: Will there be human characters?
Human characters have often been a bit hit or miss in Transformers fiction, and one complaint that is made time and again about some of the live action films so far is too much focus in that regard at the cost of time with the robots. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, it will be interesting to see how humans could be woven into a live action take on the Beast Wars storyline, especially if they do decide to veer even relatively close to the original canon. How would they explain a human character being around for adventures on prehistoric Earth, unless they’re somehow transported back themselves? On the flipside it’s hard to imagine Paramount greenlighting a film without some flesh-&-blood talent to be the face of their new entry into the franchise. I guess time will tell to what extent this storyline is conceived with or without humans at the forefront of it.
#3: Will we see stuff like Transmetals and Fuzors?
We love Beast Wars, but when you really look back at it with a critical eye a lot of the concepts involved were kinda out there. Transmetals attempted to turn the idea of robots inside an animal “shell” inside out, but having more organic robot modes countered by technological beast forms that had vehicular components. Weird. Then there was Fuzors, which were a mash-up of two different beast forms in on unholy cocktail of hideousness. Don’t get us wrong, it was all really cool, but how would this kinda stuff translate to the big screen for more general audiences? It’d be fun to see, but our money would be that they probably won’t even go there, at least not for an initial film.
#2: Who will direct it?
Also this week the internet was ever-so-briefly chattering away after an online parody account shared “news” that Paramount were considering Michael Bay returning to the director’s chair for a future Transformers instalment. By all accounts we’re pretty confident that’s not happening, but either way we’d be shocked if it isn’t some new talent that takes the helm of a potential Beast Wars spin-off. Bumblebee may have not raked in quite the level of box office gross that the main entries in the franchise have, but it was still a critical darling for the studio who will hopefully feel confident enough to give this to someone who has the right skills to bring it to life with love. We don’t have any particular names to suggest, but in many ways our hope might be for someone young enough to have been a fan of the original BW series somehow, much in the same way that Travis Knight’s obvious affection for G1 shone through in Bumblebee.
#1: Will this mean a new toyline?
Ha, who are we kidding – of course it will! And Transformers media is all about selling toys, at the end of the day, and a new Beast Wars film would be no exception. Still, it’s fun to speculate what this might look like – whether it could be like a very nostalgic renaissance of the original BW toyline, much in the way that G1 is now seeing with the likes of Siege and Earthrise, or if it would be its own thing entirely, much as the live action toys have generally been. Either way, it’s sure to make a massive impact on the franchise as a whole moving forward!
So, that’s our list! Are there any questions we’ve missed? Are you excited about the idea of a live action Beast Wars film? Thanks for reading!