Mark your calendars as we’re now well under a year away from the next big-screen live-action Transformers adventure hitting cinemas! Yes, Rise of the Beasts will arrive in June 2022 and that means that we can fully expect proper updates on the production to start freely flowing from here on in. How exciting!
Case in point, we’ve just been treated to two new photos of some of the main cast… well, those of the vehicle variety, anyway! Coming from the Instagram of director, Steven Caple Jr., here we have our best look yet at the robots that will be featured in the film, some for the very first time.
Of course, we’ve yet to see the beasts mentioned in the movie’s title, but for today let’s take a tour through the characters presented here and run down who we can expect to be cheering on eight or so months from now.
#9: Optimus Prime
You may have heard of this guy – he’s been in the previous movies, after all. This time, Optimus transforms into a 1987 Freightliner FLA semi-truck that feels in line with both his classic G1 appearance and his brief vehicular cameo at the end of 2018’s Bumblebee, albeit with a few departures thrown into the mix, too. That sizeable bumper and the visor above the windscreen make Prime look pimped out and perhaps a little more hardened than usual, although apparently, this film will deal with the iconic Autobot leader learning to adopt Earth as his new home, as we’re set to delve beneath his traditionally stoic character more than ever before.
Another name you may be familiar with, of course, the franchise’s most memorable yellow ‘bot will be getting a starring role yet again in RotB. Bumblebee retains his classic Chevrolet Camaro look as per his previous appearance in his own solo movie, although this time it’s been amped up with some seriously beefy all-terrain modifications and massive new wheels. No word yet on whether ‘Bee will be able to speak properly in this film or if he’ll continue to use his radio gimmick, but considering how it feels like the powers-that-be don’t want to alienate this new entry from previous films in the series too much (my money is that they’ll never explicitly say whether it’s an in-continuity prequel-of-sorts or a straight-up reboot, in the hope of appeasing both wishes), I’d be betting that it’ll be the former.
Now we come to one of our first new characters for this story… well, kind of, anyway! This is Mirage, who transforms into a Porsche 964, an alternate form typically associated with the classic G1 character of Jazz (whereas the name Mirage marries with an F1 racer). To say this has caused a bit of comment online would be an understatement, with plenty of diehard old-school fans severely disappointed that this character isn’t named as they might have expected, especially after Bumblebee seemed to swing so close to the Generation 1 lore and aesthetic for inspiration. Still, whatever this dude’s name is, there’s little denying how sublime that vehicle form looks, and I for one cannot wait to see it in action. Supposedly Mirage will be a bit of an outlaw and a troublemaker in the Autobot ranks.
Apparently, this Ducati 916 motorcycle is Arcee, now with a new red and white colour scheme. It’s of course not the first time this character has been presented as a motorbike, although evidently, her robot mode design will riff off her classic G1 appearance quite heavily too, so that will be fun to see! The director has stated that he wanted to have a strong female character in the ranks so presumably, this will be a much more fleshed-out portrayal than we’ve seen of her in previous live-action films.
#5: Unidentified VW Camper Van
Our final Autobot is one that’s yet to be named, but a rumour started by a crew member has led a lot of people to assume that this might be Wheeljack, whose name has been mentioned in reference to the character list but we haven’t yet seen any official confirmation of that so far. Could this be him, or is it another Autobot entirely? There’s no way to know for sure right now but whatever the case, the idea of a VW camper can turning into a giant robot is something I cannot wait to see on screen.
#4: Unidentified Tow Truck
Another unidentified character, this one is a member of bad guys, the Decep– sorry, the Terrorcons! Supposedly this new faction will not be aligned with the Decepticons, nor indeed with the Predacons, who are more typically associated with the beastly bit of the franchise, and will reportedly be quite ‘reptilian’ in nature, although we’re not currently seeing how that will work based on this photo today! Still, this orange tow truck certainly has an air of menace about it, so whatever the score, I’m sure it’ll be worth a watch come the end product.
Nightbird transforms into a Nissan Skyline GT-R R33, which makes this the very first representation of the classic ninja character from the G1 cartoon to have a real-world Earthern vehicle form of any kind. Rumour has it that this interpretation will share some commonalities with her more traditional appearance though, including the head design and her katana weapon. This time, Nightbird is aligned with the Terrorcons, having previously switched sides, though that’s not clear if she was an Autobot or a Decepticon prior. I don’t mind saying that this is one alternate form I am very much hoping for an MPM Masterpiece toy of, at some point!
Our final big bad and the leader of the Terrorcons, this is Scourge and my word, he looks a bit imposing, eh? This alternate form is a Black Kenworth JF truck, with the worn finish and modified parts making him very creepy indeed. By all accounts, Scourge will be equally terrifying in his robot form, which features numerous spikes and a giant claw. It’s also said he ‘collects’ the faction symbols of both Autobots and Maximals once he’s disposed of them, so that will be something to see. This one is giving me serious DotM Megatron vibes for now, although the alternate form does of course give an RID 2001 Scourge flavour as well.
#1: Steven Caple Jr.
And not to forget the main man himself, Mr Caple Jr. is actually the MVP of this entire line-up! After all, Rise of the Beasts is his baby and it looks like he’s loving every minute of it so far. His approach has been equally enthusiastic whenever he’s spoken about the franchise in interviews or at events, so fingers crossed he’s got this one in the bag. Can’t wait for that first trailer!
So that’s our list! Are you excited for Rise of the Beasts?