In six adrenaline-charged films released over the past 16 years, the Transformers live action series has introduced moviegoers to some of the most astonishing robots in the history of the sci-fi/action genre. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts introduces awe-inspiring new characters from the Transformers mythology.
A spectacular, action-filled theatrical experience that takes place after the events of the hit film Bumblebee Transformers, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is an extraordinary saga that takes excitement to the next level by unveiling the Maximals, a startling new faction of Transformers beasts that will thrill audiences and delight fans of the classic ’90s animated television series “Beast Wars: Transformers.”
“People really loved the heartfelt story of Bumblebee, but some of the core fan base wanted a more intense experience, so when we set out to make this movie, our goal was to combine heart and spectacle, and to make sure those two sides served each other well,” says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. “This film has the enormous scale that the Transformers films are known for and the intimacy of Bumblebee in terms of the relationships. It’s just a really big experience in every way possible.”
One thing Transformers fans love is seeing robot factions from both the iconic Hasbro toy line and the various animated series brought to life on screen with state-of-the-art visual effects. And in that regard, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts delivers.
“We introduce a lot of new heroes and villains in this film that are going to blow the minds of diehard fans,” di Bonaventura says. “It’s chock full of robots we haven’t seen in a movie before. That’s one of the great things about Transformers: The lore is based on what happened back on Cybertron, which gives us a lot of leeway to explore the universe at large. So in this movie, we’re bringing in the Maximals for the very first time.”
Originally introduced in the groundbreaking computer-animated TV series “Beast Wars: Transformers” that ran in syndication for three seasons from 1996 to 1999, the Maximals (a.k.a. the Beasts) and their sworn enemies, the Predacons, quickly became two of the most popular Transformers factions. The animated series won a prestigious Daytime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 1998 and spawned the Beast Wars franchise.
“In this movie, you’ll learn that the Beasts have been on Earth much longer than the Autobots have,” producer Mark Vahradian says. “They witnessed the rise of mankind, and they shared some of their secrets with humans, so in 1994 they actually have a respect for humanity that the Autobots don’t have yet. The Beasts know humans have merit, and they believe it’s worth fighting to save Earth.”
According to Vahradian, the Maximals presented the filmmakers with a new challenge. “The wonderful thing about Transformers is there’s a deep bench of characters available, but the mythology of the Beasts was something we were a little bit cautious of early on, because they’re a completely different form of robot,” he says. “Unlike the Autobots and Decepticons, the Beasts have fur and skin. They’re not just pieces of metal.”
Eventually, the exciting prospect of bringing the Maximals to the big screen eclipsed any uncertainty the filmmakers may have had, and a decision was made to include them as major protagonists in the new Transformers adventure. Vahradian says the person who gave them the confidence to move forward with the concept was Steven Caple Jr., the acclaimed director of Creed II, whom they tapped to helm the film. “Steven was raised on that part of the franchise and he loved it, so in a way, he gave us the courage to embrace the Beasts!” the producer says.
Caple was 19 years old when Bay’s first Transformers film premiered, and like millions of viewers around the world, he became an instant fan of the series. “Steven basically grew up on Michael’s movies, and we’ve never had somebody like that step into the director role before now,” says Vahradian. “He had a very different view of the Transformers characters and what was special about them, so to hand this movie over to somebody like him, who’s younger and has a fresh perspective, was a way for us to make sure the film felt different from all the others in the series, particularly in terms of the emotional quality of the story.”
Caple had never directed a film of this staggering scale before, but after seeing how he blended intimacy and action in Creed II, di Bonaventura had no doubt he was up to the challenge. “The emotion Steven captured in Creed II was incredibly satisfying,” says the producer, “but he also understood exactly what the audience’s expectation was in terms of the boxing sequences, and that’s really attractive because respecting the audience is so important. The fans are heavily invested in the Transformers world, and we owe it to them to always respect that. So when I saw Creed II, I knew Steven could do it.”
Caple recalls how much he loved the original “Beast Wars: Transformers” animated series as a child. The show premiered when he was 8 years old, and after watching each episode, he and his friends would meet up after school and try to wrap their heads around how different it was from other cartoons at the time. “I remember thinking how weird it was, because they were trying something new with the animation, and Optimus Prime wasn’t in it,” Caple says. “But as it went on, the storyline got really good. It had a lot of heart, and a bunch of twists and turns, so I stuck around for all three seasons.”
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts also tips its hat to other iterations of the Transformers franchise as well, including the beloved 1986 animated feature. “There are definitely some homages to The Transformers: The Movie in this,” the director reveals. “We’ve got the OG voice actor Peter Cullen doing the voice of Optimus Prime, of course, but we also have Prime’s original look from the cartoons, and we’ve never really seen Arcee in a live action movie to this extent.”
Bay, who serves as a producer on Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (as he did on Bumblebee), joined Caple on set in Peru to offer support and guidance. “Michael’s biggest piece of advice was to not overdo it with the number of robots, because if you have too many, you can get really caught up with them,” the director says. “So his advice was to focus on the ones that will make a real impact on the audience.”
Directing a bold new entry in a series that means so much to so many people around the world was an honor, says Caple. “It was exciting to bring a fresh perspective to these characters. I feel blessed to actually be able to do that, and I’m psyched for the audience to see what we’ve come up with.”
Caple Jr direct from a screenplay crafted by , Joby Harold and Darnell Metayer & Josh Peters and Erich Hoeber & Jon Hoeber, from a story by Joby Harold, based on Hasbro’s Transformers™ Action Figures.
Returning to the action and spectacle that have captured moviegoers around the world, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ’90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce a whole new faction Transformers – the Maximals – to join them as allies in the existing battle for earth. It’s 1994, the era of hip hop and Air Jordans, and in his lively Brooklyn neighborhood, former U.S. Army private Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) is doing his best to help support his family. But he just can’t catch a break. In a series of events, Noah finds himself behind the wheel of the wisecracking Autobot Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson), who reveals the existence of three fellow Autobots in hiding, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), Bumblebee and Arcee (voiced by Liza Koshy).
To play Noah, the former Army private struggling to support his mother and his ailing younger brother, the filmmakers knew they needed an actor charismatic enough to stand toe-to-steel-toe with his towering robotic co-stars. After getting an advance look at the award-winning 2021 musical In the Heights, the clear choice, says di Bonaventura, was Anthony Ramos. “We wanted a new face who could authentically represent Brooklyn, and Anthony was the first one we seized on,” recalls the producer. “We instantly saw how winning he was, and that’s what we needed for this movie.”
The real-life similarities between Ramos and Noah helped cement the decision. Like Noah, Ramos was born in Brooklyn and grew up in the ’90s. “They actually share a lot of traits in common,” Vahradian adds. “Anthony knows what 1994 in New York was like, so he brought a real authenticity to the part, including his voice, his swagger, and the way he carries himself. He fully inhabits this character because a lot of Noah’s life is reminiscent of his own childhood. Some of that was already present in the script, but once we signed him, we added even more to it.”
Portraying Noah in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts was the culmination of a boyhood dream for Ramos, who grew up watching the “Beast Wars” animated TV series in his Brooklyn home. “Being in this movie was wild because ‘Beast Wars’ was one of my favorite shows when I was a child,” the actor says. “So when I read the script and saw that Primal, Cheetor, and Rhinox were in it, I was so excited! I felt like a kid again while making it.”
Ramos’ connection to the franchise extended to the popular Hasbro toy line as well. Like the original Transformers action figures, the Beast Wars toys were robots that changed shape depending on how you played with them. But rather than change from robots into vehicles, the Beast Wars toys change from robots into animals. “I had one of the newer ones, I think it was blue and silver, and I’ll never forget that I lost him at my babysitter’s house!” Ramos says with a wince. “I was so upset about it! Buying that toy was the most excited I’d ever been to buy anything at that point in my life.”
Ramos says it was the show’s deeper meaning that captured his young imagination, not just the action and interplanetary battles. “There was a sense of family on the series. You had all these different animals living together, but then they’d convert into these fantastical robots, and they’d protect each other. You could tell they loved each other enough to go to war when necessary, and the kinship between them felt relatable to me.”
Many of the robot battles that dazzled fans of the TV series are vividly captured on the big screen in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which takes the spectacle the Transformers movies are famous for and dials it up to new levels. And Ramos can’t wait for audiences to experience the rush. “This film has some of the most epic robot fights in the entire series,” he says. “You’ve got Maximals, Terrorcons and Autobots. I mean, it’s crazy! Steven had a vision, and he brought a lot of things to this film that people have never seen before.”
Thinking back to his childhood fascination with the “Beast Wars: Transformers” television series, Ramos believes audiences who see Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will experience the same sense of wonder and discovery that he felt when he first met Primal, Airazor, Cheetor, and Rhinox on his TV screen in Brooklyn. “I’m super excited for people to watch this movie,” he says. “It really feels like being a part of something historic, and I’m grateful for that. You’ve never seen a Transformers movie like this one, let me tell you right now. So get ready.”
Brozenich was a major Transformers fan going into the project, but even he didn’t realize just how big a pool he was diving into when he started started working on the film’s VFX. “There were people on our visual effects team that had been fans since they were kids, and some of them were in their 40s,” he says. “Everyone brought their toys from childhood with them, and all the desks were covered with the Transformers action figures they collected for almost their whole lives. In a way, that kept us a little more honest, because it meant we couldn’t just go off in any direction we wanted. It’s a reminder that a lot of people have time invested in these characters.”
Di Bonaventura sees the film’s release as another chance to make a profound difference in the lives of countless fans around the world. “Transformers movies take people out of their everyday reality and bring them to an amazing place, and our obligation as filmmakers is to give them an extraordinary experience,” he says. “That’s our pact with the audience. They always get an experience that combines the real and the extraordinary, and the robots are sort of our magic sauce.”
To be sure, no one is more excited for fans to finally meet the Maximals than Caple. Moving the Transformers saga beyond the eternal battle between Autobots and Decepticons was his goal on Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and he’s extremely proud of what his cast and crew achieved. “We’re branching out in this movie, while still paying homage to the past, so I think fans will appreciate where we’re going,” the director says. “It’s such a big universe, and now every time I watch the old animated series, I think to myself, how can we bring that into the live-action films?”
Jon & Erich Hoeber are known for writing and originating big-ticket film franchises such as the Red franchise for Lionsgate, The Meg franchise for Warner Bros. and the My Spy franchise for Amazon. This summer, they have two films that are set to release: Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts and The Meg 2. Jon & Erich have also written such films as Battleship, Whiteout, and The Happytime Murders.
Joby Harold is an English screenwriter, producer and director who runs Safehouse Pictures with his producing partner Tory Tunnell. He’s the writer and Executive Producer of Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, Harold also co-wrote Paramount’s new Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts, and Warner Bros’ new film for the DC Universe, The Flash. Previously, Harold Executive Produced John Wick 3 (after doing production rewrites on John Wick 2), Edge Of Tomorrow and Robin Hood, as well as co-writing and producing Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword for Warners Bros. He is currently adapting the globally acclaimed manga My Hero Academia for Legendary and Netflix. Through Safehouse, Harold is executive producing the Untitled Monsterverse event series featuring Godzilla and the Titans for Apple and Legendary which is currently in post-production. He also produced sci-fi tentpole Atlas and Sterling K Brown for Netflix which is also in post-production. Harold is also currently producing / developing Space Mountain for Disney, based on the famous theme park ride, The Liberators, Battle Of Britain with Ridley Scott directing for 20th Century Studios, Backwards with Shawn Levy directing for Netflix and a host of others. Safehouse has an overhead deal with Legendary TV, and a first look deal with Amazon Studios. Harold is repped by CAA, Kaplan Perrone and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman et al.