The robots might seem different in design, and the actors are different, but make no mistake – Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a sequel to 2018’s Bumblebee movie, which itself is a soft reboot of the long-running Transformers movie franchise And while it’s been a while since we saw those robots in disguise, waging their intergalactic war on Earth, the latest trailer for the seventh film in the series has gotten us excited.
Not only do we get to welcome Peter Cullen reprising his iconic turn as Autobot commander Optimus Prime, but plenty of fan favourites are also back, and director Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II) is wasting no time by placing his own stamp on the series, with the introduction of three other Transformers races – the majestic Maximals, evil Predacons and menacing Terracons.
Starring Anthony Ramos (In the Heights), and Dominique Fishback (The Deuce), the upcoming film is the first of a proposed movie trilogy that introduces more species of sentient robots from the planet Cybertron, and the recent teaser trailer will definitely have you confused as to Who’s Who.
Or should we say, What’s What? Who is the gigantic talking robot Gorilla? And do we finally get to see female Transformers in action, and not just in cameos (RIP Arcee, Michael Bay did you dirty)? Unless you’ve grown up watching Saturday morning cartoons from the 1990s, you’re going to need some help identifying the various characters in this movie.
And don’t worry, we’ve got you. We’re going still by still in the latest trailer revealed and we’re going to tell you who you’re looking at, which faction they come from and what their deal is.
The hero of every Transformers movie. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots and is the famous red and blue truck you see leading almost every Transformers media whether it’s the animated series or the Hollywood Michael Bay movies. Unless you live under a rock, this Autobot needs no introduction. Peter Cullen remains as Optimus Prime’s voice and with Rise of the Beasts focusing on how this formidable leader began his attachment and love for Earth, we can expect to see Optimus Prime at the front and center.
Just like how Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Primal is the leader of the Maximals. In the animated series, the story of Beast Wars begins several hundred years after the many conflicts between the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron.
The Maximals and Predacons are the descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons, and their story takes place at a different time, so why is Maximals leader, Optimus Primal here on Earth meeting with Optimus Prime?
Primal is known to be wise and big on protecting his own kind, several of which show up in the trailer, if you study it like we did. This will be the first time fans will see Primal (voiced by Ron Perlman) in live-action, and catch some Prime and Primal action on the big screen too!
An Autobot that’s just as famous as the red and blue truck – Bumblebee! Where there’s Optimus Prime, Bumblebee is never too far behind. He’s not the most talkative hero as most fans would know (his voice box got permanently damaged after a battle with Blitzwing), but he remains a cheeky and entertaining one, oftentimes communicating with the people of Earth with his car’s built-in radio. Alas, it looks like Bumblebee is junking his Volkswagon Beetle look from the last movie, and sticking with the Camaro.
Next in the trailer, we see Mirage as a Porsche 911. A long-serving member of the original Autobots, the movie version, voiced by Pete Davidson, is not a Formula One race car, but a sports car.
We know we know – Autobot Jazz was the OG Porsche 911 in the cartoon, but Jazz has made his one and final appearance in the first Transformers, so this here is Mirage, who seems to have the unique ability to create holograms, just like his animated counterpart. Briefly appearing in Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a bright red Ferrari Autobot complete with an Italian accent, this Mirage looks and sounds different. Maybe the earlier one was a mirage best left forgotten?
The trailer gave fans a good look at Maximals Cheetor, the fastest Maximal on four legs. He is the youngest in the faction and is full of youthful confidence. That means he loves trouble, so we’re keen to see what Cheetor gets himself into in the upcoming movie.
Michelle Yeoh is everything, everywhere all at once and here in Rise of the Beasts, she voices Airazor. Airazor takes the form of a hawk and is pretty much the eye in the sky for the Maximals. She views her Maximal companions not just as a team, but as a family that she will surveil and protect no matter what the consequences may be.
A sneaky little cameo from Battletrap! The orange and black tow truck is a member of a new faction called the Terrorcons, i.e. the “coming darkness” Primal was referring to in the trailer. Battletrap is voiced by David Sobolov who – fun fact! – voiced Depth Charge in the Beast Wars cartoon.
Voiced by Cristo Fernández, Wheeljack is a genius inventor for the Autobots. He’s simultaneously one of the Autobots’ greatest assets and problems. Briefing appearing at the start of Bumblebee, fans will seemingly get a better look and come up and close with Wheeljack, now a Volkswagon Kombi in the upcoming movie.
Like Mirage, this is not the first appearance for Arcee, played by Liza Koshy here. She briefly appeared in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Bumblebee, and together with her sister, are often depicted as two-wheeled, and that’s the cast in Rise of the Beasts too. Here she transforms into a red and white Ducati.
The villains of Rise of the Beasts are a bit of a mystery but we do know that one major big bad is Scourge. Historically a prominent Decepticon, Scourge is seen piercing poor Bumblebee in the trailer. He is voiced by Game of Thrones alum Peter Dinklage, and together with his Terrorcons Battletrap and Nightbird, we’ve got a pretty deadly team.
Also voiced by David Sobolov, Rhinox is a Maximal that takes the form of a huge rhinoceros. Just like his animal form, Rhinox is massive, strong and stalwart.
Although we didn’t get a good look of Nightbird in the trailer, we do see bursts of black and purple in the (very) fast action sequences teased in the trailer. We know this unique villain is voiced by Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and we’re excited to see how she creates a wreck in the movie. Hopefully, we’ll get a better look at her in future trailers too.
Stratosphere is essentially a living jet for the Autobots, and unless we missed it, he is one of the previously revealed characters who has yet to make an appearance in the trailer. He helps to transport a good number of them for team missions so he’s actually an essential part of the team. Voiced by John DiMaggio, Stratosphere will share the same voice as General Grievous in Star Wars: Clone Wars, Rico in Madagascar and Jake the Dog from Adventure Time.