Beast mode activated. Almost five years after Bumblebee opened in theaters, the Transformers film series is continuing its saga in the past. This time, the war of the machines comes to New York City, circa 1994.
Over a year after its title reveal in June 2021, Paramount Pictures released the trailer for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts on Thursday. The movie, directed by Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II) and set to open in theaters on June 9, 2023, serves as a sequel to Bumblebee as well as being the seventh movie in the overall Transformers series.
Essentially an adaptation of the animated series Beast Wars: Transformers, which ran from 1996 to 1999, Rise of the Beasts stars three new factions of Transformers: the Maximals, the Predacons, and the Terrorcons. Unlike the vehicular-shaped Transformers, these bots take on the shapes of wild jungle animals.
The trailer, set to The Notorious B.I.G.’s immortal anthem to modern success “Juicy,” follows two humans — played by Anthony Ramos (In the Heights) and Dominique Fishback (Judas and the Black Messiah) — who aid Optimus Prime and the Transformers in a new war for Earth’s survival. The film will introduce the fan favorite, gorilla-esque Optimus Primal (voiced by Ron Perlman), the leader of the noble Maximals, as he seeks the help of Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) to fight back against the invading Terrorcons.
Somehow and someway, the machines all arrive in New York City in 1994. That year saw the release of The Notorious B.I.G.’s seminal album Ready to Die, which among its hit singles was Biggie’s “Juicy.” So it is more than fitting one of the all-time biggest movie franchises returns with a trailer that pays homage to one of New York’s finest artists to ever hold the mic.
You can watch the trailer below.
What is a little aggravating, however, is that the continuity of the Transformers films are now more difficult to parse through. Supposedly all these movies take place in a single timeline, but the 2007 film Transformers established that most of the Transformers don’t arrive on Earth until, well, 2007. Only Bumblebee was somehow on Earth, laying dormant in a used car lot. (The 2018 prequel Bumblebee, set in the late ‘80s, reveals how he ended up there.)
With Rise of the Beasts taking place in 1994, and Transformers like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee getting in on the action, the Transformers saga is now doing a lot of continuity backflips to make sure that events line up neatly to 2007’s Transformers. It just seems like the movie will have to end with Optimus Prime once again going back to Cybertron while Bumblebee stays behind, once again in a used car lot in southern California. That’s a long way from New York. Thankfully, they’ve got wheels.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will open in theaters on June 9, 2023.