Table of Contents
The Transformers series is just two years from turning forty, solidifying its position as one of the toy franchises that has been around the longest and is beloved by people worldwide. However, having toy cars and trucks that could convert into robotic soldiers would be amazing. It should come as no surprise that the animated series based on the toy line premiered in the same year the action figures were released. The series was also a huge and unexpected hit with the younger viewers. It would eventually be remade with live-action characters like many other classic animated shows. In 2007, the director Michael Bay (The Rock) introduced the action spectacle of the fight between Autobots and Decepticons to the big screen. This was the first time that it had ever been done. Following the original film’s success, five sequels were produced, all met with various reactions from fans, critics, and public audiences. However, the same audience reacted significantly more positively to Bumblebee (2018), a prequel to the franchise, and a “soft reboot” of the series. Bumblebee is regarded as the series’ best live-action feature, even though it has the lowest-grossing total of all the films in the franchise. Because of this, the following installment in this epic story would be a straightforward continuation of the film that served as the prequel. In this way, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts came into existence. It brought back fan favorites such as the leader of the Autobots himself, Optimus Prime (played by Peter Cullen). It reintroduced the Beast Wars plot featured in the 1996 sequel series of the same name.
This series’ continuity has become all jumbled up as of late. Nevertheless, before the Beast Wars begin on the big screen in June, it will be helpful to have a guide to the heroes and villains we’ll be following this time. This will help alleviate some uncertainty.
Colman Domingo as Unicron
Unicron is a menace that is orders of magnitude stronger than the combined power of the Decepticons, Predacons, and any other group in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. He is the most significant new addition to the Transformers franchise (both figuratively and physically). Unicron is a planet-sized cosmic destroyer that devours entire worlds and typically assumes the appearance of a biomechanical world. Nevertheless, it may morph into a just as large but robotic shape. Although the character’s origins differ in each rendition, he is typically portrayed as a cosmic creature that aims to destroy the multiverse. In this role, he serves as the antithesis of his twin brother Primus, who is responsible for the creation of the Cybertronians. The illustrious Orson Welles provided the character’s voice for the first time in the animated film Transformers: The Movie, released in 1986. The revelation that Unicron is more than just a planet-sized Transformer was made in Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), which featured Unicron as an important storyline aspect. In the timeline we’re now living in, he’s the planet itself.
Colman Domingo will provide the voice of the titan incapable of being bad in the upcoming Transformers film, Rise of the Beats. Domingo is a talented actor, director, and writer who has won an Emmy for his work. He is also noted for his forceful performances. In the past, he has worked on projects such as the movies Lincoln (2012), Selma (2014), and Candyman (2021), as well as television shows such as Euphoria and Fear the Walking Dead.
Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the voice of the leader of the Autobots and the face of the Transformers series will be provided by none other than Peter Cullen (The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), who is best known for playing Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh movies. Since the beginning of the first animated series, the famed voice actor has provided the character’s voice for practically every movie, show, and video game, leaving behind a career that most actors can only dream of.
Even though live-action movies significantly emphasize the human characters, Prime continues to take the spotlight in most movies. His travels through them are not all that dissimilar to the one described in the original. Autobots are a group of beneficent Transformers embroiled in a bloody civil war against the fearsome Decepticons, which forced their home planet of Cybertron to become an unlivable battleground. Optimus is the fierce leader of the Autobots, and he is also the name of their leader. Therefore, both the Autobots and the Decepticons made their way to Earth, where Optimus made a solemn commitment to defend the humans from the danger posed by their adversaries. Optimus Prime has traveled a long way in the Transformers main film series. The story has many pivotal moments, such as when Optimus Prime is slain and resurrected by a magical Cybertronian technology when he kills his sworn enemy Megatron (Hugo Weaving) twice, and even when he is brainwashed for a short time by an evil god.
Bumblebee saw Optimus take more of a supporting role than usual, with the character only appearing in a few brief scenes throughout the film. These included the opening scene, which depicted the War for Cybertron, and the closing scene, which showed the other Autobots arriving on Earth. It is safe to assume that Optimus will play a significantly more important part in this installment of the Transformers franchise, given that “Transformers” is included in the title of the film rather than just “Bumblebee.”
Anthony Ramos as Noah
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Ironheart (2023), Anthony Ramos (In the Heights) will engage in combat with another pseudo-robotic being. In Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, he is a new ally for the Autobots and the Maximals. The brave defenders of Earth have had many human partners throughout the years, including Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky from the original trilogy, Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager from the most recent two major entries, and Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie Watson from Bumblebee. Noah is the most recent human involved in efforts to save the planet. Although we have yet to learn much about his function, he is new to assisting the Autobots in their mission to preserve the globe. He is beginning to build a bond with Autobot Mirage.
Dominique Fishback as Elena
Dominique Fishback, who played Judas in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” will take on the role of Elena, the film’s second human major role. In the same way that we know little about Noah, we also know little about Elena or exactly how she fits into the plot. The only thing we do know about Elena is that she will be an ally to the Autobots. The most information we receive about her character from the first trailer is that she is just as perplexed as Noah about how these changing robots are on Earth. She even has a comical discussion with Arcee at the film’s end.
N/A as Bumblebee
Bumblebee, who serves as Optimus Prime’s right-hand bot, is generally found lurking just a step behind his master. However, franchise fans know he has the potential to be the hero with the most dialogue. Before Bumblebee would meet Sam Witwicky years later, we see in his standalone feature that preceded Rise of the Beasts that Bumblebee was first known as B-127 and was momentarily voiced by Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner). This all takes place before Bumblebee meets Sam Witwicky. Following the deterioration of the situation on Cybertron, Bee was dispatched to Earth to create a base there. Despite this, Decepticon Blitzwing, played by David Sobolov, launches an assault on him after he has a run-in with some hostile government operatives. Bee was able to stop the would-be assassin. Still, the attack left his vocal box with irreversible damage, and he lost his ability to talk. Bee’s optimistic and upbeat demeanor did not change after sustaining a life-threatening injury. He continued to help protect Earth’s populace whenever necessary and spoke with others using the radio built into his car.
Pete Davidson as Mirage
Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island), a former cast member of Saturday Night Live, will provide the voice of Mirage, a character who appears to have a large role in the movie and is described as the Bumblee to Noah’s Sam Witwicky. Mirage had a cameo appearance in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), although brief, as an Italian-accented brilliant red Ferrari Autobot. The character’s signature Italian accent accompanied his appearance. On the other hand, Mirage is a Porsche this time around in the ’90s (which most likely indicates that Davidson will not speak with an Italian accent). In addition, we get a glimpse of some of Mirage’s one-of-a-kind powers, such as his capacity to create duplicate cars to throw off those who are hot on his trail. Watch this television commercial that highlights Mirage and his skills to get a better sense of who he is and what he can do:
Liza Koshy as Arcee
Liza Koshy (Liza on Demand), an influencer and comedian, will be taking over the part of Arcee. She will pick up the role from Grey Griffin (Avatar: The Last Airbender), who voiced the character in her brief cameos in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Bumblebee. Griffin voiced the character in her brief appearances in both films.
The vast majority of Transformers favor automobiles that have four wheels. Despite this, Arcee and her sisters favor utilizing two-wheeled motorcycles since they are more agile, have a smaller footprint, and are faster than four-wheeled vehicles. Arcee made her initial appearance in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as one of the new Autobots that received Optimus’ message from beyond the galaxy; nevertheless, she was ultimately killed in the Battle of Egypt. Bumblebee allowed us to meet Arcee again, this time during a battle on Cybertron with the other Autobots.
Cristo Fernández as Wheeljack
After bringing his unendingly upbeat spirit to the equally upbeat role of Dani Rojas in Ted Lasso, Cristo Fernández will be portraying Wheeljack, a brilliant Autobot creator. Wheeljack was one of the more unique supporting characters in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. He was built to look like a robotic Albert Einstein and even included the accent of the world-famous genius. Wheeljack was responsible for developing weapons and technology that helped the humans and his Autobot friends. Wheeljack, like Arcee, had a brief appearance at the beginning of Bumblebee in the War for Cybertron part. Unlike Arcee, though, Wheeljack appeared with a significantly more subdued and show-accurate design than the one used in the upcoming film.
John DiMaggio as Stratosphere
Even if you aren’t familiar with the name John DiMaggio (Futurama), you almost surely recognize him because of the long list of well-liked characters he has lent his voice over the years. Most of the Transformers take the phrase “robots in disguise” quite literally. They only transform into automobiles when they must remain concealed or go to a new location quickly. The Stratosphere is a rare exception. Stratosphere is a living jet for the Autobots despite its appearance as a large cargo airliner. It is large enough to convey many of them at once to carry out a mission as a group.
Ron Perlman as Optimus Primal
Veteran character actor Ron Perlman, known for his work in “Pacific Rim,” will provide the voice of “Optimus Primal.” Optimus Primal is a pivotal protagonist in the Beast Wars saga and is the descendant of Optimus Prime himself. At the very least, several hundred years after the numerous fights between Optimus Prime and Megatron, the saga of the Beast Wars get underway. Maximals and Predacons have supplanted the Autobots and Decepticons as the dominant factions in the Transformers universe. The former is led by Optimus Primal, who, in many ways, follows in the footsteps of his descendant as commander of Cybertron’s force for good. As a result of an accident aboard an experimental spacecraft, Primal, the other Maximals, and a group of Predacons were sent back in time many million years. Both groups eventually find themselves on an ancient version of Earth. As a result of being stranded on a version of a planet that they cannot even begin to comprehend, both parties decide against transforming into cars and instead take on characteristics of many different creatures and dinosaurs. Primal himself takes on the appearance of a gorilla.
Fans who have followed the franchise for a significant amount of time will likely experience a bizarre sense when Prime and Primal eventually get together on the big screen for the first time. This is because the two heroes come from completely separate timelines. To face the new danger that Earth and its inhabitants are up against, the two leaders must put any questions they have for each other to the side.
Michelle Yeoh as Airazor
Michelle Yeoh’s (Everything, Everywhere, All at Once) current acting resurgence (which is very much deserved) will continue in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, in which she will bring to life a major role in the fight between the Beasts and the Decepticons.
Because she can transform into the form of a hawk and observe the battlefield, and launch attacks from a higher vantage point, Airazor serves as the Maximals’ literal “eye in the sky.” She thinks of her fellow Maximalists as a group of people who battle crime together and as a family that will always have each other’s backs regardless of the situation.
Peter Dinklage as Scourge
The bad guys in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts are a bit of a mystery, but we know that Scourge, played by Peter Dinklage, will be one of the primary antagonists. Since the new movie will introduce the Maximals, it is reasonable to anticipate that their longtime enemies, the Predacons, and their leader, Megatron, will also play a significant role. Megatron is the descendant of the original Megatron from the previous movies. He is frozen in the Hoover Dam when the new movie’s events occur. However, there has been no confirmation that Megatron or the Predacons would appear. Scourge has traditionally been a significant Decepticon. Additionally, historical connections have been made between the haughty adversary and Unicron.
Michaela Jaé Rodriguez as Nightbird
As the first openly transgender actor to be a part of the Transformers film series, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (tick, click…BOOM!) will make history for the franchise when she joins the cast of the upcoming film. She will take on the role of a distinct antagonist who will be a component of the intellectual property.
What would happen if humans developed their Cybertronians that they could control? We all know that the Autobots, Decepticons, Maximals, and Predacons are all extraterrestrial entities, but what would happen if humans built their Cybertronians? As one of the few Transformers characters that humans created to defend against dangers posed by hostile Cybertronians, Nightbird is the solution to this issue. Regardless of whatever side of the conflict they are on, Nightbird is there to protect all Transformers fans. Sadly, it does not go over very well, as Nightbird is finally taken by the Decepticons and transformed into another hazardous opponent for Earth and the Autobots.
On June 9, 2023, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will be released in theaters worldwide.