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Yeeeesssss ... Paramount Drops Title And Casting For Next Transformers Film

By Claude Weaver III | Film | June 23, 2021 |

By Claude Weaver III | Film | June 23, 2021 |


Dammit. Dammit to hell.


Like a lot of people, I was done with live-action Transformers. I mean, after Bumblebee, I was set. I didn’t really need anything more. I got the movie I wanted when the whole mess started. I told myself, “self, this is about as good as it’s gonna get”. I was just going to sit back, maybe catch up on the comics, check out the Netflix shows (so far… eh), that’s about it.

But damn you, Hasbro. Damn. You.

So Hasbro, who is busy trying to build a whole *sigh* cinematic universe with their toy and game properties, has already given us a sample of their latest attempt to restart the G.I. Joe film franchise. Now comes news on the other big cartoon franchise front.

They did the one thing that could possibly interest me at this point:

They are bringing in Beast Wars.

Quick summary for the uninitiated: Beast Wars: Transformers debuted in 1996 as the next flagship series in the Transformers franchise, a sequel to the original ’80s cartoon (commonly referred to as Generation 1). It was one of the early attempts to make a computer-generated animated series following the success of Reboot (both produced by Mainframe Entertainment, founded by the pioneering animators who created the “Money For Nothing” music video). It was a pretty big success in its own right, kept the momentum of the brand going into the next millennium, and shaped a lot of the franchise to come.

Starting 300 years after the events of the original show, it followed the Maximals and Predacons (the descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons, respectively) as they continued the seemingly forever war on Cybertron. Mirroring the events that started off G1, small teams from both sides end up crash landing on an unknown planet. Due to the surface of the planet having so much raw Energon that it is poisonous to the Cybertronians, they have to take organic alternate forms to protect themselves, copying the native fauna of the planet (which happens to coincide with familiar Earth animals…hmmm). Led by Optimus Primal (who transforms into a gorilla), the Maximals have to fend off the plans of the manipulative Predacon leader Megatron (a mother-effing T-REX), who wields a golden disk imbued with secrets about the very planet they are on, as well as his iconic uttering of the word “yes”.

The film’s title and logo were revealed during a virtual press event Tuesday, where it was also revealed that Anthony Ramos (In The Heights) would be joining Dominique Fishback (Project Power, Judas and the Black Messiah) as the two human leads. Ramos will play “a military veteran and electronics whiz” while Fishback’s character was described as “an intelligent artifact researcher”. The film will be set in the ’90s, to reflect the 1996 debut of the original Beast Wars cartoon.

If you are like me, you probably want to know about the actual title characters instead of the meat sacks. Optimus Prime (still voiced by Peter Cullen) is reportedly the film’s protagonist, while Optimus Primal (his Beast Wars counterpart) will also feature alongside him, allowing for “a philosophical conversation on the same plane” according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Also mentioned: the main villain will be Scourge, who is “fusing the parts of slain Transformers onto his body.” In addition to the Maximals and Predacons making their debut, there will be new (to the film series anyway) Autobots and Deceptions as well.

Initially, it was announced there would be several projects, including two feature films: one scripted by Joby Harold (*sigh*Army of the Dead, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi D+ series) focusing on Beast Wars, and one by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) as a direct followup to Bumblebee (but without the cast, writer or director of that one).

Hasbro and Paramount apparently decided to… kinda merge the two into one, with Harold scripting and Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II) to direct. The idea, according to di Bonaventura, was that the Autobot/Decepticon conflict had been “somewhat exhausted” and they wanted to “find a new set of villains and a new set of priorities”.

Well, you can’t get much different in priorities than Beast Wars. While it won’t be 100% accurate to the show, having Prime and Primal interact could be interesting (due to plot reasons they don’t do so much until a pivotal point of the show, but Prime’s influence is felt throughout).

At the very least, get ready for a resurgence of “TRUKK NOT MUNKY” memes.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is scheduled to release in theaters on June 24, 2022.