At today’s Transformers Production Kick-Off Event, press gathered together virtually to watch a conversation with Director Steven Caple Jr., producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, and stars Anthony Ramos and Dominque Fishback. Moderated by Vanity Fair’s Anthony Breznican, Caple Jr. and Di Bonaventura announced the title of the 2022 Transformers film: Rise of the Beasts.
With Caple at the helm of the film, Di Bonaventura wanted to focus on the heart, humor, and action and saw Caple was able to show great deal of ability in communicating emotion and going underneath the characters. Di Bonaventura also wanted someone who grew up loving Transformers and found that in Caple.
“After looking at his films, after meeting with him, and after hearing what he wanted to do [and] where he wanted to push it was exactly where we were hoping [for],” said Di Bonaventura. “As we’ve gone through and developed the script further and brought out the characters in a way that you hope as you go along in the process. We’re really thrilled to have him, it’s brought a new perspective to the franchise. We want to deliver a film that has the scale and spectacle of the [Michael] Bay films, but the heart and humor that we were able to achieve with Bumblebee.”
Caple, who grew up watching G1 and G2 Transformers and the start of Beast Wars, wanted to bring that era back into the film. Set in 1994 in Brooklyn, New York, the new film will explore Optimus Prime’s first time dealing with Earth. In the Bay films, Optimus Prime seemed to already want to protect Earth and the inhabitants, but they gave no reason, until now.
“We’re bringing Prime back paying direct homage to generation 1 — G1 robot form,” says Caple. “I care so much about this character that I really wanted to dive into Transformers. I want to discover more about Optimus Prime underneath the surface — get underneath the metal, if he would, and explore who he is and his experience how on Earth. He’s like our main robot.”
Di Bonaventura added, “He’s new to Earth. He doesn’t have a connection to Earth the way we met him in the Bay films and [in the animated] series where he’s already a protector of Earth. So, in this film, it’s forming — why does he have a link to humanity? Why does he have a link to Earth? And, that’s emotional.”
As for the other characters that we’ve all grown to love, Bumblebee will have a new off-terrain look in his Camaro form. His Z28 look will have a little off-roading appeal to it. The film will also be set in Peru around Machu Picchu, which has that tough terrain. Mirage, the rebel of the group, will now be a Porsche 911 in this film after previously being a Ferrari 458 Italia in Transformers: The Dark of the Moon. The team will also see two women characters — Arcee and Nightbird. Arcee will be a red Ducati 916 and serves as the voice of reason for the team. Being that it’s set in the ’90s, Nightbird will come in the form of a Nissan GTR and serves as the villain’s right-hand man. She is now with the Terrorcons, the villains of the film.
That’s right, the villains are not the Decepticons for this film. Instead, the Terrorcons are the new villains. Caple wanted to go somewhere new. With Terrorcon leader Scourge, Caple was able to create a ruthless and scary killer. A killer who takes the insignias off his victims and fuses them onto him like a living memorial.
“He’s a prideful dude,” said Caple. “And, he loves to collect Autobots and Maximals and use them as his trophy.”
For the Beast Wars characters, Caple revealed three of the Maximals — Airazor, a rustic steel crow design; Rhinox, a metal rhino who is the brains of the group, but also a fierce ramming machine; and, Optimus Primal, a metal gorilla and leader of the Maximals — very similar to Optimus Prime.
As for the humans aspect, Ramos and Fishback will be teaming with the Autobots to save humanity. Ramos plays Noah, an ex-soldier from Brooklyn who returns home to his mother and little brother. Coming from a low income home, Noah hustles to find work and has the ability to fix things, which will come in handy when dealing with machines. As for Fishback, she plays Elena, a artifacts expert at the local museum and is fed up with her boss taking the credit all the time. Obviously, we know she’s going to be dealing with some artifacts that the Terrorcons are going to want. Still, Caple and Di Bonaventura cast the two for their craft and how the both of them represented New York.
“We’re trying to explore a part of New York that people haven’t explored and bring people who grew up there but also just represent,” said Di Bonaventura. “I think it’s super important. I think what’s so great and what I’ve been hearing their excitement about taking on characters that are, in a sense, trying to break the barriers to whether the glass ceiling at a museum or whether it’s the societal pressures of trying to take care of your family. It’s really exciting to hear their take on [it].”
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts premieres on June 24, 2022 in theaters everywhere.
SYNOPSIS: Returning to the action and spectacle that first captured moviegoers around the world 14 years ago with the original Transformers, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure and introduce the Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, the film arrives in theatres June 24, 2022.