Now that Transformers 7 is set to explore the Beast Wars timeline, the movies might finally explore new avenues and reinvigorate the franchise.
By Chrishaun Baker
Published 5 hours ago
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is undoubtedly going to have massive ramifications for the long-running series, but adapting the Beast Wars concept might be exactly what the franchise needs. Since the first live-action movie debuted back in 2007, audiences have been enamored with the ongoing battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons, with Michael Bay providing his spin on classic Transformers lore such as the Fallen and Unicron. However, with 2018’s Bumblebee serving as a soft reboot of sorts, it seems as if the series is moving away from Bay’s creative vision for the films and toward one more directly inspired by the classic iconography of the original cartoons as well as some of the more unexplored mythology of the universe.
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The expansive lore of Beast Wars has never been explored on-screen before, with the exception of Age of Extinction’s messy introduction of Grimlock and the Dinobots. The original Beast Wars cartoon takes place hundreds of years into the future, with the Autobots and the Decepticons having evolved into two new warring factions: the Maximals and the Predacons. The series begins with a team of Maximals, led by Optimus Primal, tasked with hunting down Megatron (a successor to the title), only to end up spit through a wormhole onto a foreign planet. Forced to adapt to the strange conditions of the fully organic planet around them, the Transformers replicate forms based on the various animals around them.
Related:?Transformers 7’s New Factions Explained: Predacons, Terrorcons & Maximals
Based on the already messy?mythology of the current live-action Transformers franchise, the introduction of the Beast Wars characters may seem like a lot. However, this is a great way for director Steven Caple Jr. to bring something totally fresh to the Transformers franchise, forcing it to explore new stories in the process.
Since the first movie, the Transformers film series has been perpetually obsessed with the iconography of the G1 line. Within the fandom, G1 refers to Generation 1 – the very first Hasbro toyline that launched the Transformers into pop culture. The toyline debuted in 1984 and formed the backbone of the TV series, which premiered simultaneously that year. The one-two punch of the toy line and the animated show essentially created the Transformers lore from the ground up and introduced the world to the core tenets that would eventually become the foundation for any Transformers media: the Autobots, the Decepticons, Optimus Prime, Megatron, and their long-standing rivalry.
So far, the live-action films have exclusively played in this sandbox, right down to the characters?that have taken priority on-screen: Bumblebee, Starscream, Ironhide, Soundwave, Ratchet, and many more were all created in the G1 era. While the movies have offered a few exceptions, most of the media within them is re-purposed from the G1 era, giving each of the films a uniform feeling. Even Bumblebee falls into this same pattern, and while its Cybertron battle honors the G1 era in an incredible way, it’s still a part of the generational bias that prevents the franchise from growing beyond the binary good-and-evil struggle of the Transformers.
Not only do the films love the G1 timeline, but most of the comic books and video game spin-offs of the IP explore the same time period as well. The obsession with G1 was so intense that G2 was mostly a launch of new toys based on the original characters, as well as a re-released edited version of the original animated show. It genuinely wasn’t until the premiere of Beast Wars: Transformers in 1996 that the world of Transformers opened up beyond the initial war for Cybertron. Serving as an ersatz G3, not only did Beast Wars introduce brand new characters and two new factions, but it radically changed everything fans knew about the Transformers universe, including the forms they took, the setting of the conflict, even the nature of good and evil that had plagued the previous factions.
Related: How Rise Of The Beasts Is Already Changing Transformers’ Beast Wars
The same raw creative energy that Beast Wars brought to the IP back in the ’90s can be harnessed and used to rejuvenate the films again. As perpetually awesome as it is to see Bumblebee transform into a Camaro mid-action sequence, it could be even more mind-blowing to see Optimus Primal destroying Predacons as a silver-back gorilla instead of as a car. The animated series even introduced the idea that Predacons were capable of reprogramming Maximals in stasis and turning them evil, an implication that’s more morally grey and thought-provoking than anything introduced in all five of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies.?Beast Wars: Transformers did to the worldbuilding of the Transformers universe what the prequels did to Star Wars, and now that the films are prepared to introduce the toys to the sandbox it greatly opens up the storytelling potential they can now deliver.
As fantastic of a film as it is, Bumblebee’s 1980s setting opens some timeline plotholes that throw the live-action films out of whack. There are various chronological incongruencies that don’t line up with the rest of the movies in the series, specifically dealing with the recency of the destruction of Cybertron as well as when certain Transformers arrive on Earth, particularly Optimus Prime’s cameo in Bumblebee. Because of this, many fans view Bumblebee as a reboot of the live-action timeline, but there isn’t a concrete answer.
In the original Beast Wars narrative, the Maximals and the Predacons are transported through a wormhole to a foreign planet with strange organic life; however, it’s revealed much later that they’re actually on a prehistoric Earth, thousands of years before the original war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. The time-travel introduced to the series through the concept of transwarp technology could be precisely what’s needed to rationalize the continuity errors mounting within the series. In the cartoon, the original Decepticon Megatron convinces his successor to kill Optimus Prime while the Autobots are asleep on Earth in stasis, and a similar plan could reconcile the Bay timeline with the Bumblebee timeline plot holes?on-screen. The future of the Transformers series is completely up in the air at this point, but Transformers: Rise of the Beasts could be a step into a bold and exciting new horizon for the 14-year-old franchise.
More: How Rise Of The Beasts Can Connect To Past Transformers Movies
Key Release Dates
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2022)Release date: Jun 24, 2022
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About The Author
(162 Articles Published)
Chrishaun Baker is a Feature Writer for Screen Rant, with a host of interests ranging from horror movies to video games to superhero films. A graduate of Western Carolina University, he spends his time reading comic books and genre fiction, directing short films, writing screenplays, and getting increasingly frustrated at the state of film discourse in 2020. You can find him discussing movies on Letterboxd or working up a migraine over American politics on Twitter.
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