"Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" Trailer #2 Thoughts & Reactions


On April 27, 2023 Paramount Pictures released the second trailer for the upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts film!  This trailer was filled with BIG spoilers and new scenes.  Check out the trailer in the embed below then check out my reactions below:

The Maximals have been around for ages
At the beginning of the trailer we hear Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) say “…for centuries our kind has stayed hidden on Earth…”.  This statement both acts as a bit of homage to the original Beast Wars animated series and a callback to an element of The Last Knight.

In Beast Wars, we learn that the Maximals and Predacons crashed on Earth in the past, having time traveled from the future in the events leading to the opening of the show.  Of course, Rise of the Beasts doesn’t need time travel.  The Maximals could simply have come to Earth centuries ago trying to get away from the war on Cybertron.  Or maybe they were Cybertronian colonists?

Meanwhile, in The Last Knight we learned that Transformers have been on Earth long before the events of the first 2007 film (or it seems, the Bumblebee movie).  Having the Maximals hanging out on Earth centuries ago aligns with this bit of Earth/Transformers history.

Unicron is hunting the Maximals
During the trailer we also hear Optimus Primal say “…darkness has found us again.” Referring to the BIG BAD of the film: Unicron (Colman Domingo)!  The interesting part is that later in the trailer Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) says “This is not our war…”.  Traditionally, Unicron is seen as the enemy of Transformers in general (except for a select few such as G1 Galvatron).  However, if we take the trailer at face value (and really, we shouldn’t) is Optimus suggesting that Unicron and his forces are only there for the Maximals?  That would seem to be a very odd twist.  I personally think Optimus Prime may be referring to the conflict between the Maximals and the Terrorcons, but time will tell!

The discussions and debates about continuity can rage on (and they will), but one thing is for sure: this film is intended as a follow up to Bumblebee and it takes place in the following decade: the 90’s.  The setting has also changed from the West Coast to New York City (at least for part of the film).  Director Steven Caple Jr. talked about this time frame in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter back in June 2021 played 90’s Hip Hop on set to get in the right frame of mind, also adding “You are going to feel hip-hop culture…” and “…You are going to feel Brooklyn.”

Nightbird in action
In June 2021 Paramount revealed that a live action film version of Nightbird (Michaela Jaé MJ Rodriguez) would appear in Rise of the Beasts.  In this trailer we finally get to see her in action along with her fellow Terrorcon Battletrap!  I really get a kick out of seeing a character who was written originally as a one off MacGuffin in G1 now becoming a full fledged character in a live action film!  Sure versions of Nightbird have appeared in comics such as the Legends comics from Takara Tomy, but this is a huge leap for the character!

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the trailer is the reveal that the primary antagonist of the film is not Scourge (Peter Dinklage), the leader of the Terrorcons but instead it is the planet gobbling menace, Unicron!  Based on the character who first appeared in 1986’s animated theatrical Transformers film, this not the character’s first appearance in live action.  In The Last Knight we learned that Earth had actually formed around the inert body of Unicron in the distant past, but during the events of that film Unicron was beginning to emerge from underneath the planet.  This plot point was never resolved, but one of the last shots of that film features one of Unicron’s horns in a desert.

Many fans have both been pleased and confused by Unicron’s appearance.  The character appears in his planet form near a ringed planet.  We also appear to get a look at his eyes as he talks to a servant (Scourge perhaps?).  This would seem to contradict that Unicron is the core of Earth itself.  However, it is important to remember that trailers can be cut in ways to represent plot points incorrectly, sometimes on purpose.  Indeed, it is not unheard of for Hollywood trailers to feature entire scenes that never actually appear in a film.   The more I watch this trailer, the more I wonder if the scenes we see of Unicron in space are flashbacks to another time (perhaps before Earth existed) and we will actually see a Unicron emerging from Earth.   Of course, that in itself kind of contradicts The Last Knight since that film showed Unicron emerging long after the events of this film.  For now, I will say it appears this is a contradiction, but I want to see the fully finished film before I judge.

Back in March 2023, Seibertron reported that Takara Tomy had posted character art of the previously unannounced Autobot, Stratosphere (John DiMaggio) on their site.  This appeared to feature an older looking Autobot who transformed into a large cargo plane.  This would not be the first time that a live action universe Autobot named Stratosphere has appeared in Transformers history.   In 2009, a toy was released of a Transformer who could transform into a military transport plane named Stratosphere.  He never appeared on screen however, existing only in comic books, a toy and a video game.  Now it appears the character is getting a second chance to appear on screen, and it would appear he’s in the trailer!  At one point, Bumblebee jumps out of a plane into battle and the shape of that vehicle looks very similar to Stratosphere’s character art!  It is fun to know that there are still some reveals yet to be seen from this film, even if they have yet to be officially announced. 

Beast Wars!
Towards the end of the trailer we see the Autobots and Maximals fighting against a horde of creatures (one bearing a resemblance to Scorponok).  It is a savage fight showing Optimus Primal literally using his teeth to tear into one enemy while Rhinox charges and smashes through several enemies (with Arcee played by Liza Koshy on his back to boot!).  For those who feared that the Maximals would only have minimal involvement in the film, this shows that at the very least they will be very present in combat!  There is also the question of whether or not these creatures are the Predacons.  While Scourge and his Terrorcons have gotten a lot of attention, scant news has been put out about Predacons in the film.  Maybe these creepy crawlies are the Predacons?

At the end of the trailer, Mirage (Pete Davidson) tosses Noah (Anthony Ramos) a device that begins to form armor on him (not too dissimilar from Iron Man’s armor in the Marvel movies).  The live action Transformers films have been filled with humans getting in the middle of combat but this will be the first time we see one of them wearing a suit like this!  This is also a fun callback to the 1986 animated film where fans were introduced to the concepts of an “Exo-Suit”.  I’m looking forward to seeing what capabilities this suit will demonstrate in the film!

Official Synopsis
Returning to the action and spectacle that have captured moviegoers around the world, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce a whole new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – to join them as allies in the existing battle for earth. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, the film arrives in theatres June 9, 2023.

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