A new collection of Transformers movies are set to roll out in the next few years, including a new live-action film Transformers: Rise of the Beasts that is set to be a soft reboot of the blockbuster franchise. Joining the latest live-action film is a brand-new and currently untitled animated Transformers film that is set to hit theaters on July 19, 2024. The details of this film have been scarce since its announcement in January 2022, but it was confirmed when it was announced in April 2020 that the film would be a prequel directed by Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley. With the film being a prequel, there have been murmurs that it could be taking place on Cybertron, the home planet of the Transformers. Collider‘s own Steve Weintraub had the chance to interview Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer of both the upcoming animated film and Rise of the Beasts, to discuss the new live-action film but also gained some new insights about the animated film as well, directly asking if fans will be seeing Cybertron in the film. di Bonaventura confirmed that the planet will be seen as the film is set to explore the origins of not just major characters like Optimus Prime and Megatron, but serve as an “origin story of all Transformers.”
During the interview, Weintraub asked if the rumors of the film being set on Cybertron is true and if there was anything that di Bonaventura could tease about the film. di Bonaventura replies that he could do more than tease and revealed large details about the film, including that Cybertron will be the film’s setting and play a massive role in the origins of these fan-favorite characters. He told us:
“I could tell you really important parts of this story, which is more than a tease. This is something we were trying to do; we debated a lot about it in live action, and it just was financially impossible to do, which is, the origin story of young Megatron and young Optimus. If you know the origin, they started as friends, and over time things devolved for them and they ended up on two sides. So we’re telling the young Optimus and the young Megatron story. We really are telling the origin story of all Transformers, both what they were at the beginning of it, to how they grow, to how they grow apart.”
di Bonaventura goes on to say that he believes the story they want to tell is a “natural trilogy” with more films already planned beyond this first one.
“We’re hoping that there is enough emotional construct to that, that would lead to a trilogy of it because, personally, I think there’s a natural trilogy. I’m not always looking to do multiple movies, but there’s a natural trilogy around their relationship. So, you’re going to see Cybertron in a way you’ve never seen it, that no one’s ever seen it before. Because we’re doing an animation, we’re allowed to really go all out. If you tried to make this live-action, it would probably be a billion-dollar movie or something.”
He continues by comparing the fall of Cybertron to Superman and the destruction of Krypton and says that the Optimus Prime and Megatron that viewers meet in this film won’t be the same characters that have been seen throughout the years as they are still growing and becoming the people (robots?) that viewers known them as.
“You’re going to see a lot of the origins of the society, and what broke it apart. The analogy for me is a bit like Krypton when you saw the planet falling apart, and all that. We’re not there for a short time, we’re there the entire time of the movie, we’re on Cybertron, but we are in the challenge that, if you know the lore, they begin to question the hierarchy of how their society has gotten stratified, and how the common man doesn’t have the voice, entirely, that they want to have. We’re following very true to the origin story of it, and so it’s really fun, too, because I’ve gotten to see some of it – it’s not fully executed by any stretch of the imagination, but hearing Optimus and Megatron not as who we know them as, which we see their maturation in this experience. So, in a sense, you’re hearing a different character because you’re hearing them before they have matured.”
di Bonaventura closes out this extended teaser by confirming that the film won’t be a “coming-of age-story,” but it will see these young men grow into the people they must become, saying:
“It’s not a coming-of-age story. I don’t think you’d believe that, in a way, but I would say they’re young men who are finding their path. Like I said, it’s more than a tease, that’s what the story is, and that’s the experience you’re going to go through. And how they question society, just like all of us, too, could question our society. We’re maybe not as strong as Megatron and Optimus, so maybe we wouldn’t make the same choices, but I think it’s really going to be an eye-opener for the fans. For the non-fans, you’re going to get to meet the characters in their early formation.”
With the possibility that this film could spawn into a trilogy, di Bonaventura went on to discuss how that could work. While it seems like they have plans for where the story could go, they also seem very focused on ensuring the first film is successful. He explained:
“I would say this, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about two and three because it’s always hard to do one well. But there is a natural trilogy coming out of this friendship where you can see the divisions and the possible attractions to each other, and why that should play out over three movies, is very natural. So we have a good sense in the broadest terms, but in the broadest terms, we know what the second movie would be about and the third movie would be about through the eyes of what this relationship’s going through. So the exact plotting, we haven’t worked on that, but how that relationship evolves, devolves, evolves, devolves, all that stuff, that’s what’s going to drive it if we get lucky, if the first one’s a success.”
The Long Wait For A New Animated Transformers Movie
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, while being live-action, is taking heavy inspiration from the Beast Wars animated series that ran from 1996 to 1999. Animation has played a huge part in the Transformers franchise, but the wait for a new feature film in the medium has been a long one. While there have been several animated series in the last few decades, with the most recent one being Transformers: Earthspark on Nickelodeon and Paramount+, the film space has been dominated by live-action films spearheaded by Michael Bay. While Rise of the Beasts will be the first live-action film since 2018’s spin-off Bumblebee, the untitled Transformers prequel will be the first animated movie in the franchise since The Transformers: The Movie, which was released in 1986.
The untitled animated Transformers film is set to release in theaters on July 19, 2024.