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Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts - What We Know So Far

The "Transformers" franchise has had a rattle under its hood for some time. Sure, it's a multibillion dollar sensation thanks to its can't-lose combination of fast cars, low-angle cameras, and robots that both rock 'em and sock 'em, but some fans feel that the spectacle has gotten stale. The first five movies in the series, while immensely financially successful, have traditionally caused critics to drive their special light-up pens into their own thigh meat in a desperate bid to feel anything.

In 2018, the series took an unexpected turn with "Bumblebee," which saw Michael Bay stepping away from the director's chair for the first time. The result was a series-first Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and just shy of half a billion dollars at the box office.

As a result, the big screen "Transformers" universe appears set to forge ahead on a new path, less confined to the narrative of the films that came before and more focused on building something new. Case in point: "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts," the recently announced seventh movie in the series, helmed by "Creed II" director Steven Caple Jr. So far, we can confirm that the sequel will feature beasts, presumably of the rising variety. But what else do we know?

When will Transformers: Rise of the Beasts hit theaters?

Up until "Bumblebee's" December release date, the "Transformers" movies had always been big summer blockbusters — something about giant robots punching each other to death while a color-corrected Shia LaBeouf breathed through his mouth just didn't mesh with awards season, which is a shame. That scene from the first entry in the series where Bumblebee tinkles on John Turturro was a lot of aspiring filmmakers' "Synecdoche, New York."

"Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" is currently lined up to continue in the tradition of earlier "Transformers" films, hoping to retake the summer box office with a tentative June 24, 2022 release date.

Movie premieres are nebulous business, and everything is still very much up in the air. That said, if Paramount holds steady, "Rise of the Beasts" will see some stiff competition. June of 2022 is currently thick with highly anticipated releases like "Jurassic World: Dominion," Pixar's "Lightyear," and Tom Hanks' Elvis biopic. Add the potential for strong May holdovers like "John Wick 4," "Thor: Love and Thunder," and "Mission Impossible 7," and all signs point to a barn burner at the box office.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts already has a stellar cast

First thing's first: Yes, Peter Cullen will be back to play Optimus Prime. It was a close call — he's only voiced the leader of the Autobots in six live-action movies, the animated film from the '80s, and the majority of the television series and video games associated with the franchise — but the production managed to pull it off.

He won't be alone in his duties as a robotic leader of heroes. According to Collider, the Maximals — Transformers who take the form of animals, as seen in the '90s animated series "Best Wars" — will be headed by Optimus Primal, voiced by none other than Ron Perlman, perhaps the only man in Hollywood capable of going toe-to-toe with Cullen in an ominous-baritone-voice-off.

On the fleshy human side of things, "Rise of the Beasts" is bringing a fresh cast of faces into the fold. Hot off the success of "In The Heights," Anthony Ramos joins the film as Noah, a character that he described to Deadline as an electronics expert with "will to never quit, in spite of all the crazy things life is throwing at him." He's joined by Dominique Fishback of "Judas and the Black Messiah" as museum researcher Elena, and Lauren Vélez from "Dexter as Noah's mom.

What's the plot of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts?

"Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" is still a ways out, but we've had some hints as to what the Autobots will be up to this time around.

Following in the footsteps of "Bumblebee," the new "Transformers" movie is a period piece, set in the far-off past of 1994. While it appears that the story kicks off in Brooklyn, it will also pay tribute to its predecessors' globetrotting roots, taking its heroes to locations like Machu Picchu. It's also been established, as previously mentioned, that the sequel/prequel/maybe sort of reboot will serve as a proper introduction for not just the heroic Maximals, but also their sworn enemies the Predacons. "...in our film, they're these prehistoric animals that travel through time and space, and we find them here on Earth," Caple told Deadline. Additionally, long-time fans can look forward to the addition of the Terrorcons, the occasionally shambling undead of the robot car community.

More information on "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" is sure to roll out as production continues, so make sure to check back soon for further updates.