Tonight we had the great pleasure of (virtually) attending Paramount Pictures production kickoff event for 2022’s Transformers. The event included a conversation with director Steven Caple Jr. and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura plus special appearances by stars Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback.
Here’s what we learned about the upcoming movie…
The event kicked off with the rousing theme from all the previous Transformers movies and a recap of the franchise to date. From toys, to cartoons and to the cultural sensation that we know today. A montage of moments from across the movie franchise before an ominous, on-screen caption tells fans that a new era is about to begin… this is the brand new Transformers legacy trailer.
Finding The Right Director
Moderator Anthony Breznican introduces franchise producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura who discusses why the franchise has been so successful. On Steven Caple Jr. he says “as we looked at what has been the most successful parts of the franchise it was delivering heart, comedy and action.” The producers specifically looked for a filmmaker who could get underneath the characters and make them relatable as well as the action. “We were hoping to find somebody who grew up with Transformers… with Steven that was the case.”
The studio had a script when they first met with Steven. Emotionally they already had an idea about where they wanted to go. “It’s been a great experience working with him as we’ve developed the script further.”
“Now again, we want to do another change up. We want a film which portrays the scale of Bay’s movies and the heart and character of Bumblebee.” says Bonaventura.
Bonaventura introduces Steven Caple Jr. He is on the set at the moment as he’s talking to us. Filming is now underway. He discusses his history with the franchise going all the way back to recording the original cartoon on VHS.
The Title & The Concept
The official title for Transformers 7 is Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Caple Jr. has always loved Beast Wars. Discussing the characters it’s discussed how they travelled through time and space to get to Earth.
Bonaventura talks about how the Maximals and the Autobots will be the ones left to save the Earth. The idea was how could they bring in new villains which we’ve never seen before.“There’s a large base of characters and a large base of fans of the different tribes of Transformers. You’ve got the Autobots and the Decepticons and now the Terracons are a new threat to this universe.”
“When the Terracons enter our movie you’re gonna feel it.” says Caple Jr.
Part of the film will be set in New York. The story will move on from there. We’re shown images from some of the backdrops which will form part of the movie. The main characters are from Brooklyn. The other location which they are happy to discuss with us is Peru.
Caple Jr. cites films like Indiana Jones and adventure movies where you go on a journey and learn about the locations and the history.
The time period for Rise of the Beasts was planned to be 1994. The producers wanted this film to be a progression from Bumblebee in 1987 but not have it overrun in to the Bay movies.
The Predacons are reptilian in nature. “We’ve seen a few in the other movies” says Caple Jr. but we’re seeing another side of them in this film. Caple Jr. is building a backstory to give them a personal agenda.
The Teracons and the Autobots are against each other. “There are Decaptacons in this movie”
Optimus Prime will remain the lead. His design for this film is based on his G1 form. Bonaventura says of Optimus “what we’ve done is bringing it back to where you see how he becomes what you’re familiar with” from the previous movies. Earth isn’t home to him yet. Peter Cullen will return to voice the character.
Bumblebee will be a classic Camero in this film. Caple Jr. calls this the “off-road Bumblebee special.” Parts of the robots off-road form will be seen in that standing form for a new visual take on the characters.
Mirage is also confirmed, “He’s an outlaw, he’s causing a little bit of trouble for Optimus” says Caple Jr. He will take the form of a Porsche.
Arcee will be a lead female Autobot. She’s an ally to Optimus and takes the form of a motorcycle.
Nightbird will be a Nissan GTR. She is the main villains right hand and this version has made her a vehicle for the first time. She still has ninja traits
Scourge will be the film’s main villain. He will be the leader of the Teracons. He steals the symbols from the robots he’s defeated and melds them on to his body as a trophy. His design looks very raw. He has a large claw arm and a lot of smoke coming off his body.
Airazor will also be in the films. She is the heart of the Maximals. She’s very rusty looking, aged. Caple Jr. says they’re playing with the idea of how long they have been on Earth.
Rhinox will also form part of the Maximals. Another aged looking design.
The leader of the Maximals is Optimus Primal. he takes the form of a large ape-like creature. He is not Optimus Prime. They exist as two different characters who are leaders that can have commonality and philosophical discussions.
Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback join the call. Dominique is playing Elena “an intelligent artefact researcher” at a museum. Her boss keeps taking credit for her work and she’s looking to strike out on her own. She is a New Yorker. Anthony plays Noah, he’s from Brooklyn and lives with his mother and brother. He’s the family father figure. He’s ex-military and has been trying to find his way since he came home. They come from a low income home. He’s amazing with electronics.
Anthony says Beast Wars was his Transformers cartoon growing up. He says there’s a plot point his won’t mention which made him want to throw the script across the room. Dominique says she is a newbie to Transformers. She recalls Shia LeBouf on Even Stevens and seeing him grow up to be in the Transformers movies.
Bonaventura praises both actors for their ability to get to the heart of their characters. Both actors came up early in the process and were “destined” to be part of the movie. Caple Jr. says he wanted great actors for this and actors who would have great chemistry.
The Transformers: Rise of the Beasts movie is set for release on June 24, 2022.
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