The teaser trailer for Steven Caple Jr.’s Transformers: Rise of the Beasts dropped on Thursday, and — by Primus! — it’s got more robots in it than you can shake a Power Booster Rod at!
Who are these robots? What do they convert into? Whose tusks gleam in the night? Allow us to answer all these questions and more with the exclamations they deserve! We’re not sorry we know this stuff!
That’s just Primes
Look, I’m not gonna condescend to you and tell you who Optimus Prime is. You know which one’s Optimus Prime! And this Optimus Prime is looking fresh out of his brief appearances in the 2018 Transformers spinoff prequel, Bumblebee. But for those of you who were born after 1995, that gorilla dude on the right is Optimus Primal (voiced by Ron Perlman). They’re different guys! Traditionally, Optimus Primal is around the size of a regular gorilla, aka generally human-sized. Judging by Primal’s size here, however, Rise of the Beasts seems to be taking after Optimus Primal’s original inspiration, King Kong!
(That’s precisely why the original Optimus Primal found himself facing off against Megatron as a Tyrannosaurus rex. It’s true!)
Later on in the trailer we see Optimus Primal in his robot mode wielding his two swords, combined at the hilts, just as the original gorilla Optimus Primal toy could! We also briefly see them attached to a chain, which seems to harken back to that toy’s mace weapon. There are lots of classic Beast Wars callbacks here.
But who’s that orange guy going toe-to-toe with Optimus Primal?
A familiar name
The orange-and-black tow truck is named Battletrap! You might remember a blue and gray Duocon named Battletrap from 1987, but this fella seems to be merely borrowing his name, as Transformers are wont to do. He’s a member of a new faction (again with an older name) called the Terrorcons. These guys are what Primal is referring to when he talks of a “coming darkness.” Battletrap is voiced by David Sobolov, who was the voice actor for Depth Charge way back in the Beast Wars cartoon!
We also see Battletrap in tow truck mode on a mountain highway firing missiles at a pair of Autobots. Now, who are they?
Red is the new pink, and vice versa
Arcee (Liza Koshy) and Wheeljack (Cristo Fernández) are returning from their extremely brief cameos in Bumblebee. Arcee looks very familiar in robot mode, though she now transforms into a red-and-white motorcycle. This movie takes place in the 1990s, so it seems like she’s got a decade or so to become the three (!) motorcycles she appears as for about two seconds before getting blown up in 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
That Volkswagen bus is Wheeljack! No, he’s not a red-and-green Lancia Stratos this time around. And we don’t get a good look at his robot mode here, other than one shot of his shoulder in the battle scene and a look at him from behind in a wide shot, but we know the bus is Wheeljack from Caple’s Instagram.
Fingers crossed for ears that glow as he talks.
There he is, my not-so-little guy!
The giant cheetah is, surprisingly, the Beast Wars kid-appeal character Cheetor! In one shot we see him next to Bumblebee, Generation One’s kid-appeal character. Bumblebee is in his new off-road form, and Cheetor is, again, very large. That seems to be a running theme for the Maximals in this movie. They’re just big!
We see Cheetor’s robot mode from behind for a split second in the giant battle scene toward the end of the trailer. He looks like he’s got a few Wolverine-style blades on his forearms!
Everything everywhere all at once
Speaking of big Maximals, we see a positively gigantic falcon barfing flames across a stony bridge. That’s Airazor, who’s voiced by Michelle Yeoh! (Hot dang! What a get!)
Elsewhere there’s a presumably similarly huge rhinoceros. That’s Rhinox, who, like Battletrap, is voiced by David Sobolov.
I don’t believe we see either of their robot modes in this teaser trailer. Gotta save something for the real trailer!
That’s all the beasts we saw, but who else do we have to get to?
By the end of this article, you will have been dated by Mirage
The white-and-blue robot we see in the preview clip and at the end of the teaser is Mirage (Pete Davidson). It might be a little confusing, since Mirage was an F1 racer in 1984 and his alternate mode in this film is essentially Jazz’s white-and-blue Porsche, but it’s definitely Mirage! He proves it by, well, creating a fleet of holographic decoys of himself in a high-speed chase in the middle of the teaser. That’s something a guy named Mirage would do, right?
Why isn’t Mirage an F1 racer? Look, F1 racers aren’t street legal. He’d drive like 5 feet on a regular road and then scuff himself up something terrible. Mirage clearly had no choice but to convert into a real car.
No, not Nemesis Prime
There’s another menacing robot we see just long enough for them to spear poor little Bumblebee through the torso! That’s Scourge (Peter Dinklage!!!), who’s the leader of the Terrorcons. He transforms into a Road Warrior’d-out semi truck. There have been lots of Transformers named Scourge over the years, but the one this guy seems most closely related to is the black-and-gray-and-more-gray-and-some-teal semi truck Scourge from 2001’s Robots in Disguise. That Scourge was an evil clone of Optimus Prime, and while this Scourge doesn’t look much like Optimus Prime, he does pick up the 2001 Scourge slack in the Bad Guy Leader and Semi Truck departments.
There’s one other Terrorcon we know of, Nightbird (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez), and while we don’t get any good looks at robots that are clearly a Nightbird, there are a few frames of purple blurs here and there! I’m guessing that’s Nightbird on the left. Generation One Nightbird was a ninja (who was built by Dr. Fujiyama to benefit humankind), so managing to slip in and out of this teaser trailer unseen is just her following her job description to the letter. We know she transforms into a black sports car with purple hubcaps, but that’s about it.
Professor and Mary-Anne and all the rest
There are some other robots in this trailer, but I don’t think they’re literally cannon fodder! Scourge is otherwise in charge of, like, two other Terrorcons, which isn’t all that dark of a “coming darkness,” so I’m guessing that all the random wiry little guys we see in the background of the giant battle scene getting flipped around on mountain highways are various nameless Terrorcon nobodies. The movie can feel free to give them all names and personalities it wants, though. And we will learn them.
We also know John DiMaggio is voicing a robot named Stratosphere, but I don’t see any evidence of any big ol’ jets!
A new darkness is coming in June, folks! Here’s hoping a big monkey can take it down.