Rise Of The Beasts Is Properly Breaking Transformers’ Movie Timeline (& That’s Okay)

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is setting up a new Transformers movie timeline, and that is ultimately the franchise’s best option. When it comes to toys of the ’80s, few have established as much of a lasting legacy as Hasbro’s Transformers brand. After many animated and comic book iterations, the Autobots and Decepticons finally hit cinema screens in live-action in 2007’s Transformers. Directed by Michael Bay, the success of Transformers would lead to four sequels, also helmed by Bay, while the 2018 movie Bumblebee ambiguously straddled the line between prequel and reboot.
The upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has shown itself cut from Bumblebee’s cloth of being a nostalgic throwback, with the movie set in 1994 and looking to follow Bumblebee’s timeline. While this means that the Transformers movie timeline established in the Michael Bay films is not being continued, the tone of both shows that a direct connection to Bay’s Transformers movies simply would not work. With that said, Rise of the Beasts is also opening new doors for the Transformers movies that Bay’s more self-contained franchise would have had more trouble establishing, ultimately to its benefit.
Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts Contradicts The Movie Timeline
Among the numerous hints that Rise of the Beasts starts a new Transformers timeline, the presentation of the villainous Unicorn is perhaps the most compelling. Unicron previously was worked into 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight, which would establish that Unicron’s remains are within the Earth itself. However, Rise of the Beasts completely contradicts this idea by bringing its own active version of Unicron into play. With the movie set in 1994, it effectively cuts it off from the timeline of the original Transformers franchise.
Additionally, 2018’s Bumblebee also would act as a new story of the Autobots’s arrival on Earth, establishing their arrival in 1987 as opposed to 2007 in the first Transformers movie. While this could have been retooled into an origin retcon had further Transformers movies sought to connect Bumblebee with the Michael Bay films, the timeline being established by Rises of the Beasts and its 1994 clearly synchs up much better with what Bumblebee set up and brings all new Autobot origins with it. With other elements showing the new timeline of Rise of the Beasts, it is clear that it is not in continuity with the Michael Bay-directed Transformers movies.
Why Transformers Ignoring Movie Continuity Is A Good Thing
While the Transformers franchise may not be continuing from where Bay’s films left off, that does not necessarily hurt the prospects of Rise of the Beasts. The Transformers franchise has maintained a strong presence in the public consciousness since the ’80s, with multiple iterations and interpretations of the Autobots and Decepticons in that time. Other Transformers iterations, like the Beast Machines series, have established new timelines and backstories for their characters, and often, the Transformers toy line itself tends to influence the latest development in the larger franchise greatly.
The Transformers movies themselves are just the latest example of this and could set up new possibilities for the Transformers franchise cinematically. One particularly exciting scenario could be Transformers having a big-screen crossover with the G.I. Joe franchise, which has happened in numerous comic book stories and could be the ultimate dream scenario for both toy brands on the big screen. Unfortunately, the original Transformers movie franchise was not established in a way for such a crossover to be feasible, so opening doors such as these could be where Rise of the Beasts is headed.
Transformers Could Only Continue By Leaving Its Past Behind
While Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise would become a box office juggernaut with two billion dollar hits in Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers: The Last Knight would become the first underperformer of the series. While Bumblebee would become a modest hit in 2018, its widely positive reception would demonstrate the viability of the Transformers movie franchise but also require it to pick a lane in terms of future stories. In the end, Rise of the Beasts, to follow Bumblebee’s continuity, presents new possibilities for unexplored stories and new characters in the Transformers universe, including the aforementioned G.I. Joe crossover.
Moreover, with Bumblebee and Rise of the Beasts heavily built upon the warm nostalgia of the Transformers ’80s and ’90s toy line origins, trying to link them to the 21st sensibilities of the Bay films would be an arguably unworkable prospect that would do neither Transformers movie series any favors. Moreover, with Bay still actively involved as a producer on Rise of the Beasts, Bay is still helping plan the Transformers franchise and effectively sanctioning the new direction for Transformers on film. Ultimately, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts could only work as a new take on the Transformers franchise, and that is for the best for both.

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