Bumblebee’ (which was a delight) aside, if you wondered what a full-scale ‘Transformers’ movie without Michael Bay in the director’s chair would look like, now we have a full answer.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ is headed our way next year, with ‘Creed II’s Steven Caple Jr. marshalling the mechanical madness this time around.

The setting is 1994 (so we’re technically still in prequel territory but later in the timeline than ‘Bumblebee’) and we’re promised a globetrotting adventure from Brooklyn to Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Tarapoto, San Martín that introduces the Maximals (transformers who have animals as their alternate forms), the Predacons and the Terrorcons.

'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.'

'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.' Photo: Paramount Pictures.

Who are these new arrivals that will somehow go without mention once Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and his Autobots reach the first Bay movie’s time? Let’s look…

Ron Perlman voices Optimus Primal, the gorilla-formed leader of the Maximals, backed up by Airazor (Michelle Yeoh), Rhinox (David Solobov) and Cheetor (who has no voice credit, and may not speak in the film).

The threatening Terrorcons meanwhile, include Scourge (Peter Dinklage), Nightbird (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez) and Battletrap (David Sobolov, cashing another paycheck and literally playing both sides). We don’t yet have voice information for the Predacons, but then Paramount has to have something still to announce.

Prime’s Autobots include the likes of Bumblebee (traditionally using his radio to communicate), Mirage (Pete Davidson), Arcee (Liza Koshy, Wheeljack (Cristo Fernández) and Stratosphere (John DiMaggio).

Caught in the middle of the conflict as always are some humans, and this time they include Noah (Anthony Ramos), Elena (Dominique Fishback), Noah’s mother (Luna Lauren Velez) and the rather unfortunately named Reek (Tobe Nwigwe).

(L to R) Lady Gaga and Anthony Ramos in 'A Star is Born'

(L to R) Lady Gaga and Anthony Ramos in 'A Star is Born'

What is mostly being kept shrouded in robotic mystery for now is the exact plot, though with the ‘Transformers’ movies, that’s rarely been the most important element, taking second place to huge robots smacking the bolts out of each other. This first full glimpse at the new offering focuses a lot more on action rather than dialogue, besides Perlman’s Primal nodding towards a threat from Prime’s past and future.

So we can naturally expect a lot of battle between the various robo-factions, partly inspired by the ‘Transformers: Beast Wars’ cartoons. “What’s interesting about Transformers overall is that there are different breeds, different insignias, and different groups, and ‘Beast Wars’ happens to be one of them. There were these robots whose disguise was animal form, and we have them in our film,” Caple Jr. explained to Collider. “In our film, they’re these prehistoric animals that travel through time and space, and we find them here on Earth.”

And, as seemingly in keeping with this giant franchise (and other blockbusters), the script has a variety of names attached to it––Joby Harold and Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters and Erich Hoeber & Jon Hoeber are all credited here. Let’s hope they’ve transformed the screenplay into something fun.

Most importantly, perhaps, for any new audience members, it doesn’t require extensive knowledge of the previous movies.

‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ is due to roar into theaters on June 9th, 2023.

'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts' poster.

'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts' poster. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.