Director Steven Caple Jr. is right in the thick of the action as he follows in the footsteps of Michael Bay and Travis Knight by helming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the seventh installment in the franchise and one that could prove pivotal to the continued long-term viability of the brand.
Bumblebee may have been the only entry in the series so far to score almost unanimous critical praise, and it’s far away the best live-action Transformers film ever made, but a box office haul of $468 million was still viewed internally as a disappointment, and it could have been a lot worse were it not for an impressive $170 million showing in China.
Acting as a direct sequel to Bumblebee but a prequel to Bay’s five-film saga, Rise of the Beasts is in the unique position of following on from a fan favorite while still being part of the established mythos, without having to acknowledge the Bay era at all. Bringing Beast Wars into the mix could turn out to be an inspired move, one that leans into nostalgia while putting a fresh coat of paint on many aesthetic elements to have defined the Autobots and Decepticons so far.
Recent set photos showed that Mirage is getting a decidedly different look from his animated origins, but as you can see below in the latest batch of images, Optimus Prime is retaining his classic look, while Bumblebee is still the 1977 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie Watson.
There’s every reason to be cautiously optimistic about Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which could breathe new life into a franchise that was most definitely on the verge of running out of gas before Bumblebee came along, so let’s hope the resurgence continues.