Warning: mild SPOILERS for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts are in play. If you haven’t taken this latest ride with Optimus Prime just yet, you’ve been warned.
Seven movies into the Transformers saga, the lore has been pretty well built up to this point. The war between Autobots and Decepticons, and the longing to get back home to their planet Cybertron, has been richly woven into both sides of the timeline, connecting the Michael Bay movies to the current series of period piece throwbacks. But when it came time to leave his own stamp on the canon with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, director Steven Caple Jr. dug deep and laid down a pretty huge easter egg, and it's something that he thinks die-hard fans will love to no end.
While attending the press day for Paramount’s new summer blockbuster, I was able to sit down with the man himself to ask which reference made him the most proud. As an admitted fan of the Beast Wars saga, as well as a Transformers fan in general, Caple Jr. went hard with his choice for favorite easter egg. Telling CinemaBlend about that selection, and why it’s such a big deal, Steven geeked out about including Primus into the Rise of the Beasts’ sci-fi movie storyline:
It’s a big one, because it involves a bigger question. There’s a moment where Scourge is standing over Prime, and about to kill Prime, and he says, ‘Primus would be ashamed.’ And I feel like for the real ‘fan’ fans they’re like, ‘Primus? Did he say Primus?’ And just the idea that Primus can exist in this big world, and it’s their creator, just stepping into that world more and deeper into the mythology was a huge one for me. Even though it’s just a small nugget, it’s just like, what else is there to explore? The fans know what I’m talkin’ about.
For those of you who don’t know who Primus is, I’ll provide a simple rundown on why this is such a big deal in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. If you really want to go deep on this subject, I’d suggest consulting the Transformers Wiki to go a little further in your studies. The short short version is that Primus is basically the “creator-god” of all Cybertronians.
On top of that, he actually transformed himself into the planet of Cybertron, may be the ancestor of Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) himself and has a part of his essence in the Matrix of Leadership. You can begin to see how much of a big deal Primus is to the world of Transformers lore just in that last sentence alone.
You can also see that Scourge (Peter Dinklage) is hitting pretty hard with that comment, presuming he’s about to kill Optimus Prime in their battle on Ellis Island when he says this. Insulting Optimus’ lineage, as well as his faith, is going pretty hard for a first act conflict, but that’s just the kind of Terrorcon that Scourge is.
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The greater impact the inclusion of Primus lore has on Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is that it gives the film one of its most powerful callbacks. Throughout the rest of the movie, a recurring phrase is built into the fabric of Steven Caple Jr’s movie, “‘Til all are one.” It’s a rallying cry that has been interpreted in many ways, with Rise of the Beasts seeing it used as a bridge between Maximal, Autobot and human alike.
However, that phrase in itself is another deep cut easter egg, as it originated in one of the most powerful Transformers moments in history: the death of Optimus Prime. As you’ll see in the clip below from 1986’s The Transformers: The Movie, the Prime we all know and love dropped that adage when he slipped his mortal coil:
The ties that bind Transformers: Rise of the Beasts to its source material, and its cinematic predecessors, run pretty strong. If audiences make this next chapter a box office champion, what’s been laid down in this story could be a pretty huge launching pad for the future.
Maybe even Primus himself could appear in a later installment, which, considering Rise of the Beasts’ impressive cast, could see another commanding actor join the Transformers ranks. It would also be a challenge for Steven Caple Jr., as if he returns for this hypothetical sequel too, the easter eggs he and his team could weave in this time around could be massive.
This weekend's reactions will be interesting to monitor, as the critical reaction to Rise of the Beasts has been a rather mixed bag. Now you the audience can decide, as the latest from the Transformers factory showroom is rolling out to a theater near you, so you’d better be ready.
While you don’t need to revisit every previous chapter before this new adventure, it’s advised to at the very least watch Bumblebee as a refresher. However hard you choose to go into the Cybertronian paint, know that all you need is a Paramount+ subscription to get the job done.