Transformers Animated Film Is An Origin Story Set On Cybertron, Could Start New Trilogy

It's been five years since a "Transformers" movie graced our screens with 2018's "Bumblebee," which turned out to be a real winner critically following the massive disappointment of 2017's "The Last Knight." Universal Pictures and Hasbro have no intention of making fans wait that long again. Not only do we have the live-action "Rise of the Beasts" arriving in 2023, but we've also got an as-of-yet untitled animated film focused on the Autobots and Decepticons coming our way in 2024. Now, we finally know what it's going to be about, and it's going to take place on Cybertron.

The information comes to us from the folks at Collider, who recently spoke with longtime franchise producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. The producer confirmed that director Josh Cooley, of "Toy Story 4" fame, is indeed making a prequel set on Cybertron, with the film serving as an origin story of sorts for Optimus Prime and Megatron. Here's what he had to say about it:

"We debated a lot about it in live action, and it just was financially impossible to do, which is, the origin story of young Megatron and young Optimus. If you know the origin, they started as friends, and over time things devolved for them and they ended up on two sides. So we're telling the young Optimus and the young Megatron story. We really are telling the origin story of all Transformers, both what they were at the beginning of it, to how they grow, to how they grow apart."

A possible new Transformers trilogy

Very little has been revealed about this movie since it was originally announced in 2020, so it's nice to get a meaningful update, as well as confirmation that it is actually still happening. It's also interesting to learn that we'll be spending so much time on Cybertron, which is a departure. "Bumblebee" opened with an impressive sequence on the planet, but it was mere minutes long and far from a feature. 

But Lorenzo di Bonaventura didn't stop there! The producer also teased that there's much more than a single movie's worth of story to mine. So, if this first one succeeds, it could jumpstart an animated "Transformers" movie trilogy:

"We're hoping that there is enough emotional construct to that, that would lead to a trilogy of it because, personally, I think there's a natural trilogy. I'm not always looking to do multiple movies, but there's a natural trilogy around their relationship. So, you're going to see Cybertron in a way you've never seen it, that no one's ever seen it before. Because we're doing an animation, we're allowed to really go all out. If you tried to make this live-action, it would probably be a billion-dollar movie or something."

Given that the "Transformers" movies have generated a hugely impressive $4.84 billion at the box office, it makes sense to try and expand the scope of it with theatrical animation. And, not for nothing, the films did technically start with "Transformers: The Movie" in 1986. Beyond that, we've seen big franchises do very well with big screen animation recently, with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" serving as the most prominent example. That, in turn, has paved the way for stuff like this summer's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem." So, why not Optimus Prime and the gang?

The fall of Cybertron, much like Krypton

Thanks to the "Transformers" comics, animated shows, and other media from over the years, there's no shortage of lore to explore in a proposed trilogy such as this. Not for nothing, but this doesn't sound all that dissimilar from what Netflix did with the "Transformers: War for Cybertron" trilogy. Those three seasons of TV were, for my money, quite good, essentially playing like movies and covering the fall of Cybertron (among other things). Blowing something like that up on the big screen and making it look like a billion dollars? Now we're talking!

Lastly, Lorenzo di Bonaventura made a pretty interesting comparison, likening the story of Cybertron to that of Krypton from the "Superman" mythology:

"You're going to see a lot of the origins of the society, and what broke it apart. The analogy for me is a bit like Krypton when you saw the planet falling apart, and all that. We're not there for a short time, we're there the entire time of the movie, we're on Cybertron, but we are in the challenge that, if you know the lore, they begin to question the hierarchy of how their society has gotten stratified, and how the common man doesn't have the voice, entirely, that they want to have. We're following very true to the origin story of it, and so it's really fun, too, because I've gotten to see some of it — it's not fully executed by any stretch of the imagination, but hearing Optimus and Megatron not as who we know them as, which we see their maturation in this experience. So, in a sense, you're hearing a different character because you're hearing them before they have matured."

The untitled animated "Transformers" movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters on July 19, 2024.