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What is Beast Wars, the Show That Inspired Transformers: Rise of the Beasts?

The new film is based on an animated series that ran in the '90s

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beast wars transformers
Beast Wars: Transformers (Claster Television)

    The Transformers franchise just revealed the trailer for Rise of the Beastsits latest movie with new characters modeled not after cars, but nature. That premise may seem surprising, but Rise of the Beasts actually got its story from Beast Wars: Transformers, an animated series that dates back to 1996.

    The new trailer introduces audiences to Maximals, Autobots, Predacons, Decepticons, and Terrorcons, but what actually are all these beasts? Scroll onward to learn the Transformers lore before Rise of the Beasts hits theaters June 9th.

    What is Transformers: Rise of the Beasts?

    Rise of the Beasts is the follow up to the 2018 Transformers film Bumblebee. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and written by a team including Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber, the film is set in 1994 Brooklyn, where a pair of archaeologists find themselves in the crossfire of the battle between Transformers factions the Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons. Peter Cullen voices Optimus Prime, iconic leader of the Autobots (see: cars), but the new movie also features other robotic species first introduced in Beast Wars. 

    What is Beast Wars: Transformers?

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    Beast Wars was an animated series that ran on the Canadian network YTV from 1996 to 1999. The show was set 300 years in the future from the original Transformers toy line. The Maximals were descendants of the Autobots (good guys), while the Predacons were descendants of the Decepticons (bad guys). While in battle, members of both factions crashed onto an unknown planet, and Beast Wars depicts their attempts to survive unfamiliar territory while also battling for species supremacy.

    Who Are the Characters in Beast Wars?

    Optimus Primal, seen in the Rise of the Beasts trailer as a big ape voiced by Ron Perlman, leads the Maximals, who are based on mammals, birds, and fish. Meanwhile, Megatron leads the Predacons, who are usually reptiles, amphibians, or invertebrates. Finally, Hun-Gurrr leads the Terrorcons, a group of five Decepticons who transform into monsters.

    Who Are the Characters in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts?

    In addition to Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal, Peter Dinklage voices Scourge, the modern leader of the Terrorcons who transforms into a semi truck. The Autobot Bumblebee returns as a Chevy Camaro, Pete Davidson voices the Autobot spy/blue Porsche Mirage, Cristo Fernández plays the Autobot bus Wheeljack, and Liza Koshy voices Autobot commando/motorcycle Arcee.

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    On the flip side, Michelle Yeoh voices the Maximal falcon Airazor. The Maximal Cheetor looks, course, like a Cheetah. David Sobolov pulls double duty as the rhinoceros Maxmial Rhinox and the Terrorcon tow truck Battlecon, while Michaela Jaé Rodriguez voices the Terrorcon Nightbird.

    Watch the trailer for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts below. The beasts officially head into battle on June 9th, 2023.

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