Those who have seen trailers for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts may have noticed there are some very different-looking Transformers hitting screens in the latest franchise installment. The usual Autobots and Decepticons are there, with familiar faces such as Optimus Prime and Bumblebee once again joining the fray. But there are also some animalistic Transformers, as well as some wicked-looking ones, and a number of brand-new faces.
Even though Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a prequel set in the ’90s, there’s a lot going on here. New storylines that were never touched upon in the movie franchise before this are at play. So who are these new Transformers and how do they fit into the lore? Let’s break it down.
The Maximals are a race of evolved beast-robot hybrids who live on a jungle planet. They are led by the fierce and noble ape-robot hybrid Optimus Primal. On their planet, they hide a powerful piece of technology known as the Transwarp Key, which creates portals through space and time. As the descendants of the Autobots, the Maximals are aligned in their values with their predecessors. They are a relatively peaceful and democratically-minded race, though they’re not without their flaws.
The Terrorcons are the enemies of the Maximals. Led by a Terrorcon by the name of Scourge, the Terrorcons are the heralds of Unicron, a planet-devouring god similar to Galactus in Marvel lore. They are on a mission to secure the Transwarp Key for their dark master. Unsurprisingly, the Terrorcons are often allied with the Decepticons, for both groups love warfare and have few scruples.
The Predacons don’t feature quite as much in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, as the main action focuses on the previous two groups, but they still play a part. The Predacons are actually an offshoot of the Decepticons, and are Transformers who can transform into vicious, predatory animals. In essence, they are the dark mirror to the Maximals. Scorponok, a Decepticon who turns into a deadly scorpion, is the most prominently featured in the movie, though in a non-speaking role.
There is only one Unicron and he is, quite literally, an eater of worlds. While he originally started out as merely a planet-sized robot, Unicron has evolved in the Transformers canon to become something closer to a god of chaos and destruction, who exists by consuming entire planets and realities. This is the role he plays in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, with his intent first to destroy the Maximals’ home planet, then Earth. He appeared briefly in 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight, emerging from the Earth, but he was never fully revealed and was, for the time being, contained. As a prequel movie, Rise of the Beasts will be the first time audiences truly see Unicron in action.