With the release of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which was great, it’s time to revisit the messy and slightly confusing Transformers’ timeline. Rise of the Beasts and Bumblebee both contradict some of the facts presented in Micheal Bay’s Transformer movies, calling into question whether Bumblebee is actually a prequel to those films or some kind of a reboot.
Bumblebee is a reboot and marks the beginning of a new Transformers universe. The movie has many call backs to the previous films, but it does not connect directly to them. While the movie may have started as a prequel, it is now also a reboot.
Yes, I know it’s confusing, and you want to know how to watch these new movies. Let’s jump into the specifics.
Should you Watch Transformers before Bumblebee?
You do not have to watch all of Micheal Bay’s Transformer movies before watching Bumblebee. Bumblebee is set in 1987, 20 years before Transformers. It may have initially been a prequel to the 2007 film, but by the time it was released, this was not the case. The movie has many Easter eggs, as I mentioned, but it is clearly a different universe than the initial 5 movies. This is further reinforced by events in Rise of the Beasts, but that’s a different discussion.
As I mentioned in my review of Bumblebee, the movie doesn’t do a great job of providing background information on the Transformers and the surrounding world. Bee’s story is great, but the world building is lacking. For that reason, I would recommend watching at least a few of the previous Transformer movies to provide some background knowledge. You won’t miss anything crucial in Bumblebee, but you will miss a lot of the details that convinced people this wasn’t a reboot when the movie first came out.
Plus, the Transformers movies, especially the early ones, are really good action movies. Huge robots that have guns and can turn into cars, sign me up.
Should you Watch Bumblebee before Rise of the Beasts?
You should watch Bumblebee before Rise of the Beasts. It doesn’t drastically impact the story or change the way you will consume Rise of the Beasts, but it does provide a lot of information about Bumblebee and how the Autobots got to Earth in the first place. It serves as the very earliest Transformer’s movie to date, and also the only connection we have to Rise of the Beasts. With this being a two movie series currently, watching or rewatching Bumblebee before seeing Rise of The Beasts is not a large ask.
On a side note, if you are just watching Bumblebee and trying to figure out what to watch next, go see Rise of the Beasts. It’s the direct sequel in the timeline, and it’s a pretty awesome movie.
What is the Timeline for the New Transformer Movies?
The time for the new transformers movies is Bumblebee (2018) followed by Rise of The Beasts (2023). Both movies are set before any of the old Transformers movies, so it does leave room to spin some weird movie magic and making them all connect, but I don’t see it happening. In terms of future projects, very little has been confirmed. Rise of the Beasts is meant to be a trilogy, but much of that will hinge on Box Office numbers.
As well, there was talk of a Bumblebee 2, but that seems to be in the bin for now as the focus shifts back to the Autobots and their crusade. There was a 7 year gap left between Bumblebee and Rise of The Beasts, which leaves the door wide open to explain what happened to Bumblebee in those 7 years as well as what happened to Charlie Watson, the protagonist in Bumblebee. Her lack of participation in Rise of the Beasts suggests there is more than meets the eye in that story.