"Transformers" is going into Beast Mode. Look out Brooklyn.
On Tuesday, director Steven Caple Jr. and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura shared major changes coming to the seventh installment of the mega-franchise during a virtual event Tuesday to mark the beginning of production.
The battle is moving to 1994 Brooklyn, New York, for the new film titled "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts," featuring new humans stars Anthony Ramos ("In the Heights") and Dominique Fishback ("Judas the Black Messiah").
"Rise of the Beasts" will bring back fan favorite leader Optimus Prime and introduce characters from "Beast Wars," the 1990s "Transformers" animated series, into the long-running Earth movie battle between the Autobots and evil Decepticons.
"There are different breeds of Transformers," said Caple Jr.
Prepare for Maximals, creature-like descendants of the world-protecting Autobots, Predacons, descendants of the evil Decepticons and a new movie villain Terrorcons. These combatants will bring the boom to Brooklyn.
"There are prehistoric animals that travel through time and space, powerful beasts," Caple Jr. added. "That's something new we're dropping onto the table. There are some dope characters that I'm going to introduce."
"We get to pair everybody up against each other," vowed Di Bonaventura. "So it becomes a grand finale epic 'Transformers' experience."
From new and returning characters, to more iconic "Transformers" battles, here's what fans can expect in the "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts," coming June 24, 2022.
Every 'Transformers' movie: (Including 'Bumblebee'), definitively ranked
Terrorcons bring new flare, new damage in 'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts'
The new film will feature the ongoing battle between Autobots and Decepticons, but add what Caple Jr. calls "a new flare to the whole thing" – the Terrorcons.
"When (the Terrorcons) disrupt our movie, you're going to feel it," he said.
Decepticons will do their villainous damage, as usual.
"But it's really Terrorcons who are the leading villains," said Di Bonaventura.
These Terrorcons include the fierce Nightbird, a Nissan GTR, and Scourge.
Optimus Prime and new-look Bumblebee to return
Autobot leader Optimus Prime will return as the main hero, with long-time voice actor Peter Cullen. "There was no discussion without him," said Di Bonaventura. "Peter's aboard."
The movie will serve as a backstory to the hero, giving the origins of his Earth-protecting ethos. "I want to discover more about Optimus Prime, dig under the metal," said Caple Jr.
The film will also feature an off-road Camaro look at fan-favorite Bumblebee. "We’ve never done an off-road version of a Transformer. So new territory," said Di Bonaventura.
Other featured Autobots will include the rebel Mirage, who transforms to a Porsche 911.
Fans will see more of the female Transformer Arcee after first appearing in 2018's "Bumblebee," transforming to a Ducati 916. "I saw a glimpse of her in 'Bumblebee,' I wanted to see more of her," said Caple Jr.
Maximals will introduce Optimus Primal
The prehistoric Maximals will provide a new protecting force on earth, with its fierce-yet-sage leader Optimus Primal, the fatherly figure of the group.
"Optimus Prime can have philosophical conversations with Optimus Primal," said Di Bonaventura. "They are on the same plane."
The group will also include an armored rhino type, Rhinox, who "just wants to ram stuff," he added. "He wants to use that horn. I think he'll be a fan-favorite."
The Maximals will battle with their natural enemy the Predacons. "They're more reptilian in nature, we've seen them in other 'Transformers' movies, but I really wanted to focus in on them," said Caple Jr.
Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback: Brooklyn cred, working on driving
Brooklynites Ramos and Fishback bring credibility to the "Rise of the Beasts" 1994 Brooklyn backdrop.
"As soon as the movie starts, you're goin to feel the hip hop culture, you're going to feel Brooklyn," said Caple Jr. "We're trying to recreate that era. We're going to have a great soundtrack."
Ramos will play Noah, an electronics wizard who was formerly in the military. Fishback describes her character Elena as a "researcher of artifacts."
Being born and raised in Brooklyn, from which both stars hail, will ultimately be crucial for authenticity in the film. But it does have its drawbacks for the vehicle-heavy "Transformers" series. Neither Ramos nor Fishback had much experience actually driving cars living in the public transport-heavy city.
"I’m supposed to learn how to drive on a 'Transformers' film, I don’t know how to drive. That's authentic New York for you," said Fishback, who added that she's in the driving instruction process.
Ramos said he too was in the fledgling driver phase.
"I literally got my license for this film. Two weeks ago," he said. "That is the most New York thing about this film."
'Transformers' will travel to Machu Picchu
The film will travel to Peru's famed 15th century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. It's not going to be easy trekking to the famed mountainous region where Caple Jr. and the cast will shoot for six weeks.
"We're pulling our hairs out" trying to bring the equipment to the location, Caple Jr. said.
"It’s a task to get there. But it is a magical place," he said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Transformers': Brooklyn-born stars are just learning to drive cars