‘Transformers Rise of the Beasts’ Easter Eggs


The Big Picture

  • Scourge collects emblem medals from his defeated foes, including well-known factions like the Decepticons and Autobots.
  • The appearance of Apelinq in the movie is a deep cut from Transformers lore, taken from an obscure corner of the franchise.
  • The inclusion of Unicron’s original music from the 1986 Transformers movie adds a nostalgic touch to Rise of the Beasts.

The Autobots and transforming robots of the Transformers franchise returned last summer with a new take on the franchise, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. While not everyone’s cup of tea, Rise of the Beasts has no shortage of familiar Easter eggs that many keen-eyed fans and longtime veterans of the Transformers franchise will notice. Here are some of the more prominent Easter eggs we detected and want to spotlight for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

During the ’90s, a new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – join the Autobots as allies in the battle for Earth.

Release Date
June 9, 2023

127 minutes

Scourge’s Collection of Emblem Medals

Terrorcon leader Scourge looks out at the battlefield in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Image via Paramount Pictures

In Rise of the Beasts, Scourge is a Terrorcon in service to the planet-eating, multiverse destroyer known as Unicron, the franchise’s longtime foe of the Autobots. Scourge (Peter Dinklage) appears to act much like Galactus’ heralds. He scouts and finds other planets for his master to devour and eliminates any opposition, making the planet ready for his master to feed upon. The prologue of Rise of the Beasts shows that Scourge takes the faction emblem medals from his foes, or rather, his prey, starting with the Maximal leader Apelinq (David Sobolov). In addition, it’s shown that Scourge has amassed quite a collection of emblem medals, and some of them are incredibly familiar.

Essentially, Scourge collects the insignia emblems of the various Cybertronians or sentient robots he kills as his trophies. By the start of Rise of the Beasts, he’s already got quite a few. Going by the insignia medals he’s collected, he’s vanquished many foes. Noticeable among the insignias are the emblems of the Decepticons, the Maximals, the Autobots, the Mercenaries, the Autobot Wreckers, and the Predacons. Much like the Maximals are the future descendants of the Autobots, the Predacons are traditionally the bestial descendants of the Decepticons. The Maximal and Predacon factions made their formal debuts in the Beast Wars series, which is set in the same continuity and timeline as the G1 animated series. Unfortunately, while the Maximals do appear in Rise of the Beasts, the Predacons and Decepticons are nowhere to be found, other than the insignia medals shown in Scourge’s collection.

Maximal Leader Apelinq

Apelinq in Transformers Rise of the Beasts
Image via Paramount Pictures

Credit where credit is due to the writers of Rise of the Beasts and director Steven Caple Jr. because the appearance of Apelinq in Rise of the Beasts is a fairly deep and obscure cut from Transformers lore. In Rise of the Beasts, Apelinq is introduced as the original leader of the Maximals, living on a jungle planet (apparently not Cybertron), that comes under siege by Unicron, Scourge, and the Terrorcons. Apelinq abdicates leadership of the Maximals to Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) and sends his Maximal brethren away with the trans-warp key, so it stays out of Unicron’s gargantuan mandibles. Apelinq displays his heroism by staying behind to buy his allies enough time to escape the condemned planet.

Apelinq was a character borne out of 3H Productions. 3H Productions was the company created to fund and run the now-defunct official Transformers convention, BotCon. 3H Productions published show-exclusive comics and created show-exclusive action figures for the convention, which included new and unique characters to the Transformers mythos. Apeling was one of the characters introduced at BotCon 2000 as a show-exclusive action figure. Designed as a redeco of Transmetal Optimus Primal from the Beast Wars toy line, Apelinq was written as a separate character as part of Transformers G1 lore and continuity in the promotional comics published by 3H Productions for BotCon. The character was eventually integrated into the Transformers comics from Fun Publications and later IDW. The makers of Rise of the Beasts took a very obscure character from an even more obscure corner of Transformers continuity and made that character part of a $200 million blockbuster movie, which is pretty wild.

Unicron’s 1980s Theme

For fans nostalgic for Vince DiCola’s classic music for the awesome 1986 Transformers: The Movie, DiCola’s original music composed for Unicron makes an appearance in composer Jongnic Bontemps’ score for the film in multiple music cues for the film’s score, including “Unicron/Scourge” and “Unicron Approaches.” Director Caple’s fandom for the original animated movie shines through with the inclusion of music from the first theatrical Transformers feature in Rise of the Beasts.

“Maximals, Maximize!”

Optimis Primal and Cheetor in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Image via Paramount Pictures

“Maximize” is famously the activation code for the Maximals in Transformers continuity. In the Beast Wars animated series, the Maximals and Predacons use activation codes to execute their transformations from beast mode to robot mode. The Predacons are the baddies, so their activation code is “Terrorize!” The Maximals use “Maximize,” so they transform by shouting their name followed by “Maximize!” Look, it’s part of the cheesy fun of the series, especially when a new character shows up and transforms for the first time. It means things are about to get good, and the activation codes would get the blood pumping before a big fight starts. While it’s only heard once in Rise of the Beasts, when the Maximals ride into battle alongside the Autobots, Perlman as Optimus Primal does belt out “Maximals, Maximize!” at least once. It’s not perfect, but we’ll take it.

“Autobots, Roll Out!”

Optimus Prime in 'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts'
Image via Paramount

One of Optimus Prime’s all-time famous catchphrases, first uttered by Peter Cullen in the original 1980s animated series, makes a welcome return here. Once again, Cullen gets to voice Optimus Prime, as he has in all the live-action Transformers films. “Autobots, Roll out!” was uttered once before in the 2007 film, so it was nice to see it make another comeback here. Cullen voicing Optimus Prime is always like a warm hug…save for the instances where he turns downright bloodthirsty and psychotic in the later Michael Bay films.

“Till All Are One”

Optimus Prime's death in the 1986's Transformers
Image via De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

This is another famous line that all longtime fans will remember that originated in the 1986 Transformers: The Movie, which saw many children’s hearts break by the emotionally devastating death of Optimus Prime. While bequeathing the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus while on his deathbed, he told the Autobots, “Till all are one.” The phrase became a rallying cry for the Autobots throughout the franchise and has dual meanings. The phrase is translated to mean the end of the Great War, when the Cybertronians and other Transformers would shed their various factional affiliations and become one, or the Transformers all rejoin the great Allspark of Primus.

The famous phrase also appears in Rise of the Beasts, once again spoken by Cullen as Prime, who first spoke the line 37 years ago with the original animated movie. He says the line while speaking with Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), admitting his mistakes and rallying the remaining heroes together.


Transformers Rise of the Beasts Villains
Image via Paramount Pictures

One of Unicron’s Terrorcon minions in Rise of the Beasts is the deadly, blade-wielding Nightbird (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez). Nightbird originated in the 1980s G1 animated series in the classic episode, “Enter the Nightbird.” In the animated series, Nightbird was neither Decepticon nor Terrocon. She was actually a robot ninja warrior created by the scientist Doctor Fujiyama. However, the Decepticons steal her and reprogram her to fight the Autobots instead. Nightbird was a formidable foe and gave many of the Autobots a run for their money. Nightbird did not have an alt-mode transformation in the original series, but she was incredibly skilled and armed to the teeth. She would make recurring appearances in the comics and toy line for years, and now she’s been incorporated into the live-action film franchise, except this time, she can talk and she can transform. Also, she can still give the Autobots a run for their money, especially since she can fly as well as any Decepticon.

G.I. Joe

Agent Burke (Michael Kelly) wearing a white dress shirt and tie, sitting down and raising his hand in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Image via Paramount Pictures

In the final scene of the film, having assisted the Autobots save the planet from Unicron and the Terrorcons, Noah Diaz is back in New York on the job hunt. However, Noah unwittingly finds himself in a recruitment meeting for a covert, secret government organization. The interviewer, Agent Burke (Michael Kelly), hands his card to Noah, with the back revealing the emblem and letters of “G.I. Joe,” referencing another longtime classic Hasbro franchise. There had been talk before about crossing over G.I. Joe and Transformers on the big screen, but Hasbro and Paramount Pictures had never taken any active steps to that end, until now.

Whether a formal big-screen crossover between G.I. Joe and Transformers happens remains to be seen, but the franchises look to be taking those steps. It’s unknown if Kelly’s Agent Burke is his real name or an alias, and who Kelly would be if he is a member of the G.I. Joe team. There isn’t any well-known character in the G.I. Joe mythos who is named Burke. If anything, along with a character named Bishop who appears earlier in the film, it sounds like the name was a reference to James Cameron‘s Aliens.

It seems director Steven Caple Jr. is still deciding on what to do with Agent Burke. Following the film’s release, Caple told Entertainment Weekly about the character, “As of right now, it’s Agent Burke. It’s a little generic, and it’s done on purpose a bit. It’s all part of the facade. He might grow into someone else. I’m still trying to figure out what to do exactly with that character. I have some ideas, but the way I collaborate would be me doing research, me talking to Hasbro, and talking to Michael Kelly and seeing where we could take him.”

Considering Kelly’s Agent Burke is recruiting Noah Diaz incognito, it seems like the G.I. Joe character of Chuckles would be a good fit for the actor. Chuckles has a sociable, easygoing, and “gregarious” personality according to his file card, and he’s a master undercover spy and agent. It seems to make sense for Kelly’s Agent Burke in this scenario if he were to be later revealed as Chuckles from G.I. Joe. Only time will tell if any Easter eggs hinting at a shared universe with G.I. Joe will bear any larger fruit. The next Transformers movie currently in the works is the Transformers: One animated movie, which will explore the origins of Optimus Prime and Megatron on their home planet of Cybertron.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is available to stream on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Watch on Paramount+


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