TRANSFORMERS, Bumblebee, 2007. ©Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

How to Watch the ‘Transformers’ Movies in Order

Autobots, let's roll!

On paper, the Transformers movies should not be my cup of tea. I don’t particularly like Michael Bay—from the way he directs movies to the way he treats women (both on-screen and off-screen), for starters. I also find that these movies somehow manage to have both a terribly confusing and painfully simple storyline at the same time—which is honestly almost impressive, I mean how is it that you never know what’s happening but also every conflict is resolved in the blink of an eye? 

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And yet, I have to say, the first two Transformers have a special place in my heart—I know, I’m as confused as you are. It’s probably because of Megan Fox. I was one of the many teenage girls who realized that they weren’t as straight as they thought the moment she appeared on screen, even though rewatching her scenes now, after developing a feminist conscience, sort of makes me gag.

(Paramount)

But that’s a topic for another time. All of this was to say that even though I shouldn’t know anything about the Transformers movies, I actually do. I’ve seen most of them and can recite the Italian dub of the little speech Jetfire gives about his father being “a wheel! The first wheel!” by heart.

So, if you’re ready to dive into your first Transformers experience, I won’t judge. They can be fun. And hey, we all need that moment to realize we’re a little in love with Megan Fox, it’s a right of passage.

Where to start your Transformers journey?

Let’s start with a bit of background. The Transformers franchise, based on the world-famous Hasbro toys (first released in the ’80s), comprises a grand total of seven movies divided into two series—the main one and the prequel one. 

The first installment of the franchise was released in 2007, but it’s still ongoing, as there’s a movie planned for a 2023 release. All five movies of the main series were directed by Michael Bay, while the prequel series has Travis Knight and Steven Caple Jr. at the helm of the first and second movies, respectively.

First, we’ll go through them by release date, but also how to watch them chronologically in-universe!

1. Transformers (2007)

The movie that started it all, Transformers stars Shia LaBoeuf as Sam Witwicky—a high school boy who happens to acquire a car that turns into a massive yellow robot, and also, inherited the coordinates to the object both Autobots and Decepticons want to obtain. This will bring their war, which already consumed their home planet Cybertron, right to Earth. Sam and his classmate Mikaela (played by Megan Fox) will help Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and the rest of the Autobots in their fight against Megatron, the terrible leader of the Decepticons.

2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

The cast and crew of the first Transformers returned for the first sequel, Revenge of the Fallen. While the Autobots have tried to make a home for themselves on Earth and have become part of a secret military task force (hunting the remaining Decepticons alongside the U.S. military), Megatron returns to wreak even more chaos. He awakens the founder of the Decepticons, a legendary figure known only as The Fallen, and together they hatch a plan to completely destroy Earth by consuming the energy of the Sun.

3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

The third Transformers movie, Dark of the Moon, introduces the idea that the entire American space program was put together to investigate the crash of a spaceship from Cyberton on, you guessed it, the dark side of the moon. The Decepticons ally with a previous Autobot leader this time around (Sentinel Prime, voiced by none other than Leonard Nimoy), and Optimus Prime and his allies have to save the day once again. It’s also the movie that saw the exit of Megan Fox from the franchise—the role of female lead passed onto Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who played Sam’s new girlfriend Carly.

(Paramount)

4. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

The fourth movie of the franchise brought a change of protagonist—the main human ally in this film is Cade Yeager, played by Mark Whalberg, together with his family. They’ll help Optimus Prime defeat the movie’s new main antagonist, Galvatron, a reincarnation of Megatron. The wow factor of Age of Extinction, though, is definitely brought on by the Dinobots, in their first official on-screen appearance.

(Paramount)

5. Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

This is the final chapter of the main series (and main timeline of the franchise), as well as the last Transformers movie directed by Michael Bay. Several characters from the first three movies return in The Last Knight, including John Turturro’s Agent Simmons, and they help team up with Mark Whalberg’s Cade Yaeger to fight a brainwashed Optimus Prime—now known as Nemesis Prime and hellbent on destroying the Earth to restore Cybertron.

(Paramount)

6. Bumblebee (2018)

The first of the Transformers prequels, directed by Travis Knight, Bumblebee focuses—as the name suggests—on everyone’s favorite yellow Camaro. Set in the ’80s, the same decade as when the toys were first released, the movie stars Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie Watson—a teenager who discovers Bumblebee during his time of hiding on Earth (before the start of the first movie’s events in the 2000s).

7. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

The second prequel of the series, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, is directed by Steven Caple Jr. and it’s set for a release in the summer of 2023. A direct sequel to Bumblebee, the movie will take place in the 90s and focus on a pair of archaeologists who get entangled with three ancient Transformers factions—the Maximals, the Predacons, and Terrorcons. Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback will take up the lead roles, with Peter Cullen returning once more as the voice of Optimus Prime.

How to Watch Chronologically

If you want to watch the series in chronological order, though, this is how you should proceed:

  1. Bumblebee (2018)
  2. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)
  3. Transformers (2007)
  4. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
  6. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
  7. Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

(via: IGN; image: Paramount)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.