From 2007, the Transformers The series managed to spawn six films, including a spin-off for the character Bumblebee. With a number of other projects currently in development, it’s clear this series isn’t ending anytime soon. Just as the Transformers have proven to be very popular in your local toy department, these shapeshifting robots have had similar longevity in their presence on the big screen.
However, among the current six Transformers movies, it can be easy to get lost as to where certain events fit into the sequel. Not only did these films adapt essential parts of previously established Transformers mythology, but they also created their own lore which introduced the idea of Autobots and Decepticons having a significant impact on human history. This has led to non-linear digressions throughout the various films that take the viewer everywhere from the time of King Arthur to the extinction of the dinosaurs and everywhere in between. Bumblebee, the last installment of the franchise, is set in the 1980s, two decades before the original film. The Transformers movies love jumping through time almost as much as they love giant robots that transform into various means of transportation. Given this fact, it can be difficult to determine where exactly each movie takes place in time.
In order to solve this problem, here is a detailed guide on how to watch each movie in the Transformers series, both in chronological order of events and in order of release date. Making sense of this franchise’s delightfully absurd tradition has never been easier.
Transformers films in chronological order of events
The franchise’s first spin-off takes things back to the 1980s, the decade when the Transformers animated series debuted. Set in 1987, this film sees Bumblebee crashing into Earth and meeting human teenager Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld). The two become unlikely friends as Charlie learns to overcome the death of his biological father, and Bumblebee learns to become the protector of Earth that Optimus Prime believed he could be.
Unlike the rest of the films in the series, Bumblebee never deviates for digressions in other periods. This includes both the end of the movies and the credits scene, in which Bumblebee breaks up with Charlie and reunites with the new Optimus Prime.
The notable presence of a 2006 Chevrolet Camaro, from eBay and a replacement for then-President George W. Bush, was a determining factor in the execution of Transformers. The movie absolutely wants you to know it’s set squarely in 2007, twenty years later Bumblebee. We are introduced to Sam Witwicky, a nerdy high school student (Shia Labeouf), the protagonist of the first three Transformers films, like him, Mikela Banes (Megan Fox), and a handful of sympathetic Autobots attempt to hunt down the mighty AllSpark. It turns out that the location of the AllSpark was accidentally engraved on a pair of glasses belonging to Witwicky’s grandfather by a frozen Megatron. The journey ends with a battle in Mission City that leaves AllSpark reduced to a shard and Megatron defeated.
Even with all of this to juggle, history leaves time for brief digressions to the year 1897 to describe a fateful arctic encounter involving Megatron as well as footage of the allegedly lost Beagle 2 Mars Rover having a fender-bender with a Decepticons in December. 2003.
Revenge of the Damned is set in the 2009 landscape, which means you can expect references to the 2007 global recession as well as brief President Obama news footage. Set two years after the original film, Sam Witwicky is now heading to college. However, his academic activities are compromised after touching a shard from the AllSpark and starting to behave erratically. Meanwhile, Megatron’s resurrection allowed the sinister plans of a Decepticon archivillain known as The Fallen to move forward. These plans sort of involve the Pyramids of Giza, which means we’re going to have a thrilling showdown against a backdrop of antiquity.
Before all this chaos, however, Revenge of the Damned opens with a prologue taking place on Earth in 17,000 BC. While doing this, the robots are discovered by cavemen, preventing the first (but far from the last) violent encounter between man and machine.
Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon
Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon takes place three years after the events of Transformers: Revenge. Sam Whitwicky graduated from college and is now looking for a job. Although he saved the world twice, he struggles to keep a stable job. At the same time, Sam is also dealing with his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington Whitley), and a new plan by the Decepticons to essentially bring Cybertron to Earth, effectively destroying the planet. The climax involves a full-scale attack on Chicago, with the Autobots rushing to thwart the invasion after being briefly banished from Earth. Meanwhile, Sam must save Carly from his evil boss, Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey), who has fallen with the Decepticons.
Like its predecessor, The darkness of the moon begins its story with a prologue set in the distant past. This time around, the 1960s space race is the center of attention, with the film revealing that the Moon was actually the secret site of an Autobot ship called The Ark. This digression to the past involves a whole host of historical figures, including John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and Buzz Aldrin, with the latter character making an appearance as himself to help explain the plot.
The Transformers: Age of Extinction
The Transformers: Age of Extinction resumes action five years later Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon. With this leap in time comes a new protagonist. Say goodbye to Sam Witwicky and say hello to Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a single dad from Texas with a strong inexplicable Boston accent. Him, his daughter Tessa (Nicolas peltz), and her boyfriend Shane (Jack reynor) Immerse yourself in a new Transformers adventure after Yeager stumbles upon a hibernating Optimus Prime. Once the Autobot Leader wakes up, he and the three humans reunite with the few remaining Autobots to face a new enemy. CIA Agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar) teamed up with a bounty hunter robot named to wipe out all of the Transformers. Yeager and the Autobots take on Lockdown and a resurrected Megatron (now called Galvatron) in Hong Kong. This battle ultimately involves the Dinobots and ends with Prime departing into space to challenge its creators.
Even with so many new characters and storylines to juggle, Age of extinction still takes the time of an extended prologue located deep in the past. This time around, viewers are immersed in the prehistory of millions of years to show that the creators, the aliens responsible for making the transformers, were also the ones who wiped out the dinosaurs.
Transformers: The Last Knight
After a crazy prologue establishing how the Transformers were essential allies of King Arthur, Transformers: The Last Knight blinks forward to a defined era relatively close to the present and sets an unspecified amount of time after The Transformers: Age of Extinction. Yeager now helps the Autobot refugees in his heist while Optimus Prime, lost in space searching for its creators, is captured by the infamous Quintessa (Gemma chan) and became evil. Soon, Prime and Yeagar face off in a race against time to obtain an ancient sword, which Prime intends to use to revive Cybertron, destroying Earth in the process.
On a quest to save the day, Yeager and his new love Vivian Wembley (Laura haddock) discover an organization led by Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony hopkins) dedicated to protecting the secrecy that the Transformers were involved in all significant events in human history. Although we are told that shapeshifting robots were involved in everything from the Underground Railroad to the life of William Shakespeare, the only example of this phenomenon the public can see is a brief flashback of Bumblebee fighting alongside the Allied forces during World War II.
Transformers Movies in Order of Release
Live action Transformers the films skip over time to flesh out their ridiculously dense storyline, but the events are more or less a continuous narrative. Here’s how to watch the series in order of release date.
Transformers – July 3, 2007
Transformers: Revenge – June 24, 2009
Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon – June 29, 2011
The Transformers: Age of Extinction – June 27, 2014
Transformers: The Last Knight – June 21, 2021
Bourdon – December 21, 2018
KEEP READING: Here’s How To Watch The Indiana Jones Movies In Order (Chronologically & By Release Date)
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