How to watch the Transformers movies in chronological order


(Pocket-lint) — The Transformers have their own film universe. It includes six live-action movies that have generated over $4.8 billion at the box worldwide.

The Transformers franchise is based on a highly successful line of transforming toys that Hasbro launched in 1984. It spawned several animated series and movies, but this guide is focusing solely on the modern live-action films. They follow the lore behind the toys and animated series and comics, focusing on two groups of robots — the Autobots and the Decepticons — that arrive on Earth following the destruction of their home planet, Cybertron.

The Transformers universe is set to expand once more, with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which will debut in 2023. It’ll star Ron Perlman as Optimus Primal, a Transformer who turns into a Guerilla instead of a car. Before watching the new movie, it’s worth catching up on the previous Transformers films. It’s important to note they’re not in chronological order. The most recent film in the series, 2018’s Bumblebee, is actually the first film chronologically. 

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We’ve arranged the Transformers movies in the order of the events that happen — rather than release date. But if you want to watch the films by when they hit theatres, we included that, too.

How to watch the Transformers movies in chronological order

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS BELOW. Skip to the bottom of this guide for the bulleted, at-a-glance version that is free of spoilers.

Bumblebee (2018)Transformers movies chronological order photo 1

Bumblebee (2018)

  • Director: Travis Knight
  • Screenplay: Christina Hodson
  • Starring: Hailey Steinfeld, John Cena
  • Based on: Transformers by Hasbro
  • Production company: Allspark Pictures
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Running time: 114 minutes
  • Box office: $468 million
  • Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

The latest Transformers film is the first you should watch in the series, as it explains the arrival of the Transformers on Earth – and, more specifically, it serves as an origin story for Bumblebee. This is the only film in the Transformers film series not directed by Michael Bay, although he did serve as a producer.

Set in 1987, Bumblebee stars Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie, a teen who’s dealing with the death of her father. She discovers a beat up yellow Volkswagen Beetle at a junkyard and soon learns the old car is actually a damaged yellow Transformer called Bumblebee (Dylan Brien).

Transformers (2007)Transformers movies chronological order photo 7

Transformers (2007)

  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Screenplay: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
  • Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox
  • Based on: Transformers by Hasbro
  • Production company: DreamWorks Pictures, Hasbro
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Running time: 143 minutes
  • Box office: $709 million
  • Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

Transformers is the first film to release in the series, but it’s set in modern-day (2007) and stars Shia Lebouf as Sam Witwicky. He’s a teen looking for his first car. Lucky for him, an old Camaro he buys is a Transformer known as Bumblebee, and Bumblebee helps Sam get the girl he’s always wanted. That’s Mikaela Banes, played by Megan Fox.

The three of them become caught in a war for an object known as the All Spark. The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, want the All Spark to rebuild their home planet of Cybertron. Meanwhile, the Decepticons are the Autobots’ sworn enemies, and they want to use the All Spark to create a new army of transformers from Earth’s machines in order to defeat the Autobots.

The first Transformers film was directed by Michael Bay. He would go on to direct the next four Transformers movies. One more interesting note: Peter Cullen, who voiced Optimus Prime in the Transformers animated series, returned to voice Optimus Prime for the live-action films. 

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)Transformers movies chronological order photo 2

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Screenplay: Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci
  • Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox
  • Based on: Transformers by Hasbro
  • Production company: DreamWorks Pictures, Hasbro
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Running time: 149 minutes
  • Box office: $836 million
  • Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

Shia Lebouf and Megan Fox reprised their roles and returned to star in a sequel Transformers movie directed by Michael Bay. It takes place two years after the original. Sam has been having visions since holding a shard of the All Spark in the last film. Meanwhile, the original Decepticon – the Fallen – believes Sams could lead the way to finding a whole new energy source.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)Transformers movies chronological order photo 4

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Screenplay: Ehren Kruger
  • Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel
  • Based on: Transformers by Hasbro
  • Production company:  Hasbro
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Running time: 154 minutes
  • Box office: $1.1 billion
  • Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

Dark of the Moon takes place four years after the Autobots defeat the Fallen. It sees Sam Witwicky no longer working with the Autobots and struggling to find work, while the Optimus and the rest of the gang work with the US government to stop Decepticon attacks. 

But when the Autobots learn of a Cybertron ship that crash-landed on the moon in the early 1960s, it’s up to Sam to alert them of the truth (crucially, before the Decepticons can spring a devastating assault on Earth). 

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)Transformers movies chronological order photo 3

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Screenplay: Ehren Kruger
  • Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci
  • Based on: Transformers by Hasbro
  • Production company:  Hasbro
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Running time: 165 minutes
  • Box office: $1.1 billion
  • Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

Age of Extinction kicks off with the Transformers living as outlaws — following the events of the Dark of the Moon. Optimus Prime is extremely damaged and living in Mexico City, where he’s discovered by Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz). 

When Cade and his daughter are almost murdered for helping Optimus, they have no choice but to aid the Autobots in unravelling a mystery that goes back to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)Transformers movies chronological order photo 6

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Screenplay: Art Marcum
  • Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel
  • Based on: Transformers by Hasbro
  • Production company:  Paramount Pictures, Hasbro
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Running time: 149 minutes
  • Box office: $605 million
  • Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

Since the previous films touched on the Transformers being involved with the Pyramids, the moon landing, and the extinction of the dinosaurs, you might wonder where this next film goes. Well, next up is Stonehenge and King Arthur’s court.

The US government is after Autobots, going so far as having a special task force to hunt them. Cade Yeager is hiding many of them in his junkyard. Soon, he discovers that, in the distant past, a group of Transformers gave Merlin a staff in order to help King Arthur. That staff can drain the Earth of its energy via Stonehenge. Now, Cade has to work with the remaining Autobots in order to track down that staff before the government or Megatron does.

Where does the new Transformers movie fit in this order?

There are rumours the next film will be set in the 90s  – so check back here after its release to see where it fits with the rest of the films. 

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)Transformers movies chronological order photo 5

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

  • Director: Steven Caple Jr
  • Screenplay: Joby Harold
  • Starring: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Ron Perlman
  • Based on: Transformers by Hasbro
  • Production company:  Paramount Pictures
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Where to stream: Set to release in 2023

The next film in the Transformers universe is due out next year, and fans of the Beast Wars: Transformers series from the late 1990s should be excited. That’s because the film is expected to include the Transformers that turn into animals instead of cars and planes.

That being said, Optimus Prime and Megatron are both slated to return for the film. Ron Perlman will join the cast as Optimus Primal, the leader of the Maximals who turns into a gorilla. 

Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback are also slated to star in the upcoming film. Steven Caple Jr is set to direct. 


Spoiler-free version: The Transformers movies in order

Transformers movies in chronological order

OK, so here is the at-a-glance version of the guide above. It’s free of spoilers. 

  • Bumblebee (2018)
  • Transformers (2007)
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
  • Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
  • Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

Transformers movies in theatrical release date order

And here is an at-a-glance listing of all the movies ordered by when they released in cinemas.

  • Transformers (2007)
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
  • Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
  • Bumblebee (2018)
  • Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

Did you like this?

Then maybe you’ll like our movie order viewing guides:

We also have these rumour round-ups on upcoming movies:

Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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