Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a bit of an oddity as a Transformers movie. It’s mostly a reboot for the franchise, though it directly follows 2018’s Bumblebee, and briefly alludes to that movie in passing. It continues the long run of portraying Optimus Prime more as a bloodthirsty (oil-thirsty? Energon-thirsty?) villain than as the noble hero he tends to be outside live-action installments.
It brings in Beast Wars’ Maximals characters, but doesn’t find much use for them, except to look cool in battle and partly counter Prime’s more autocratic (heh, autocratic) tendencies. It treats Transformer death with the same infamous casualness as 1986’s The Transformers: The Movie — several of its sentient machine characters die onscreen, which gets little more than a “That’s tragic and I’m sad. Anyway, moving on…” from their companions.
Maybe that’s because Transformers are so hard to kill permanently. By the end of the film, viewers are likely to want to stay in the theater just to see whether there’s any new wrinkle on the character deaths in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, because they seem so casual and ephemeral that it’s hard to believe they aren’t all temporary. Here’s how that actually plays out in the movie.
[Ed. note: Spoilers ahead for deaths and other details in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.]
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ mid-credits scene
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts does have a mid-credits scene, where it emerges that former soldier and full-time tech-head Noah Diaz (In the Heights’ Anthony Ramos) has repaired and revived his new Autobot friend Mirage (Pete Davidson). Granted, you might have had to watch closely to realize that Mirage was meant to be dead in the first place — he takes a hell of a beating from Scourge (Peter Dinklage) in the final battle, then donates some of his parts to make a mecha suit for Noah. But it never really feels like he’s gone — just reconfigured.
In the scene, Noah’s neighborhood friend Reek (Tobe Nwigwe), who tried in earlier scenes to turn Noah into a professional carjacker, excuses himself for abandoning Noah to the police in an earlier scene. Then he mocks Noah’s latest construction project, a junky-looking car pieced together out of random parts that Reek has sourced for him. “It’s a complete waste of your skills and my expertise,” Reek yells. “This car is a jigsaw puzzle made of garbage!” But then the car transforms and reveals itself as Mirage. “Your boy is back!” he yells — to Reek’s astonishment, since it’s his first encounter with a giant living robot that’s also sometimes a car.
Who dies in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts?
But it’s worth noting that while Bumblebee dies in the movie’s first act, and is then resurrected by a power surge, and Mirage apparently dies (??) in the third-act battle and is resurrected by Noah’s clumsy human repair job, Rise of the Beasts doesn’t have a post-credits scene, and doesn’t ever go back to the movie’s other big death. Airazor (Everything Everywhere All At Once star Michelle Yeoh) gets corrupted by Scourge, attacks her friends, and then encourages her leader, Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman), to kill her so she won’t hurt anyone else. Which he does, apparently, by squeezing her really hard.
Airazor seems just as ripe for a comeback as Mirage did — her body is damaged after Scourge’s attack, but it’s far less wrecked than Mirage’s was. And her operating system, or whatever Transformers have that passes for one, was apparently corrupted by Scourge, but it seems like something a reboot and some good alien virus protection should be able to handle. But don’t bother waiting around for any post-credits sequence dealing with her fate, or with the future of the franchise. As far as Rise of the Beasts is concerned, Mirage is the only dead Transformer worth repairing.
Will there be a G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover movie?
As for any further teases about where the franchise might go from here, the end-of-movie meetup between Agent Burke (Michael Kelly) and Noah tells as much of that story as we’re going to get for the moment. Given that Agent Burke works for G.I. Joe — he’s probably a reference to the James Bond-esque super-spy who appeared in one episode of the 1980s G.I. Joe animated series — there’s every reason to believe that Paramount is planning a G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover movie. That team-up first happened in the comics, and it’s a natural pairing, since both of those properties are owned by Hasbro, and both of them originally came to TV in order to promote existing toy lines.
But you won’t find out more about that by waiting until after the credits are over — the mid-credits scene with Noah and Mirage is all for now. Poor Airazor.