The following is less a spoiler for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and more a spoiler for future movies.
Early on in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, we learn Noah Diaz—the lead human character, played by Anthony Ramos—is a former soldier. Though just a private, we learn how highly decorated he was. He was forced to leave the Army because of his sick little brother. I wondered if this was just because of the rampant military propaganda present in the Transformers movies. It never seemed to matter too much in the movie; he definitely didn’t need to be a soldier to be brave enough to save the day. However, the end of the movie explained things a bit.
The final scene finds Noah going to another job interview for a security job. This one takes him to a seemingly normal shipping and/or laundry business. He goes into the back room for the interview, where he meets a character played by Michael Kelly (House of Cards). This character asks him about his thin resume and gets Noah to describe the work he recently did in South America. This guy reveals he knows all about Noah teaming up with the Transformers in Peru. He’s impressed.
So this guy, it turns out, works for a secret government agency and wants Noah to join. The normal-looking conference room then opens up and we see a massive hangar full of high-tech vehicles. The man hands Noah his card. On the front we see the name Agent Burke and when Noah flips it over we see the very familiar brand logo of G.I. Joe.
Following the release of the film, EW revealed quotes from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura about the surprise crossover. “We’re introducing Joe characters into the world that we’re dealing with, on whatever our characters are gonna go do,” Di Bonaventura tells EW of the next planned film. “We’re also not through with the Maximals, so I imagine in the next movie we’ll have Maximals, Autobots, and Joes.”
“The idea of trying to do the whole Joe world at the same time is a little daunting,” Di Bonaventure confirms. “This is a way to bring them into our world, remind people of who they are, and they’ll have a role in the plot.”
Now this is both surprising and not at all surprising. Hasbro and Paramount have long desired to create a proper cinematic universe for its many toy properties. While three live-action G.I. Joe movies have come out in the past 14 years, none have even approached the success of the Transformers. So, establishing that G.I. Joe not only exists in the Transformers universe, but is the S.H.I.E.L.D.-esque agency which investigates the weirder entities makes a lot of sense. Talk for years has speculated that MASK, ROM, and Visionaries would join Transformers and Joe in a cinematic universe.
So, we now have not only a new G.I. Joe organization but evidently a new, more senior Duke leading the team. In the ’90s, too, since Rise of the Beasts takes place in 1994. We shall see where all of this goes!