Paramount brought the Transformers movies to San Diego Comic-Con for the first time this year and used its Hall H panel to highlight this December's spinoff, Bumblebee. The first live-action Transformers film not directed by Michael Bay, Bee's solo adventure goes back in time to 1987 and follows the Autobot as he carries out a top-secret mission for his leader, Optimus Prime, on earth. Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld costars in the movie as Charlie, a teenaged mechanic who finds Bumblebee (in disguise as a yellow VW bug) in a junkyard and helps the alien robot on his "special job".
Since the Bumblebee teaser trailer isn't even two months old yet (and the actual movie doesn't arrive until December), Paramount decided to hold off on debuting a fresh trailer for the film at SDCC. However, the studio did bring some previously-unreleased clips to San Diego, to show off to those 'Con attendees who managed to secure a seat in Hall H. Steinfeld was among the members of the film's cast on-hand to promote Bumblebee at the event, along with director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings).
Steinfeld and Knight were joined at the panel by Bumblebee costar Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and, eventually, John Cena. Knight set the stage for the footage by talking about how he attempted to shoot the Transformer action scenes as cohesively as possible. This was followed by a sizzle reel for the movie that started with a sequence where Bee is hunted by Agent Burns (Cena) and the Decepticon Blitzwing (the one seen in the teaser trailer), who fires several missiles at him in hot pursuit. As the footage revealed, the Decepticons claim Bee is a criminal they are trying to stop to Burns, which is how they gain his trust and that of the human military.
This scene was followed by an extended version of the Bumblebee teaser trailer that included several action-packed beats, as well as a number of heartwarming moments between Bee and Charlie. However, the highlight of the sizzle reel may have been the appearance by Optimus Prime, who shows up as a hologram at one point. Optimus, much like Bee, is much closer to his G1 iteration than he has been in live-action Transformers movies past.
All things considered, it sounds like the Bumblebee SDCC footage further drove him the idea that Knight is attempting to balance spectacle with heart better in his film that Bay's Transformers movies ever really did. Similarly, between the G1 designs and its setting, it seems Bumblebee is striving to harken back to the most beloved era in the Transformers multimedia franchise's history (see: the '80s), in more ways than one. And by the sound of things, it may yet succeed in that venture.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018