Executive producer Steven Spielberg came up with the concept for Travis Knight's Bumblebee, the latest live-action Transformers film, and the sixth entry in the franchise overall. The film is an '80s-set prequel that focuses on the titular Autobot, Bumblebee, and though it hasn't been released worldwide yet, early screenings have taken place at select theaters, and the film has been receiving critical acclaim.
Taking place in 1987, Bumblebee is an origin story for the titular character, a battle-scarred Autobot who has found refuge in a California junkyard, only to be discovered by a teenage girl named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld). Upon discovery, she develops a connection with the beloved alien and assists in his battle against the Decepticons. The film also stars Jason Drucker, Abby Quinn, Ricardo Hoyos, Gracie Dzienny, Rachel Crow, and WWE veteran John Cena. And, while director Travis Knight's vision for the Transformers universe seems to be getting over well with critics, it turns out that Spielberg played a role in the film's early wave of success.
During an interview with Yahoo Movies UK, Knight revealed that Spielberg was responsible for the project's original idea. Spielberg has been attached to all of the previous films, but he had a more hands-on approach when it came to the overall concept with Bumblebee. Knight admits that E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a film Spielberg directed, was one of many influences for Bumblebee, but he also opened up about Spielberg's contributions to the film, as well as the similarities the film shares with Spielberg's classics:
“The original idea for this film actually was Steven Spielberg’s. We can thank him for this film even existing. At heart of it [Bumblebee] is a film about relationships, and this beautiful love story between these two characters.”
The Transformers franchise has been going strong (in terms of box office) since the first film released in 2007, and Bumblebee isn't just the first spinoff in the franchise, but the first to not be directed by Michael Bay. Bay had served as director for the past five live-action films before stepping down and allowing Knight to take the helm. As for Knight's career post-Bumblebee, there had been rumors circulating that he might be attached to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, replacing James Gunn. However, he personally confirmed that this would not be happening.
For over forty years, Spielberg has crafted one success after another, and in a multitude of genres. Now, what he's bringing to Bumblebee harkens back to his earliest works, like the aforementioned E.T., introducing more "humor and heart" into the franchise. Seeing as some fans of the series have grown frustrated with the decline in quality each sequel would bring as the series progressed, Spielberg's influence may well have helped break that trend and gotten the Transformer series back on track.
Source: Yahoo Movies UK
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018