The Transformers franchise is known for having a wide roster of popular robot fighters who hail from both the Autobots and the Decepticons – the two sides of the eons-long Cybertronian war. When it comes to the former faction, the only one who could rival their immovable leader Optimus Prime is the underdog Bumblebee: a small Transformer who’s best known for switching into a yellow Volkswagen Beetle.
Due to his popularity, Bumblebee was added into Michael Bay’s Transformers movies and even got a solo-movie but there were some important details left behind in the blockbuster series’ source material. Over the years, Bumblebee has changed in the comics in ways that the movies don’t show or merely hinted at. Here are 10 such ways that the Bumblebee seen in the movies differed from the comics.
10 He Talks
The most obvious difference between Bumblebee in the comics and the movies is the simple fact that he talks properly in his printed adventures. Not only is he capable of forming sentences but he’s the most up-to-date when it comes to talking with and like the people of Earth.
In the movies, Bumblebee is rendered mute following a fight with Blitzwing and talks by constantly changing the stations in his built-in radio. Said injury is treated more as an excuse to drop music references and jokes, effectively robbing Bumblebee of communicating properly with the other characters.
9 Bumblebee Is His First Form
Over the course of the Transformers movies, Bumblebee changes his armor every now and then but retains his name and overall personality. In the comics, Bumblebee is only the first form for the Autobot Goldbug.
Goldbug is the matured and more developed form of Bumblebee, and is known to possess greater strength and weapons. Bumblebee’s new mode varied in its origins, though his first form would always return. Notably, this happened in the Marvel comics after Ratchet restored Bumblebee’s original (but now bigger) form following Starscream’s deadly attack.
8 He Didn’t Crash-Land On Earth Alone
In his solo-movie (and prequel to the Transformers franchise), Bumblebee crashlands on Earth alone during the Autobots’ desperate escape from Cybertron. Canonically, this makes him the first Autobot to land on Earth but this was slightly different in the comics.
The only major difference is that Bumblebee usually landed on Earth with the other Autobots. In the original run, Bumblebee is one of many Autobot refugees aboard the Ark that crashes on Earth while he was part of an exploration unit in the IDW continuity.
7 He’s An Expert Spy
Due to his small frame, Bumblebee is the Autobot’s most reliable spy who can quickly get in and out of enemy territory. The Autobot was even promoted to director of espionage in Fun Publications’ run.
In contrast, the movies made Bumblebee indistinguishable from the other robots onscreen by putting an emphasis on his fighting skills rather than his stealth-based ones. By omitting Bumblebee’s core skillset that made him unique among the Autobots, the movie turned Bumblebee into just another giant robot with a gun.
6 His First Human Friends Were The Witwickys
According to his solo-movie, Bumblebee’s first real human friend is Charlie Watson, a teenaged girl with a knack for cars and machines in general. Their bond would go on to influence Bumblebee’s affection for humanity in the future movies.
While his friendship with people is still the same, Bumblebee’s first human friends were the Witwickys. This story beat was retained in the first Transformers movie where he’s bought from a car shop by Sam Witwicky, but the canon’s considerably changed with the presence of the Bumblebee movie.
5 He Really Likes Humans
It’s generally known that the Autobots like mankind as a whole, but Bumblebee really loves the Earthlings. Time and again he’s been shown saving or being saved by the people of Earth, and he shows his gratitude whenever he can. He even claims that some of his best friends are humans – an odd thing for a Transformer to say.
The movies show shades of this, but don’t explore the connections as deeply as the comics do. Bumblebee’s cinematic depictions paint him more like a loyal pet than a robot with a big heart, in effect diminishing his personality.
4 He Has Crippling Self-Doubt
Because he’s both the smallest and youngest Autobot, Bumblebee is incredibly insecure about himself and is always on the lookout for a chance to prove himself to his older and more experienced comrades.
His self-doubt is a major factor in all of his printed characterizations, but it’s barely explored or even hinted at in the movies. The only time his insecurities showed was when he feared for his life during his solo-movie, but even then he quickly overcomes these issues after he regains chunks of his memory to save the day.
3 The Autobots Look Up To Him
Bumblebee’s insecurities blind him to the fact that the Autobots that he idolizes actually look up to him. Thanks to his idealism and undying determination, Bumblebee is highly-regarded among the Autobots – especially their leader, Optimus Prime.
This dynamic is absent in the movies, since he’s just that one mute and robotic comic relief that uses a radio to talk. The only time this relationship is glanced at was when he calls the Optimus his best friend when the Autobot leader nearly killed him in The Last Knight, but it’s never developed or explored afterwards.
2 He Can Be A Stone-Cold Killer
Given that he’s an Autobot soldier, Bumblebee killing Decepticons isn’t that much of a surprise. In the movies, Bumblebee callously racks up a body count only surpassed by Optimus Prime’s.
What the movies left in the comics is that Bumblebee can revel in his kill if he wants to. During the Descent Into Evil event, Bumblebee doesn’t just shoot the Decepticon Flamewar because he’d rather mock her by revealing that he infected her superiors’ army with a virus and compromised her cover, rendering her a loose thread that was quickly dealt with (i.e. exploded) by her commanders.
1 He Died
In both comics and movies, Bumblebee is one of the most resilient Autobots fighting the Decepticons, earning him a reputation for being notoriously hard to kill. He can even reassemble himself after an explosion, as seen in The Last Knight and Bumblebee.
This wasn’t the case in the Devil’s Due comics where he died and stayed dead. In the miniseries G.I. Joe vs. The Transformers: The Art of War, the android Serpent O.R. kills Bumblebee and even comments that he felt “something” (i.e. Spark) leave the lifeless Volkswagen Beetle. His death was permanent and affected Optimus Primes’ decisions moving forward.