Bumblebee is the first spin-off film in the Transformers franchise and the first film in the series to be directed by someone other than Michael Bay. Set in the 1980's, Bumblebee takes place before the previous Transformers films and is on a smaller scale, refocusing the franchise with a more character driven story. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming movie.
- Release Date: December 21, 2018
- Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Drucker, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow, Ricardo Hoyos, Gracie Dzienny, John Ortiz
- Director: Travis Knight
- Writer: Christina Hodson
Oscar Nominee Hailee Steinfeld is the Star of Bumblebee
John Cena is also set to star in Bumblebee as Agent Burns. Burns is a government operative with connections to Sector 7, the group that hunted down the robots in disguise in the original movies. His character looks to be the antagonist, going up against Charlie and her new robot friend.
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is playing the male lead of Bumblebee. Other Bumblebee cast members include Rachel Crow (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train), Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), Abby Quinn (Black Mirror), Ricardo Hoyos (Degrassi: The Next Generation), and Gracie Dzienny (Zoo) in undisclosed roles. The cast is full of mostly young actors, proving the film's commitment to making Bumblebee lighter and more youthful in tone and style. John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island) also has one of the few adult roles in the film.
Starscream & Optimus Prime Are Back In Bumblebee
While most of the cast is new, there are some familiar - albeit robotic - faces joining Bumblebee on his solo adventure. As seen in the trailer, Starscream is back, likely as the primary Decepticon antagonist of the film. This version of the character likewise looks closer to the G1 iteration in contrast to Michael Bay's reimagining.
Also set to return in Bumblebee is Autobot leader Optimus Prime voiced by Peter Cullen. Bumblebee and Prime are the only two characters to have appeared in every Transformer film.
Read More: How Optimus Prime Can Cameo In Bumblebee
Bumblebee Is A 'Smaller & More Intimate' Story
Bumblebee is a much smaller and more intimate than the previous Transformers films. Director Travis Knight also stated that he wanted to bring "humor and heart" to the film and really focus on a small part of a massive franchise. The film's producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has likened Bumblebee to the classic animated film The Iron Giant where a boy and develops an unlikely friendship with a giant robot. Likewise, the main focus of Bumblebee is the bond between a girl and her car.
The synopsis states:
"On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug."
With an emotionally complex story and female lead, the film is sure to feel a lot different from the previous Transformers installments.
Watch The Bumblebee Teaser Trailer
The first footage of Bumblebee was screened for audiences at CinemaCon. That footage showed Steinfeld's character meeting Bumblebee for the first time as well as the origin of his name. The first trailer for the film was released online two weeks later. It features a voiceover by the late Bernie Mac from the original Transformers movie stressing the "mythical bond between man and machine" that seems to be central to the story. The trailer is light on plot details, but does show a little about what to expect in terms of Charlie and Bee's relationship, the 80's setting and music, and the transforming VFX. The trailer also provided the first look at John Cena's character in the film.
Watch: The Bumblebee Trailer
The Bumblebee Poster Teases A Girl and Her Car
The poster for Bumblebee was released the same day as the teaser trailer. It features Charlie and Bumblebee watching the sunset over the ocean. The tagline for the film, "Every adventure has a beginning" is featured prominently on the image along with the Christmas release date. The poster further stresses how important the relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee will be as well as showing off the California setting.
Animation Director Travis Knight Is Directing Bumblebee
Travis Knight is directing Bumblebee. Knight comes from an animation background, having previously helmed the Oscar-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings, with Bumblebee his first live-action film. The director beat out Jaume Collet-Sera (The Shallows), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Seth Gordon (Baywatch), and Aaron and Adam Nee (The Last Romantic) for the gig.
Christina Hodson is Writing Bumblebee
Christina Hodson wrote the screenplay for Bumblebee. She was originally part of a Transformers writer's room, which also included Akiva Goldsman (Star Trek: Discovery), Zak Penn (The Avengers), Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Steven DeKnight (Pacific Rim Uprising), Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), and Jeff Pinker (Lost). This group came up with story ideas for a number of potential Transformers films including Transformers: The Last Knight and Bumblebee. However, Hodson is the only one from that original group still with the project. The writer's room has since been disbanded.
How Bumblebee Connects To The Previous Transformers Films
Transformers: The Last Knight revealed that Bumblebee had been on Earth longer than previously believed, dating all the way back to World War II. So what happened to the Autobot after the war but before he met Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) in the original Transformers? Well, that's for Bumblebee to flesh out.
However, the film is rather disconnected from the rest of the series. Transformers 6 was supposed to be released in 2019, but has since been pulled from Paramount's schedule. If Bumblebee is a success, it may mean Paramount looks to create more spin-off films in the franchise, rather than direct sequels, the most recent of which have failed critically and at the box office. There were originally rumors that the franchise would be rebooted after Bumblebee, but that has since changed. It seems like the future of the franchise will hinge on the success of Bumblebee.
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