Bumblebee director Travis Knight wants to see an entire Transformers movie set on Cybertron. The Transformers' home world has been glimpsed throughout all five live-action films released so far. Last year's Transformers: The Last Knight went a step further than the rest and actually followed Optimus Prime as he made his way (well, okay, floated through space) back to the planet... only to end up being mind-controlled by the Quintessa, shortly after his arrival. Still, for the most part, the live-action Transformers movies have taken place entirely on earth.
However, with Bumblebee, the franchise is starting to mix things up a little in that regard. The film opens with a sequence set on Cybertron, before the action shifts to earth circa 1987. It was even reported a few years ago that the since-abandoned Transformers writing group had begun to develop a fully-animated prequel film set on Cybertron. You can count Knight among the people who would definitely love to see such a project come to pass, be it set before or after the events of Bumblebee.
During our interview with Knight at the Bumblebee press junket, we asked him if it's possible to make a live-action Transformers movie set entirely on Cybertron. As the filmmaker noted, however, the movie would technically have to be animated, much like Bumblebee's opening sequence. Either way, he would love to see it:
Well, actually it would be wholly animated because the beginning of the movie is completely animated. So, you know, it has live action lighting and textures and everything else, so it has that feeling, but yeah, I would love to see that movie. I gotta tell you... that was one of the biggest thrills for me, in this process, was bringing Cybertron to life and seeing the fall of Cybertron, just a glimpse of it, because that’s where the animated series began and we wanted to begin this film in the same manner, to pay tribute to that and it was so much fun. I tried to stuff as much as I possible could into those opening moments, just because that’s the movie I’ve always wanted to see, I would love to see a movie like that, yeah.
Interestingly enough, Knight's answer brings to mind the current discussion about what constitutes a live-action film versus one that's animated. It's a recent debate that's taken off in light of Disney's upcoming remake of The Lion King remake. The film doesn't actually include any real-world elements (unlike Disney's Jungle Book remake, which featured Neel Sethi in a live-action performance), yet it was filmed much like a regular live-action movie would be. Depending on whether you think of The Lion King remake as being live-action or CGI (or both), you'd probably feel the same way about a Transformers movie set entirely on Cybertron.
This brings us to another question: would a Cybertron movie feature any humans at all? Generally, in the past, it was accepted that live actors were a necessity to keep the live-action Transformers movies from costing even more to produce than they already do. A film set entirely on the Autobots and Decepticons' home planet would probably have to cost a pretty penny, especially if there aren't any earthlings running around. Even Bumblebee, the least expensive Transformers movie to date, still cost $102 million to make. For that reason, Paramount might be waiting to see how Knight's film performs at the box office, before it goes about giving the green-light to something like a Cybertron movie.
Fortunately, there's reason to remain hopeful that Bumblebee's all-but universally positive reviews will help the movie to become a profitable venture for Paramount. Should that happen then, well, who knows: Knight and everyone else who wants to see a film set entirely on Cybertron may yet have their wish granted.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018