John Cena only appears for a few seconds in the Bumblebee trailer but fans are already speculating that his presence could be more than meets the eye: could Cena's character end up linking together the planned Hasbro shared universe?
Bumblebee is a prequel to Michael Bay's five Transformers films. Directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) and set in 1987, twenty years before the benevolent yellow Autobot meets Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky, Bumblebee tells a similar tale of the robot in disguise meeting a teenage girl named Charlie Watson, played by Academy Award-nominee Hailee Steinfeld. Much of the excitement and goodwill Bumblebee's trailer has generated is due to what appears to be a more grounded story in the vein of E.T. and The Iron Giant as well as the welcome Generation-1-style designs of the robots, which includes the villainous Decepticon Starscream.
However, John Cena's silent appearance in the trailer has definitely caused a stir. The multi-time WWE Champion has followed in the footsteps of his peers Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Dave Bautista by breaking through into Hollywood stardom, but he is currently in search of a major franchise to star in, a la The Rock in Fast And Furious and Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy. Transformers could be Cena's big-ticket, and indeed, Bumblebee may only be the beginning considering Hasbro's big plans. Here's how John Cena could even be more important to the connected film franchise Hasbro has in the works:
- This Page: Who Is John Cena In Bumblebee?
- Page 2: How John Cena Could Link To The Hasbro Cinematic Universe
The Mystery of John Cena's Bumblebee Character
Details about John Cena's role in Bumblebee are scarce, but what we do know from the trailer is that he's named Agent Burns and that he's part of Sector Seven. Since Bumblebee is (so far) part of the established Transformers movie universe, what fans know about Sector Seven still holds: it's an American agency founded during the Hoover Administration after the discovery of the Allspark Cube and Megatron himself in the Arctic. Designated N.B.E.-1, Megatron and the Allspark were secretly held and studied for decades, with the Hoover Dam built around the lab containing the aliens. Sector Seven made sure that other events concerning the Transformers, such as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's 1969 moon landing and their subsequent discovery of the presence of Transformers on Earth's only natural satellite, were never disclosed to the general public.
Sector Seven continued to serve as America's anti-alien robot task force well into the 1980s, which is where John Cena's Agent Burns comes in. Bumblebee and Starscream's conflict in a California beach town undoubtedly draws the government agency in to contain the alien threat. It's not clear how aware Burns is about which Transformers are good and which are evil; in The Last Knight, Bumblebee is established to have fought on the side of the Allies against the Nazis in World War II, but that happened four decades before the events of Bumblebee so that may not be information immediately in Agent Burns' possession. Sector Seven looks to serve in a role as antagonists to Bumblebee and Charlie Watson, at least on the outset before all parties' intentions are made clear.
In any case, the interesting name choice of John Cena's character raises eyebrows for fans in the know about the Hasbro properties. "Burns" is a common enough surname, but it's also one that could have significance to the larger shared universe and could shed greater light on the Sector Seven Agent's true identity and greater purpose.
Meet Calhoun Burns of MASK
There's another important character named "Burns" who comes from a Hasbro franchise, one who could have a future on the big screen. Hasbro and Paramount Pictures recently announced The Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray as the helmer of the M.A.S.K. movie. Like Transformers, M.A.S.K. is a 1980s toy property that was sold to children of that decade with a fondly-remembered cartoon. The acronym M.A.S.K. stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand; the M.A.S.K. team itself are crime-fighters from all walks of life recruited by billionaire Matt Trakker to wear superpowered helmets and drive vehicles that transform into various combat modes. M.A.S.K.'s main enemy is the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem, a.k.a. V.E.N.O.M.
The man with the last name Burns in M.A.S.K. is Calhoun Burns, an architect who pilots a black Corvette seaplane called the Raven. His mask is called the Gulliver, which allows Burns to shrink and enlarge objects, including himself, not unlike Marvel's Ant-Man. Whether or not John Cena's Agent Burns is actually Calhoun Burns - or is even related to the M.A.S.K. character - isn't yet known, but it's a potential link between Bumblebee/Transformers and M.A.S.K. that Hasbro could easily pull on. If Cena's Agent Burns eventually is revealed as Calhoun Burns and later joins M.A.S.K., it makes perfect sense for Matt Trakker's covert mobile strike force to recruit a former Sector Seven agent experienced in battling alien robots; an easy bridge between the two franchises and could span several others as well.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018