Bumblebee Could Restart Transformers
One of the reasons fans are anticipating Bumblebee and hope it's successful is because the prequel is also being looked at as a possible fresh start for the entire Transformers franchise. Michael Bay oversaw the Transformers cinematic saga since 2007 and after directing all five films in the span of a decade, both diehard fans and general audiences found their patience for the Bayformers was spent. Transformers: The Last Knight was meant to introduce a whole new angle to move the series forward - it established a new war between Cybertron and Earth with the revelation that the humans' planet was secretly itself the Transformer called Unicron - but Transformers 5 ended being the lowest grossing film of the series. For many fans, The Last Knight was simply the last straw.
Paramount has even canceled plans for Transformers 6, placing hopes for the future of the franchise entirely on Bumblebee, who remains a beloved character despite how inconsistently he was portrayed in Bay's films. The opportunity here is that, if Bumblebee works both as a film and as a money-making machine, Paramount could use the spinoff instead as the springboard for a new Transformers continuity. This could potentially mean that the events that began with Bumblebee meeting Sam Witwicky in 2007 would never happen.
That's good for Transformers, but it could have some major steps for the future of Hasbro. A reboot could lead to the robots from Cybertron meeting G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., and even the Power Rangers in a brand new continuity, offering some very exciting possibilities.
Hasbro Wants A Big Shared Universe
It's no secret Hasbro and Paramount are keen to get in on the shared movie universe game; the toy company even created an in-house film division called Allspark Pictures to oversee the development of their many I.P.s into feature film franchises. With Transformers, G.I. Joe, Micronauts, M.A.S.K., Power Rangers, ROM, and Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, Hasbro certainly boasts brand name properties with global recognition as well as decades of nostalgia attached to compete with Marvel Studios and other major movie franchises. Hasbro has even been testing their shared universe in the pages of IDW Comics, where Transformers, G.I. Joe, ROM, and M.A.S.K. have shared a comics crossover. The next step is to bring this heavy metal mayhem into movie theaters, and that could start, fittingly, with Bumblebee, the most popular Transformer besides Optimus Prime. Meanwhile, along with the M.A.S.K. film, Hasbro is also in the early stages of producing a G.I. Joe spinoff about Snake-Eyes. How this all ties into John Cena's Agent Burns would be if he becomes part of M.A.S.K. or, if not, whether Sector Seven becomes akin to the S.H.I.E.L.D. of the Hasbro shared universe, with Burns himself potentially serving as their equivalent of Agent Phil Coulson.
Casting a rising star like Cena, who has comedic and action chops as well as a global following from his wrestling career, is already a masterstroke. Cena has been well-liked by movie fans and Hollywood producers for his roles in Trainwreck and Blockers, and he's been itching to show off his action hero skills in a major franchise (Cena has led several action movies produced by WWE Films). Transformers could launch John Cena to the next level in Hollywood, not unlike how G.I. Joe: Retaliation helped elevate Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (and vice versa). Johnson has also expressed interest in joining a G.I. Joe movie reboot; this could result in a long-awaited on-screen cinematic team up by the former WrestleMania rivals.
There is a catch to this John Cena theory, however: Bumblebee is set 30 years in the past, while the Hasbro cinematic universe films seem to be planned for the modern day. This means Cena's character would likely be into his 60s if he were to appear in any films set in the current era. However, these are movies about alien robots, soldiers armed with future-tech, and teenagers who pilot mechanical dinosaurs; such a freewheeling sci-fi universe could easily posit any number of explanations for a fit and youthful Agent Burns running around in the 21st century. The biggest mistake would be casting a leading man like John Cena and Hasbro not utilizing his star power to its utmost across their franchises.
As the WWE's franchise player, John Cena dubbed himself "the Face That Runs the Place". Hasbro would be wise to let John Cena be the glue bonding Transformers, G.I. Joe, and their entire shared universe so that their films become known as the place where fans can see John Cena outside of the wrestling ring. Cena's presence in Bumblebee could be just the beginning.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018