The first trailer for Bumblebee, the upcoming Transformers spinoff directed by Travis Knight, has answered several key questions about the movie. It gives a sense of the film's tone and style, an idea of some of the conflict that will be explored by the plot, and a strong sense of just where this fits in the Transformers timeline.
Transformers: The Last Knight revealed that Bumblebee had been active on Earth for a lot longer than we first thought. He'd visited the planet during the Second World War, at a time when he was far more militaristic and, frankly, insubordinate. This early Bumblebee had little tolerance for humans. Bee became attached to a military unit who played a key role during the War, and "nice" wasn't one of the words used to describe him back then.
This was obvious setup for the Bumblebee spinoff. Somewhere between the events of The Last Knight and the first Transformers film, Bumblebee would return to Earth, and his experience there would change his view of humanity forever.
A Character-Driven Plot
The Transformers films have typically been action movies, but this first trailer focuses in on characters. It seems that, in 1985, Bumblebee is discovered by Hailee Steinfeld's Charlie Watson. She becomes Bumblebee's driver, and the two form a close bond. A voice-over stresses that there's an almost spiritual side to their relationship; "It's a mystical bond between man and machine," viewers are told. Some of the scenes even verge on being romantic!
Just as in the first Transformers film, this version of Bumblebee is unable to speak; it's Charlie who comes up with the idea of communicating through music. She gives him a tape, which - in a hilarious moment - Bumblebee rejects unceremoniously. The film will presumably use a classic soundtrack to create a period style.
Tying Bumblee Into Transformers Continuity
The trailer is actually quite light on both action and plot, avoiding revealing too much. It's important to remember that, in the 1980s, the Decepticons would be scouring the galaxy in search of Megatron and the All-Spark. The trailer gives a glimpse of the G1 Starscream design, suggesting a handful of Decepticons have come to Earth, so it's possible Bumblebee is here to monitor them.
The trailer also stresses the presence of Sector 7, the secret agency founded by President Hoover in order to monitor alien involvement on Earth. They actually possess both Megatron and the All-Spark, and Transformer technology has been reverse-engineered over the course of the twentieth century to create human machines. Bumblebee will need to tread very carefully here; if the Decepticons realize that human technology is derived from Transformer science, they'll guess that Megatron, at least, is on Earth. But they shouldn't really do that until the first Transformers movie, set decades after this.
Optimus Prime is confined to appear in Bumblebee, but it's likely he'll just have a cameo. This is just a one-robot show, with a single heroic Autobot striving to protect humanity from the Decepticon menace.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018