Dylan O'Brien is voicing Bumblebee in the character's solo movie spinoff/prequel. The live-action Transformers adventure takes place in the 1980s and follows Bee as he ventures to earth to carry out a secret mission for Optimus Prime, ultimately teaming up with a teenager named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) along the way. Since the movie revolves around Bumblebee as a younger Autobot, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura says the film's creatives wanted Bee's voice to have a youthful quality that reflects his relative inexperience in the story.
Those who saw last year's Transformers: The Last Knight may recall that, during his climactic showdown with Optimus, Bumblebee spoke in his "real" voice for the firs time (with the film's sound designer and supervising sound editor, Erik Aadahl, providing the character's vocals). However, now that Michael Bay - who helmed the previous five live-action Transformers movies - has stepped away from the series and Kubo and the Two Strings' Travis Knight is directing Bumblebee, the film aims to partially reboot the series' mythology in the wake of Bay's departure, beginning with Bee's voice.
IGN has confirmed that O'Brien is voicing Bumblebee in the character's solo film and even has a quote from Bonaventura, explaining why it was necessary for the Transformer famous for not having a voice in the live-action franchise to finally get one:
"Since we were approaching this as an origin story, we felt that it was appropriate that you got to hear his voice. That’s the simple logic that we employed. The longer term implication of that is different. But the short-term implication of that is, since we really are resetting the mythology, essentially, of who Bumblebee is. And so, that seemed to us to be the appropriate, to get the chance to hear what he sounds like."
Best known for his roles in the Teen Wolf TV series and The Maze Runner movie trilogy, O'Brien is trying his hand at something new with Bumblebee, in the wake of the final Maze Runner movie, The Death Cure, hitting theaters near the start of this year. During his interview with IGN, Bonaventura further explained that the actor possesses "that great quality in his voice of youthful exuberance, and also sort of trustworthiness" that he, Knight, and the film's other creatives wanted Bee to have in his '80s adventure.
It's fitting that Bee is getting a brand-new voice, seeing as Bumblebee itself (like Bonaventura said) is meant to serve as a fresh start for the Transformers movie franchise. While the film is currently projected for the lowest box office opening for a live-action Transformers movie yet, it's generating positive pre-release word of mouth and may prove to have long legs in theaters, assuming that the actual film lives up to all the initial hype. Between O'Brien voicing Bee, Steinfeld playing the human lead, and the talent behind the camera (including, writer Christina Hodson, the first woman to script a Transformers movie), Bumblebee certainly has a good deal working in its favor, quality-wise.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018