The Bumblebee spinoff film will show fans what the beloved Autobot's life is like without Optimus Prime around to guide him. And while Transformers: The Last Knight is earning generally bad reviews from critics and the smallest opening for a Transformers movie at the domestic box office yet, the first spin-off from the Michael Bay-directed saga films is shaping up to be a legitimately promising addition to this growing cinematic universe. With Kubo and the Two Strings director, Travis Knight, onboard at the helm and Hailee Steinfeld confirmed to be starring in the lead human role, Bumblebee has a cast list and premise unlike any other Transformers film to date.
But even more importantly, the movie promises to give Bumblebee - one of the few characters from the past five Transformers films to maintain his likability all throughout - a chance to have the spotlight all to himself for once. It doesn't hurt either, that the film is already receiving early comparisons to The Iron Giant, thanks to both its 1980s period setting and apparently very lovable tone.
During an interview with EW, Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura not only further teased that the Bumblebee spinoff may feature the character transforming into his original VW Bug form, but also how the absence of Optimus Prime will affect the overall story and feel of it:
“The interesting thing about doing a spin-off is it has to have some familiarity with the franchise, and then it has to have its own distinct qualities for it to stand on its own. It’s the story of a 17-, 18-year-old girl who, through a series of events, she and Bumblebee find each other, and they make each other whole. Bumblebee’s a very loving character. He’s got a lot of heart, so of course the idyllic life of these two is interrupted by the evil Decepticons. And how are they going to be able to deal with the problem without Optimus and without everybody else?”
What's interesting about Bonaventura's comments about Optimus here, is that they're coming just after The Last Knight more or less turned the leader of the Autobots evil, and simultaneously pitted him against Bumblebee in a battle for the future of humanity. It wasn't a story direction that any fans likely could have predicted, and left Bumblebee in a much different position than any of the other films have before, which just further makes the spinoff film's 1980s setting that much more interesting of a choice on the studio's part.
But even after the events of The Last Knight, the absence of Optimus Prime likely won't be something that many fans will be saddened to hear about either. Bumblebee has, after all, always been a fan-favorite character over the years, in addition to being able to hold his own while being pitted in the center of a film's story and action. The spinoff film is really, the first step towards Paramount being able to prove they can create a viable and long-lasting live-action franchise out of this property - and starting it all off by following Bumblebee on one of his many, untold Earth adventures, certainly doesn't seem like a bad place to begin.
- Transformers 5/Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) release date: Jun 21, 2017
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018