The director and cast of the upcoming Transformers spinoff movie Bumblebee respond to our theory that connects G.I. Joe to the Transformers universe. Bumblebee is the first Transformers spinoff, and centers around Bumblebee and his human friend named Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld). The film will stand as the sixth overall film in the Transformers film series, while also being a prequel to the other films as it takes place in the 1980s.
While the Transformers movies have been going strong since 2007, Paramount saw less success with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2009 and G.I. Joe: Retaliation in 2013. A third G.I. Joe movie has long since thought to be in development, but in 2017 it was revealed that the G.I. Joe series would be getting a reboot. With the success of the Transformers series, it's long been thought that Paramount would create a shared Hasbro universe connecting several different popular toys such as Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Micronauts. That being said, Bumblebee could be the beginning of this shared Hasbro universe.
Our theory explains that John Cena's character, who's a Sector-7 emissary named Agent Burns, is actually playing the original G.I. Joe named Duke. This would not only start the Hasbro shared universe between these two titles, but it could also go on to explain that Sector 7 will become known as G.I. Joe. While Screen Rant's theory has yet to be confirmed, we got the chance to sit down with the director and cast of Bumblebee to see what they thought about the theory. Passages from our interviews with director Travis Knight, and actors Cena and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. can be read below.
Travis KnightScreen Rant: I have a fan theory and you can either confirm or deny this.Travis Knight : Alright.Screen Rant : Alright, this is a soft reboot of the Transformers franchise because we do see Optimus Prime before he hits in the 2000 era, so he’s already on Earth, but it also feels like a reboot of the GI Joe franchise with possibly John Cena playing Duke. Can you confirm or deny this?Travis Knight: I don’t think it’s that crazy, but I can neither confirm nor deny it, I’m sorry. I wish I could.Screen Rant: Fair, but that’s good! I mean, look, it’s amazing, and John did an amazing job too. . .Travis Knight: Yeah.Screen Rant: Cause he plays the role so straight but he also has that comedic timing. . .Travis Knight: He does, he does.Screen Rant: That just knocks it out of the park.Travis Knight: Yeah, I mean, he’s the human antagonist, but he’s also a guy who’s got dimension. You get where he’s coming from. He’s actually right when you look at his point of view and that kind of makes him more terrifying. You understand where he’s coming from but, you don’t want him to succeed because that means the end of our heroes. But yeah, John is just a naturally charismatic guy. HE’s got great comedic timing . . . he just oozes charm and bringing that element to what’s essentially a bad guy was something that gave him additional dimension.
John CenaScreen Rant: Now I have a fan theory, now you can either confirm or deny this, now this is a soft reboot of the Transformers franchise, a soft reboot. I have a theory that your character is . . . this is also a soft reboot of GI Joe and you could be Duke. Am I right?John Cena: Promote that man. As a geek of those universes colliding, I think that is a tremendous idea, but once again, we are the lowlies, all we can do is use our voice, make this movie, and hopefully the people making the movie or fans who agree with us or disagree, if it’s not me . . . and I’m very thankful for the kind words, I just think these two franchises have so many connections. . .Screen Rant: You and me both.John Cena: In a world of universes colliding, I think this is a perfect match.
Jorge Lendenborg Jr.Screen Rant: Now, I have a fan theory and I want you to confirm or deny it. . .Jorge Lendenborg Jr:: It’s true.Screen Rant: It has to do with John’s character . . . It’s true, obviously . . . I have a theory. So this is a soft reboot of Transformers and I also think with John’s Character it’s also a soft reboot of GI Joe, with him being Duke, what are the chances that you think that that’s accurate?Jorge Lendenborg Jr:: I feel like that’s . . . yo, there’s a real chance. . . I . . . . Yoooo. . . .Screen Rant: We’re on to something.Jorge Lendenborg Jr:: Yooooooo. . . . This guy . . . this guy. . . They should hire you.
The idea of a crossover between Transformers and G.I. Joe would surely be exciting for fans who grew up with those toys and animated series, and it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility. In fact, it seems that Paramount has considered this kind of idea before, since Dwayne Johnson and Paramount even talked about a G.I. Joe and Transformers crossover. Also, one script for G.I. Joe 3 actually had started a Transformers crossover, but the idea never came to be. Now that Michael Bay is only producing and not directing the next Transformers film, the crossover might finally come to light.
While these comments still don't confirm or deny our theory, the theory still seems like it could be a possibility. Bumblebee is projected to have the worst opening of the entire Transformers franchise, but if Paramount reveals a G.I. Joe connection, it could potentially fill more seats in theaters. The Transformers films have often received less than favorable reviews, but they tend to bring in a lot of money for Paramount, especially overseas. With Bumblebee thought to be a soft reboot of the series, it's certainly possible that the film could also tease a soft reboot for G.I. Joe, but nothing is set in stone just yet.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018