Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Transformers: The Last Knight
This month, the latest addition to the Transformers franchise hits screens, as Transformers: The Last Knight brings Optimus Prime, the Autobots, the Decepticons, and Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) back to the big screen. The film continues the story started in Age of Extinction, which ended with Optimus Prime headed into space to seek out the Creators, leaving the Earth to the beings currently living there (including Transformers). Now, years later, the humans on Earth are at war with the Transformers and Optimus Prime is nowhere to be found.
The film takes the audience back through history, revealing an all-new origin story for the Transformers (again) that connects to the legend of King Arthur, Stonehenge, a secret society and a magical weapon. It's also been called a "launching board" for future films in the franchise - including the upcoming Bumblebee solo outing, set for 2018. With this in mind, we take a look at how this latest Transformers movie sets up the next installment.
World War II BumbleBee
While the entire plot of The Last Knight is a sprawling, convoluted adventure, it also reveals quite a bit about Bumblebee's personal history. This fan-favorite Autobot pops up in one of the film's many historical sequences: during World War II. This wasn't a surprise, of course, as much of the promotion for the film focused on Bumblebee's involvement in the war, including a poster and TV spot. There was also some outrage over Michael Bay's decision to shoot his Nazi-fighting scenes at the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The scene involves a very different Bumblebee, with a Khaki paint job and a much less forgiving attitude toward humans.
Through this scene, the film reveals that Bumblebee has been around for much longer than fans would expect, and that he used to be a bona-fide soldier. This is a far cry from the lovable, funny mascot that fans know and love, and combined with a present-day subplot that returns the Autobot's voice to him, we're seeing a whole new Bumblebee this summer. In addition to his WWII scenes, it's hinted that this character has an even longer and more interesting story that is yet to be explored fully - one that will further examine how the loss of his voice has impacted him as a character, and how he developed from an obedient and ruthless soldier into the character that first appeared in 2007's Transformers.
A New Origin Story
This new origin story is a far cry from that of the original character, who was certainly not a soldier in the second world war. Of course, this is true of the entire franchise, which rewrites the Transformers mythology in its entirety.
Originally, Bumblebee (and the rest of the Transformers) was never given a truly fleshed-out story. In the animated series, the entire backstory of the Transformers is that they crash-land on a Prehistoric Earth, and spend centuries offline before eventually reawakening in 1984. Once both Autobots and Decepticons are brought back online, they engage in a secret battle, with the Decepticons intending to pillage the Earth and the Autobots deciding to protect it. It was a simple origin story, and Bumblebee was included as one of the youngest Autobots, and one of the first to explore their new home planet in the '80s.
Bumblebee Spin-Off: What We Know So Far
Presumably, the Bumblebee solo movie will be elaborating on this new origin for the little black and yellow Autobot, but that's not all we know about the upcoming film - and it's probably not the focus, either. Instead, it sounds like Bumblebee is going to connect to the original roots of the character, with an Iron Giant feel and an '80s setting.
"I know we’re doing a spinoff first in the Bumblebee movie, and that is a very distinctive departure from what you’ve been seeing so far… The objective of that movie is to develop more time with less robots in a way, and to go back to 1985 and go back to sort of the original heritage if you would of the Transformers. G1."
In addition to the producer's comments, a possible logo for the film has been revealed, which plays off the classic Optimus/Transformers logo, and Hailee Steinfeld is set to play the female lead. Beyond that, the plot is yet to be revealed - and it's also unclear how the revelations from The Last Knight are going to fit in.
Bringing It All Together
At the end of The Last Knight, Bumblebee has survived, he can speak again, and he's ready to start on another adventure to save his human friends.
However, where the characters ends is not as important as where he begins - especially where the spin-off solo flick is concerned. While the bulk of the action is set to take place in the '80s, the events of The Last Knight make it likely that Bumblebee is going to blend together the classic origin of the character with this new, more complicated backstory. Having piqued the fans' interest in exactly what Bumblebee has been up to throughout history in The Last Knight, the franchise could easily choose to include several more flashbacks in his solo movie, explaining exactly how Bumblebee went from super-soldier-bot to the rusted Camaro that first appeared in Transformers.
Of course, there is bound to be more to Bumblebee than a straightforward origin story - or even just a buddy movie. An unknown big bad of some shape or form is going to pop up as well, and the Autobot and his new friend may even run across the secret society that was introduced in The Last Knight. Given that the franchise seems happy to mix things up, there's no way of knowing just how much of the mythology revealed this summer is going to come up again in 2018, but it certainly gives this beloved character a little more depth for a solo outing to explore.
- Transformers 5/Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) release date: Jun 21, 2017