Unlike the live-action Transformers movies before it, Bumblebee will only feature three Decepticons. This is in keeping with previous reports, which have described the spinoff as a lower-budgeted and "smaller" Transformers film. Bumblebee will further serve to scale things down on the franchise after last year's Transformers: The Last Knight. That movie was typically criticized for being bombastic and over-stuffed with Transformers, even by many die-hard fans of the property. Those behind the franchise are now mixing things up, following that film's disappointing box office performance.
In addition to the smaller price tag, Bumblebee will feature a female human lead - a first for the series. The film takes place in 1987 and follows the titular Autobot on a mission to earth, where he crosses paths with a young mechanic named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld). Bumblebee is carrying out his mission alone, in order to maintain a low profile and avoid drawing excess attention to himself. For that reason, "B" will have fewer Decepticons on his tail and tracking his movements in the movie.
Bumblebee was written by Christina Hodson (the first woman to write a Transformers movie) and serves primarily as a coming of age story for Charlie. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura praised Hodson's screenplay during his interview with EW to promote the film. He also said the movie's creatives realized they would need to reduce the number of Decepticons in the film, to avoid over-shadowing Charlie's storyline:
“[Christina Hodson] wrote a really beautiful script that really played into the emotion of the relationship of the two. So looking at the movie from that perspective, we thought, we don’t want to overwhelm one Autobot with too many Decepticons. So he has three primary antagonists.”
EW has further revealed that two of the Decepticons will hide themselves as automobiles in the Bumblebee movie. However, for the time being, all three of their identities are being kept under-wraps. That includes the Deception that has already been partially revealed by the Bumblebee teaser trailer released this month. As the trailer shows, that transforming robot takes on the form of a jet when in-diguise.
All thing considered, having fewer Decepticons sounds like a smart move for Bumblebee. The previous live-action Transformers films usually didn't spend much time developing the villains outside of Megatron. Even The Last Knight's Suicide Squad-style montage intro to the Decepticons didn't do much to distinguish them from one another. With fewer robots-in-disguise fighting for screen time, Bumblebee may yet have more success in its efforts to make the Autobots' enemies memorable in live-action.