Paramount's first Transformers spinoff film, Bumblebee, has rounded out the rest of its young human ensemble. While this year's Transformers: The Last Knight marked a noticeable change in Transformers franchise worldbuilding when compared to the previous four live-action Transformers movies, the film was still met with criticisms similar to the other Michael Bay-directed installments before it. As a result, next year's Bumblebee spinoff film is shaping up to be the first real considerable change in direction and tone for Paramount's ambitious Transformers cinematic universe.
Not only will Bumblebee be the first spinoff film in the Transformers franchise, its story will also be unrelated to the events that took place in all five previous Transformers films. Taking place in the 1980s, the film follows Bumblebee during one of his many experiences on Earth without his fellow Autobot comrades. As such, Bumblebee is said to resemble Brad Bird's beloved Iron Giant in terms of tone and storytelling, rather than the chaotic action extravaganzas that the franchise has been up until this point.
Following the casting of Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and Hailee Steinfeld as the male and female leads in the film, respectively, THR reports that Bumblebee has now rounded out its human ensemble with a string of additional casting choices. The report states that actors Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), Abby Quinn (Landline), Rachel Crow (BrainSurge), Ricardo Hoyos (The Belko Experiment), and Gracie Dzienny (Zoo) are all currently in talks or signed on to star in the film - which itself will be directed by Kubo and the Two Strings filmmaker, Travis Knight.
Presumably, all of these actors will be playing roles somehow related to Steinfeld's lead human character, a young female mechanic who joins together with her friends to try and help Bumblebee in the '80s. And in case it wasn't already clear that Paramount was going for a much more youthful tone and style with the Bumblebee spinoff then this final string of casting announcements should come as a final kind of confirmation, especially as Bumblebee gears up to begin principal photography next month.
Now, Paramount is resting a lot of their hopes for a sustainable Transformers cinematic universe on the success of Bumblebee, which will be the first Transformers film to not feature any of other Autobots or even the team's iconic leader, Optimus Prime. It'll be interesting then to see just how invested audiences actually are each of the individual characters in the franchise, or rather in just seeing the large scale, overloaded team-ups that the Bay-directed outings became known for. The studio has done a good job at rounding up some very talented and distinctive creative voices for the film - especially with Travis Knight at the helm - but Bumblebee may finally prove once and for all, just how much longevity and life this critically-maligned blockbuster franchise actually has.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018