Bumblebee is the first spin-off film in the Transformers franchise and the first film in the series to be directed by someone other than Michael Bay. Set in the 1980's, Bumblebee takes place before the previous Transformers films - perhaps even in a new continuity - and is on a much smaller scale, refocusing the franchise with a more character driven story. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming movie Bumblebee.
- Release Date: December 21, 2018
- Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Drucker, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow, Ricardo Hoyos, Gracie Dzienny, John Ortiz
- Director: Travis Knight
- Writer: Christina Hodson
Last Updated: November 26, 2018
What Is Bumblebee Movie's Story?
Bumblebee is a much smaller and more intimate than the previous Transformers films. Director Travis Knight also stated that he wanted to bring "humor and heart" to the film and really focus on a small part of a massive franchise. The film's producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has likened Bumblebee to the classic animated film The Iron Giant where a boy and develops an unlikely friendship with a giant robot. Likewise, the main focus of Bumblebee is the bond between a girl and her car.
The Bumblebee movie synopsis states:
"On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug."
However, just because it's a smaller story, doesn't mean Bumblebee is a small movie. It will still center on the battle between Autobots and Decepticons, featuring some familiar faces.
Hailee Steinfeld is the Star of The Bumblebee Movie
Hailee Steinfeld is playing Bumblebee's owner Charlie Watson, a tomboy and part-time mechanic. She finds the battered yellow car hiding in a junkyard and takes him in. In this new film, Bumblebee is a Volkswagen Beetle, his original form in the animated series, rather than the Camaro shape he takes in Bay's films. The trailers show Charlie teaching Bumblebee how to speak through music, since he cannot talk like the other Transformers.
Bumblebee Movie's All-Star Cast
John Cena is also set to star in Bumblebee as Agent Burns. Burns is a government operative with connections to Sector 7, the group that hunted down the robots in disguise in the original movies. His character looks to be the antagonist, going up against Charlie and her new robot friend.
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is playing the male lead of Bumblebee. Other Bumblebee cast members include Rachel Crow (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train), Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), Abby Quinn (Black Mirror), Ricardo Hoyos (Degrassi: The Next Generation), and Gracie Dzienny (Zoo) in undisclosed roles. The cast is full of mostly young actors, proving the film's commitment to making Bumblebee lighter and more youthful in tone and style. John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island) also has one of the few adult roles in the film.
Optimus Prime & More Transformers Are In Bumblebee Movie
While most of the cast is new, there are some familiar - albeit robotic - faces joining Bumblebee on his solo adventure. As seen in the trailer, the primary Decepticon antagonists are two new Decepticons, Dropkick and Shatter. They will be joined on the mission to Earth is Blitzwing.
They're not the only other Transformers set to appear. A flashback to Cybertron in Bumblebee will feature Autobot leader Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) against Soundwave, Ravage, Shockwave and more.
Watch The Bumblebee Movie Trailers
There have been three trailers for the Bumblebee movie so far: a teaser trailer in June, a full trailer in September, and an international trailer that revealed even more of Optimus Prime. Each has shown amazing footage of the film, highlighting Charlie and Bee's relationship, the 80's setting and music, and the transforming VFX, as well as the Transformer action on Earth and Cybertron.
The Bumblebee Movie Poster Shows A Girl and Her Car
The poster for Bumblebee was released the same day as the teaser trailer. It features Charlie and Bumblebee watching the sunset over the ocean. The tagline for the film, "Every adventure has a beginning" is featured prominently on the image along with the Christmas release date. The poster further stresses how important the relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee will be as well as showing off the California setting.
Animation Director Travis Knight Is Directing Bumblebee
Travis Knight is directing Bumblebee. Knight comes from an animation background, having previously helmed the Oscar-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings, with Bumblebee his first live-action film. The director beat out Jaume Collet-Sera (The Shallows), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Seth Gordon (Baywatch), and Aaron and Adam Nee (The Last Romantic) for the gig.
Christina Hodson is Writing Bumblebee
Christina Hodson wrote the screenplay for Bumblebee. She was originally part of a Transformers writer's room, which also included Akiva Goldsman (Star Trek: Discovery), Zak Penn (The Avengers), Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Steven DeKnight (Pacific Rim Uprising), Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), and Jeff Pinker (Lost). This group came up with story ideas for a number of potential Transformers films including Transformers: The Last Knight and Bumblebee. However, Hodson is the only one from that original group still with the project. The writer's room has since been disbanded.
How Bumblebee Connects To The Previous Transformers Films
Transformers: The Last Knight revealed that Bumblebee had been on Earth longer than previously believed, dating all the way back to World War II. So what happened to the Autobot after the war but before he met Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) in the original Transformers? Well, that's for Bumblebee to flesh out.
However, the film is rather disconnected from the rest of the series. Transformers 6 was supposed to be released in 2019, but has since been pulled from Paramount's schedule. If Bumblebee is a success, it may mean Paramount looks to create more spin-off films in the franchise, rather than direct sequels, the most recent of which have failed critically and at the box office. There were originally rumors that the franchise would be rebooted after Bumblebee, but that has since changed. It seems like the future of the franchise will hinge on the success of Bumblebee.
Bumblebee Will Have Scenes Set On Cybertron
Bumblebee director Travis Knight confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con this year that Bumblebee will offer a look at the Transformers' home planet of Cybertron, which has only previously been glimpsed in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. A TV spot for Bumblebee gave us a look at some of the Cybertron scenes, with Optimus Prime, Soundwave, and Ravage engaging in a battle on their home planet.
Fans Can See Bumblebee Two Works Early At Selected Theaters
If you just can't wait for to see Bumblebee back in action with his new (or should that be old?) human sidekick, you're in luck, as Paramount Pictures is offering tickets for special preview screenings on December 8. Fans who attend these screenings will also get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look, and receive a Transformers: Tiny Turbo Chargers toy. Go to the official Bumblebee website to find out if there's an early screening near you.