Big things are happening in the world of Transformers. Like the titular alien robots themselves, the series has begun to morph into something entirely different from what Michael Bay introduced us to in 2007. Specifically, the franchise has started to branch off into brand new directions, and that idea will really start to show after the debut of Transformers: The Last Knight when Bumblebee debuts next year. Very few details related to the first post-Michael Bay Transformers film have been revealed yet, but it seems that we now know that it will follow our bright yellow hero back in time to the Reagan era.
New reports associated with the upcoming Bumblebee spinoff seem to confirm that the Transformers solo movie will take place sometime in the 1980s. The rationale for this creative decision has not been made entirely clear yet, but the film will apparently focus more on Bumblebee himself. It will also strike a lighter tone than recent Transformers movies, and feature fewer of his Autobot compatriots. Kubo and the Two Strings' Travis Knight is currently attached to the project as its director, with screenwriter Christina Hodson tapped to pen the film's script.
This report seems particularly notable because it means that we will meet up with Bumblebee long before he befriends Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky. To fill that void, the project has reportedly tapped The Edge of Seventeen's Hailee Steinfeld to step in as Bumblebee's brand new (or first, chronologically speaking) human companion.
Although this development (which comes to us courtesy of Empire) seems somewhat surprising at first glance, it still more or less lines up with the current mission statement of the franchise as a whole. Specifically, Transformers: The Last Knight intends to establish a much deeper sense of mythology for the Autobots and Decepticons on Earth. With the upcoming Transformers movie set to explore the alien robots' influence on Arthurian legend, ancient samurai, and even the fight against the Nazis in WWII, it stands to reason that Bumblebee's film will also continue that journey into historical significance.
The prospect of moving the Transformers franchise into the 1980s also seems to serve another purpose as well. Specifically, a decade as unique and stylish as this will allow Travis Knight to explore some more visually compelling ideas that a Transformers film set in the modern era might not have access to. With that in mind, we can assume that the Bumblebee movie (like X-Men: Apocalypse before it) will try to take full advantage of the clothing, music, and pop culture that defined that iconic decade. After all, the original Transformers cartoon premiered back in 1984; it would be a shame not capitalize on such an opportunity for some delightfully meta references to the franchise's history.
Bumblebee is currently set to begin filming later this year and is gunning for a 2018 release window. Transformers: The Last Knight is scheduled to debut in theaters later this summer on June 21.