When it comes to Michael Bay's biggest franchise, things will seriously change (or dare I say "transform") after the events of Transformers: The Last Knight. The decade-old property will see some monumental shifts take place, and one of the biggest developments is Travis Knight's upcoming Bumblebee spinoff. One of the most intriguing aspects of the yellow-tinted solo project is it being set in 1985, and the purpose of that change is to get the Transformers series in touch with its beloved cartoon roots. Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explained:
Nostalgia has played a major role in the development of blockbuster franchises recently, so it makes quite a bit of sense for Bumblebee to eye the 1980s as a setting. The original Transformers stories became a sensation during their initial run in the Reagan years, so bringing Bumblebee back to that iconic era will help bring the franchise more in line with the early storylines that defined the Transformers mythos. Who knows? Director Travis Knight could potentially even frame his spinoff as a legitimate, live-action adaptation of the original animated series.
This is a tactic that has served other franchises well in recent years. Specifically, the X-Men series went back in time for a full-blown retcon adventure when X-Men: First Class debuted in 2011, and the series has relished every opportunity to explore time periods in which the X-Men team could potentially exist. It's a proven storytelling technique, so we're excited to see how it pans out for the Transformers films.
Aside from Lorenzo di Bonaventura's comments to Collider about Bumblebee's setting, the Transformers franchise will also soon see a massive shift concerning characters and style. Specifically, the series will move away from Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager (who is retiring after Transformers: The Last Knight) to focus on a new main character alongside Bumblebee himself. Although she has not officially signed on the dotted line just yet, recent reports have suggested that this shift will see The Edge of Seventeen's Hailee Steinfeld enter the franchise as the spinoff's human protagonist.
Beyond Hailee Steinfeld's possible introduction into the franchise, the reduced scale of this project will allow the story to focus on considerably fewer Transformers than ever before. Citing The Iron Giant (similarly a period piece) as a primary source of inspiration, Lorenzo di Bonaventura said the Bumblebee film may strike a more emotionally resonant note than anything ever directed by Michael Bay. With a clear emphasis on the yellow Transformer's relationship with this young girl, the "less is more" retro approach may seriously pay off when the film finally debuts.
We will bring you more details related to the Bumblebee film as new information pertaining to the project becomes available to us. The film is currently scheduled to premiere on June 8, 2018. Transformers: The Last Knight will hit theaters this week on June 21.