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The Transformers franchise is set to go back in time later this year when Travis Knight's Bumblebee debuts in theaters. Moving away from the main continuity established by Michael Bay, the film will be set in the 1980s to explore the earlier years of Bumblebee's adventures on Earth. The film will shift a lot of what we already know about the overarching Transformers franchise, and according to Knight, it will embrace that era to honor the Transformers mythology in a big way. The Kubo and the Two Strings director explained:
So, what I was kind of trying to do with this film because it's set in the 80s, was harken back to the great, original, G1 vibe and feeling and tone. So, there are definitely Easter eggs for fans who are down with that sort of thing. There's a lot of continuity between this and the film's that Michael has done. But the film does stand on its own.
The Transformers franchise has firm origins in the 1980s, and it looks like Bumblebee won't shy away from that idea. As the original Transformers cartoon started back in 1984, the film will embrace that specific setting and go back to its roots and offer a feeling reminiscent of those early years. It won't completely reboot the work done by Michael Bay in the first five Transformers movies, but it will "stand on its own" and tell a story that feels far more similar to the classic Transformers vibe.
This is something that other Bumblebee insiders have emphasized in their remarks about the film over the course of its development. In fact, while speaking out about Bumblebee's setting last year, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura also used the term "G1" to describe the old-fashioned feel of the story. Instead of upping the size and scale of the movie after the release of Transformers: The Last Knight, they're scaling things down to honor the source material and do something that involves "more time with less robots."
Of course, it also helps that Travis Knight was already a fan of the Transformers mythology when he signed on for the Bumblebee spinoff, which allowed him to handle the sheer size of the Hasbro research material. The director continued his conversation with Collider at CinemaCon and explained:
It's incredibly dense, the mythology. You know when I came aboard the Hasbro cast they gave me the Transformers bible which is like this enormous, thick tome. And I sort of looked through it [like] 'I can't read all of this.' But, blessedly for me, I was the guy who grew up playing with the toys, watching the cartoons, reading the comic books. So, a lot of it is kind of in here anyway.
As previously mentioned, Bumblebee will take the Transformers franchise back in time to examine the origins of the yellow Autobot. The film will see him meet a young girl named Charlie Watson (The Edge of Seventeen star Hailee Steinfeld) in a California junkyard while on the run in 1987. The two eventually go on to develop a friendship with one another, while a government official named Agent Burns (John Cena) closes in on them.
With that promise in mind, make sure to stay tuned for more updates related to Bumblebee as new details about the Transformers spinoff become available to us. The film will hit theaters later this year on December 21, so mark your calendars down now!