After five films, the Transformers franchise has a bit of a reputation and, depending on who you ask, it's usually not a great one. While the movies make for solid, mind-numbing, explosion-heavy spectacle, that's pretty much all they are. After a while, that can get pretty boring and the series saw the fallout in Transformers: The Last Knight, which barely grossed half of the last two movies. It was clear that a change in the formula was necessary, and Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explains how the upcoming Bumblebee had to be different from what came before.
If you don't change up, you're also taking a risk. It's one of those things where there is no simple answer. You're taking a risk no matter what you do when you make a big expensive movie, so why not change the formula completely and really hang in there?
Transformers: The Last Knight was a movie that went for broke. It added King Arthur mythology, made Optimus Prime evil, and cast Anthony Hopkins. Again, the spectacle was there, but it was clear that people were getting tired of that being the only draw. The Last Knight earned only $605 million worldwide, which is still a lot, but by Transformers standards it was a pretty weak reception. The planned sixth film was removed from the release schedule, so while the studio tries to crack down where the franchise can improve, it'll be experimenting with Bumblebee.
From the release of the first trailer, it's obvious that Bumblebee is not trying to be like the other Transformers movies. The trailer was light on explosions and heavy on heart, something you typically don't see in the franchise. I personally wouldn't call trying to make people care about your characters a risk, but any change to a formula comes with some caution, so Lorenzo di Bonaventura and the team figured why not go for it and see what they can accomplish.
With Bumblebee being such a different movie compared to the rest of the franchise, what does the future look like for future spin-offs? Lorenzo di Bonaventura told Entertainment Weekly that he'd like to do an Optimus Prime movie or they could get real crazy and try to make a time travel movie.
We could do a time travel movie. You could take almost any genre and do it. You can go back in the past, you can go to the future. So I think we've got an abundance of choices. It's really more about narrowing them down than anything else, and deciding which one we think is the strongest one to go with next.
It may not make much sense to do a time travel movie with Transformers, but when has logic every gotten in the way of this franchise? Go for it, I say!
Bumblebee releases in theaters on December 21, 2018. To learn more about the movie, here's everything we know so far.