Travis Knight Knew Bumblebee Would Include This Classic Transformers Reference Before He Even Started Filming

Rodimus Prime in the 1987 Transformers movie

The following contains a minor spoiler for Bumblebee.

Bumblebee takes the Transformers back to the 1980s when the toys first hit store shelves. The film is set in 1987 which is just after the release of the very first Transformers movie, an animated film that was part of the popular kids cartoon series. That film has achieved a sort of cult status over the years, and apparently, director Travis Knight planned for the new movie to reference that one pretty much from the beginning. He told CinemaBlend's Jeff McComb that "The Touch" by Stan Bush was always going to be in the movie. According to Knight...

It was never a question. I was absolutely going to put the song in. You know, I am a huge fan of the animated series. I love the 1986 movie and I grew up with these characters, I love these characters, I love these stories. Michael [Bay], he discovered the Transformers as an adult but they were part of my childhood, so, weaving those aspects of those childhood memories, those really potent memories into this movie, that was just a no-brainer to put that thing in there.

"The Touch" is a rock song that appears a couple times in Transformers: The Movie, the 1986 animated feature. It's a somewhat random inclusion since the Transformers cartoon never put any sort of a focus on modern music previously, but including hit songs in movies was an even bigger deal in the 80s than it is today.

The song has been referenced in other films, probably most famously sung by Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights, but has never been referenced in a previous Transformers movie. As Travis Knight told CinemaBlend, that's likely because Michael Bay just doesn't have the same relationship with the material that he has. If you haven't lived through the death of Optimus Prime as a child, then I'm just not sure how your soul is complete.

If, somehow, you're not familiar with "The Touch" then allow me to enlighten you. While it gets a hard time, it's far from the worst song ever and I unironically like it. Take a listen.

You're welcome.

Perhaps what it took for the Transformers film to really find their stride was a director who grew up with the material. Travis Knight's Bumblebee is being much better reviewed than the previous installments. The only question now is how closely Bumblebee will be able to match Michael Bay's box office gross. It seems that with Bumblebee being a holiday release nobody is expecting those sorts of numbers, but in the end, it is a Transformers movie and they have been box office gold up to this point.

Check out Travis Knight's full comments in the video below and listen for Stan Bush in Bumblebee this Friday.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.