Why John Cena Joined The Transformers Franchise With Bumblebee

John Cena as Agent Burns in Bumblebee
(Image credit: (Universal Pictures))

In recent years, John Cena has been following in the footsteps of fellow former WWE wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson with a quite successful career in acting. After stealing the show in 2015's Trainwreck, Cena has nabbed starring roles in the animated film Ferdinand and the comedy Blockers. John Cena's most recent role in Transformers spinoff, Bumblebee, demanded that the actor do a lot more than just deliver laughs, and he was more than up for the task. Here's what he had to say about what drew him to join the action franchise:

I've always wanted to show a little more dimension and play a conflicted character. What's fun about doing a prequel is that we get to delve into the unanswered questions from the earlier movies. This takes place years before Sector 7 has become the established institution it is when we meet Agent Simmons in the first film. It was highly classified then, so you can only imagine how secretive it is 20 years earlier.

John Cena explained his reasoning for hopping onto the latests Transformers flick while speaking to the INQUIRER.net. In Bumblebee, Cena plays Agent Burns, a Sector 7 military officer who spends much of the film chasing down the yellow Transformer. In preparation for the role, Cena created a backstory for the character to add dimension to Agent Burns. He describes him as a lone-wolf military professional who has risen up in the ranks through the ranks. Burns' motivations are always in the best interest of helping the nation and world, but he can sometimes get tunnel vision.

Director Travis Knight said John Cena was a "revelation" to him, because although he already knew he could deliver on the comedy front from his previous work, his role in Bumblebee made it necessary to help deliver some heartfelt moments in addition to being this badass intimidating military officer.

After five Transformers films directed by Michael Bay, Bumblebee is a different kind of movie for the franchise as it is helmed by the Kubo and the Two Strings' director and focuses heavily on injecting heart. The action flick is set in 1987 and sees a younger Bumblebee teaming up with a teenager named Charlie, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who form a close friendship.

Bumblebee is the most critically-acclaimed Transformers film to date, with a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score and a 79% audience score. The spinoff opened beside two major releases Aquaman and Mary Poppins Returns as the overall highest-rated of the three, though opened at No. 3 in its first weekend in the prime holiday slot.

In its almost two weeks in theaters, Bumblebee has made $157 million worldwide with a $135 million budget. Bumblebee will need to score a lot more cash while it's in theaters to be as lucrative as the other Transformers entries.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.