Tomorrow night, fans will get to see Transformers: The Last Knight in sneak peek screenings across the country, which producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has said in the past will help set up the upcoming Bumblebee spin-off, hitting theaters next summer. Production is slated to begin next month, and new details have recently surfaced about Bumblebee. Bonaventura has confirmed that the spin-off is a prequel set in the 1980s, comparing the story to the 1999 animated classic The Iron Giant. Here’s what the producer had to say, confirming that this story will have far less Transformers characters.
“There are dramatically less Transformers. We hired purposefully Travis Knight, who is a very distinct filmmaker. You can’t compete with Michael, you’re gonna lose. And also I think the audience wants something different all the time, let’s keep them interested. They’re gonna get a very emotionally complex story, a very tight story in terms of its location and in terms of its storytelling. In fact it reminds me a little bit of Iron Giant years ago when I did that movie at Warner Bros. It just reminds me a little bit of that where it was very contained and yet it didn’t feel small.”
We reported at the end of May that actress Hailee Steinfeld is the first cast member to sign on, portraying a young tomboy who has an after-school job as a mechanic. While Lorenzo di Bonaventura wouldn’t say much about her character, he did state that there would be chemistry between her character and Bumblebee, while confirming that the movie will be set in the year 1985, which is one year after the Transformers toy line launched with Generation 1 (G1), and a year after the Transformers animated series launched in the fall of 1984. Here’s what Lorenzo di Bonaventura had to say about the story, in his interview with Collider.
“I know we’re doing a spinoff first in the Bumblebee movie, and that is a very distinctive departure from what you’ve been seeing so far. The objective of that movie is to develop more time with less robots in a way, and to go back to 1985 and go back to sort of the original heritage if you would of the Transformers. G1. So it has a very distinct idea in it, and then whatever is gonna happen with the chemistry is what’s gonna happen, but it really is a young female lead opposite Bumblebee, and I think Optimus is gonna be jealous that Bumblebee has his own movie.”
Travis Knight, who made his feature directorial debut last year with Kubo and the Two Strings, will direct from a script by Christina Hodson, who was one of the members of the Transformers writers room. There have also been indication that this will be a low-budget Transformers movie, with late Paramount CEO Brad Grey teasing in a February 2016 interview that this Bumblebee movie will be made at a “lower cost.” Since there will be “dramatically less” Transformers characters this time around, it makes sense that the budget will be much lower, but there haven’t been any official budget figures released quite yet.