One of the biggest complaints fans had about the Michael Bay Transformers movies was they really weren’t about the Transformers. They were human stories with Transformers as supporting characters. Well, the producers heard those sentiments and they’re changing the franchise.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the fans that they wanted us to do a deep dive on one or two of the robots, because they wanted to get to know them better,” Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told Entertainment Weekly. “Bumblebee was selected [to be first] because he’s such a loved figure, and he’s also more emotional than Optimus [Prime]. Those were the two likely characters.”
So, yes, if the upcoming Bumblebee movie is a hit, an Optimus Prime movie could be next. “I’d certainly like to do that,” di Bonaventura said. “It would be a very different kind of movie than a Bumblebee movie, but equally interesting and different.”
After four ultra successful movies, including two that crossed $1 billion, 2017's Transformers: The Last Knight bombed, at least in comparison. That forced di Bonaventura and his team to reevaluate the franchise and, wouldn’t you know it? They were already working on just the right thing.
“We were headed down the Bumblebee path well before the release of the last Transformers,” he said. “We had felt that with the fifth movie, we had sort of run out of room with where to take it.”
Now, not only will the focus be on individual characters like Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, the timelines will shift too. Bumblebee is set in the 1980s. That allows the franchise to embrace the “G1” iconic Transformers look a little more—and to avoid crossing over with Bay’s movies, which are primarily set in the 2000s.
“We wanted to firmly establish when Bumblebee got here,” di Bonaventura said. “We thought, let’s try to tell as much of the origin story of Bumblebee on Earth as we can. We have elements in Cybertron, but really Earth is where we spend our time.”
If Bumblebee is a success, sequels are on the table, not to mention that possible Optimus Prime movie.
“If Bee’s successful, we can have a Bee 2, no doubt,” di Bonaventura said. “We have a good sense of where a second movie would go. For me, the greatest thing that came out of the writer’s room was the sense that we could go in any number of directions. It opened up our minds to choices.”
To read more about Bumblebee, as well as the future of Transformers, read the full di Bonaventura interview at the link below.
Bumblebee opens December 21.