The first Transformers spin-off has added wrestler turned actor John Cena in an as-yet-undisclosed role and given us a taste of what to expect from the 80s set prequel via an official synopsis.

"On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug."

Despite the early promise of the first live-action film, the Transformers franchise has become the epitome of Hollywood excess with its mega budgets and lack of anything resembling a coherent story. Even the most avid fans of those robots in disguise had a hard time warming to the latest big screen sequel. The final sequel (fingers crossed) of the Michael Bay era of Transformers was another messy endeavor offering glossy effects a plenty, but no heart.

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The Last Knight isn't just the worst reviewed instalment of the franchise (which is really saying something), but it's also the lowest grossing at the box office. Currently sitting on a global total of $570 million, and is unlikely to match the final tally of the first live-action movie ($707 million) that was released a decade ago.

As it turns out, the poor performance of The Last Knight is the best thing to happen to the franchise in years, as it is forcing Paramount to rethink the future of Transformers in potentially exciting ways. The Bumblebee movie is being directed by Kubo and the Two Strings' Travis Knight and will be produced on a leaner budget of $70 million. Instead of the giant spectacle that Michael Bay offers, Bumblebee will be a more low-key affair according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

"I think Bumblebee is an incredibly loved character. You pick (director) Travis Knight for a very specific reason. His movies are pretty extraordinary, Kubo and the Two Strings in particular. What we're trying to do is deliver, a love story may be too strong of a term, but it is a coming of age for Bumblebee and our lead character, Hailee Steinfeld. The two of them, their job in the movie is to support each other to get to the place where they both fully realize who they are in that moment. It's a very different kind of story. That plot is there, but it's very muted, relative to the larger Transformers movies."

I adored Kubo, and I can't wait to see Knight bring that same warmth, wonder and occasional unease to the Transformers universe. The Bumblebee Movie will be released in cinemas June 18, 2018.

Written by
Chris Suffield

Head writer at My passion for storytelling has been at the heart of all my work.

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