Last week, fans learned that the Transformers franchise would move forward by actually taking a trip to the past with word that the planned Bumblebee spinoff would take place in the 1980s. Accompanying the setting was a confirmation that the tone of the as-yet untitled Bumblebee film will skew a little younger, and now audiences will have a better idea as to the specific feeling Paramount is trying to capture in the upcoming film.
“It reminds me a little bit of Iron Giant years ago when I did that movie at Warner Bros.,” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explained to Collider during a press event for Transformers: The Last Knight. “It just reminds me a little bit of that where it was very contained and yet it didn’t feel small.”
Released theatrically on July 31, 1999, Brad Bird’s Iron Giant featured a giant alien robot (voiced by Vin Diesel) who crash-lands in Rockwell, Maine, in 1957. Discovered by a local 9-year-old boy, Hogarth, the two form an unlikely friendship. The beloved animated feature captured the hearts of those who saw it — gaining much more of an audience on home release — and if Bumblebee succeeds in replicating the film’s endearing nature, it would prove a startling departure from the action films made during Michael Bay’s tenure. The director’s take on Transformers has become darker over time, culminating in this month’s The Last Knight, which has teased an even heavier conclusion via its promotional material.
Directed by Travis Knight — known for family-friendly fair as the lead animator and CEO of Laika Entertainment and director of Kubo and the Two Strings — with a script by Christina Hodson, Bumblebee is expected to begin filming later this year for a projected 2018 release.