While Michael Bay’s time behind the camera of Transformers comes to an end with The Last Knight, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro have big plans for an expansion of the franchise, with a staggering 14 more stories in development. The first step in that new cinematic universe is a Bumblebee film, with True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld circling a key role opposite the fan-favorite Autobot.
Now, it appears Bumblebee will not only feature a fresh face, but also a new setting. Empire magazine reports Bumblebee will take place in the 1980s, and will feature “considerably fewer Transformers, concentrating on the big, yellow star (who in the movies so far can only talk via snippets of radio broadcasts) and likely pitching a little younger, tonally.”
Paramount has been secretive about the film’s story, but the changes would give the spinoff a drastically different tone than the films of the main franchise, which have grown darker over the years. Transformers: The Last Knight even includes moments where the Autobots fight Nazis, and a third act in which the property’s most beloved hero — Optimus Prime — seemingly taking the role of the sequel’s primary antagonist.
Directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) from a script by Christina Hodson, Bumblebee is expected to begin filming later this year for a projected 2018 release.