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The “Transformers” franchise may appear to be dead in the water after Paramount pulled the sixth film in the main series from its schedule, but that’s not so because “Bumblebee” is still coming right at you later this year. And in the middle of the night Monday night we got our very first look at the spinoff. You can check out the trailer in the embedded video above, or on YouTube right here.
“Bumblebee” will take the series back in time to the 1980s, thus serving as a prequel to the main series as well as a spinoff. As often happens in these things, the trailer shows us Bumblebee striking up a relationship with a young woman named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) by accident — while Charlie is poking around under her beat up new yellow Beatle, she spots Bumblebee’s real face.
During that bit, the trailer calls back to the first time we saw Bumblebee come into the possession of the human protagonist of one of the movies, with the sequence narrated by Bernie Mac’s used car salesman in “Transformers,” when he tells Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf’) that cars pick their drivers — “a mystical bond between man and machine.”
The “Bumblebee” trailer is notably light on the sort of large scale action and wacky humor that the “Transformers” movies are known for. The tone of the trailer is in keeping with how producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has described the film — as being an “emotionally complex story” which he compared to “The Iron Giant.”
Though it does give us a shot of Bee catching a flaming helicopter, as well as a villainous Decepticon disguised as a jet. That Decepticon, by the way, is Barricade, who features prominently in the main series. We also get a glimpse of John Cena and John Ortiz with a whole bunch of soldiers — because no “Transformers” movie could be complete without a military aspect.
In case you haven’t been keeping up with the continuity of the live-action “Transformers” series, Bumblebee has been hanging out on Earth a while before the events of the film series and even a few decades before this movie is set. As revealed in last year’s “The Last Knight,” Bumblebee has been around at least since World War II, in which he was part of an Autobot team who fought the Nazis alongside human forces.
How he ends up in Hailee Steinfeld’s possession is anyone’s guess. But I’ll guess we’ll find out when “Bumblebee” hits theaters on December 21.
The film is directed by Travis Knight of “Kubo and the Two Strings” fame, and is written by Christina Hodson.