Paramount Pictures brought the Transformers to Comic-Con for the first time today, screening footage from forthcoming spin-off Bumblebee. Director Travis Knight was joined by stars Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena to preview the movie, which looks like a blast.
The panel kicked off in rousing fashion, with Stan Bush performing iconic Transformers theme “The Touch.” The stars then took to the stage to present what Knight calls “a Spielbergian coming-of-age tale.”
Exploring Bumblebee’s Past
“It’s an origin story,” Knight explained. “We find out who Bumblebee was before he met us. Why he becomes the character he becomes. It takes a deep dive into the character to find out what he’s about.”
Knight also revealed that we’ll visit Bumblebee’s home planet, with some of the movie taking place on Cybertron.
Steinfeld says that her character Charlie Watson goes on a beautiful journey with Bumblebee. She’s suffered a terrible loss, and the Transformer helps her to heal.
“This is a character who is finding her place in this world and her voice, and so is Bumblebee. So they do it together,” Seinfeld explained. “It’s a story of friendship and heartfelt emotion. Their relationship means something. It’s exciting and emotional.”
Regarding villains, Bumblebee is being hunted by Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick, voiced by Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux. And they are Triple Changers, turning into both aircraft and muscle cars.
There’s another Decepticon in the movie, and it’s not Starscream as previously rumoured. Instead, it’s Blitzwing.
As for human villains, John Cena plays Agent Burns. Cena entered Hall H in wrestling style, from the back, to the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party!).”
On his character not believing he’s a villain, Cena said, “Agent Burns knows that he’s right, and that’s the reason he sometimes does the naughty things that he does. Agent Burns is a complicated man. And damn he looks good in a suit!”
Bringing the Feels
There then screened a scene in which Bumblebee is being chased through a forest and fired at by tanks. They knock him over and we see Agent Burns driving one. The air force then seemingly arrives, but really it’s a Decepticon. The foe takes out Burns’ men and has an almighty ding-dong with Bumblebee, dropping him off a cliff that causes his memory core to fail. The injured Transformer starts to shut down.
We then saw a clip of when Bumblebee first reveals himself to Charlie, and it’s adorable. Definite E.T. vibes. Followed by a sequence in which he accidentally trashes a house because he’s so big. And a brief scene in which he watches The Breakfast Club and mimics Judd Nelson’s character. We also caught a glimpse of Optimus Prime, but only in hologram form.
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) July 21, 2018
Finally, Peter Cullen appeared in the audience, and in his Optimus Prime voice, spoke of his absence from much of the film’s footage, and asked what an Autobot has to do to get his own movie. In doing so, he brought the house down and ended the panel in memorable fashion.