Hasbro used this year’s New York Toy Fair to declare that their critically acclaimed film Bumblebee was a reboot of the popular Transformers series. Upon its release last December, Bumblebee caused some confusion among fans of the franchise, as the storyline didn’t line up completely with past entries in the series. Originally billed as an origin story of the fan favorite Autobot Bumblebee and the first prequel to the Transformers series, fans began questioning if the studio was planning on wiping the slate clean of previous entries in the series soon after the film’s release.
Hasbro put fan questions to rest at their Saturday panel of New York Toy Fair. During their panel, Hasbro said that Bumblebee was the start of a “new storytelling universe” for the Transformers series. While Hasbro didn’t unveil any further information on what was ahead for the franchise, an interview with series producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura from last month sheds some light on what filmmakers have in store for Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and the rest the Autobots. Speaking with reporters from Deadline, Bonaventura said that part of the objective going into Bumblebee was to put the focus on a new set of human characters and families. Going forward, Bonaventura says that the studio’s objective will be to reach as wide an audience as possible while still pleasing the franchise’s core fans. Bonaventura feels that part of Bumblebee’s success was because the film turned the focus to a more emotional story and away from the extreme action and special effects that have become hallmarks of the series.
To help accomplish the studio’s goal, Bonaventura turned to Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight to helm the film. Travis based his take on Bumblebee off of the classic Steven Spielberg films of the 80s. Knight’s approach impressed fans and critics alike. The film made over $458 million at the box office and garnered a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the only film in the Transformers series to get a “fresh” rating from the site. While no specific plans are set, Bonaventura says that he feels that a film focusing on Autobot leader Optimus Prime might make for an excellent sequel to Bumblebee.
Bumblebee is set for release on digital platforms on March 19. The film will then be released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 2.