'Bumblebee' Made Some Big Changes To Distance Itself From Michael Bay's 'Transformers' Movies

The Transformers spin-off Bumblebee hit theaters just before Christmas. While the film certainly didn't bomb at the box office, debuting in the #3 spot, it's having some trouble matching up to the success that Aquaman and Mary Poppins Returns have had on the charts. That's a real shame, especially since this is easily the best film in the Transformers franchise, and a big part of that achievement comes from taking a step back from the Michael Bay movies.

Some new Bumblebee details reveal that the spin-off did everything they could to distance themselves from what Michael Bay brought to the Transformers movies and give fans something that felt new and refreshing. The changes made between a test screening of the movie and the final cut that ended up in theaters actually got rid of several details that would have linked the movie to the original Transformers movies much more.

Over at the Transformers fan site TFW2005, one of their readers had previously seen a test screening of Bumblebee. Now that the final cut is in theaters, the user known as "Optimus_Prowl" gave a rundown on the differences between the test screening and the final cut of the movie. Almost all of these changes were certainly for the better.

There Was No Cybertron Sequence

One of the best parts of Bumblebee comes in the opening sequence where we see the Autobots making a last stand against the Decepticons on their home planet of Cybertron. But that sequence wasn't originally part of the movie. Instead, the film began on Earth with some expository voiceover from Dylan O'Brien as Bumblebee, who we find is already on Earth and being chased by John Cena and his Sector 7 team of soldiers.

Instead, the movie finds Bumblebee ending up on Earth after evacuating Cybertron under orders from Optimus Prime. The Autobot ends up accidentally running into Sector 7 while the team is doing a training exercise in the forest. This works much better than what was in the original cut, because otherwise that would have raised a lot of questions, especially when you consider another big difference between the two cuts. It also allowed for that flashback sequence to play with Optimus Prime's message. Otherwise, that scene would have only featured the hologram of the Autobot leader and nothing else.

Sector 7 Used to Know About Transformers Already

In Bumblebee, John Cena and his team have no idea what Transformers are. This is their first experience with these robotic aliens. But in the test screening cut, John Cena's character Agent Burns and his counterpart Dr. John Powell (John Ortiz) already had knowledge of the Transformers existence. In fact, Agent Burns was much more hostile towards the Transformers because someone close to him was killed by a Transformer at some point. But all of that was axed, and again, the movie is much better for it.

Because of this change, there were some modifications made to Agent Burns as a character. Originally, Burns was made to be "much more serious and cut throat." But reshoots had Cena add some humor to the character. Thankfully, the final cut does a good job of bridging the two different performances without being too jarring or confusing, and it does make Agent Burns a little less of a cliched villain archetype.

Allspark Energy Wreaks Havoc on Charlie's House

One of the bigger deleted scenes in Bumblebee sounds a little unnecessary, and it also references a sequence from the original Transformers. When Bumblebee sneaks inside Charlie's house and starts exploring, he sticks his finger in an electrical outlet. Instead of just receiving a shock, this actually sent a blast of Allspark energy through some appliances, which end up coming to life like the XBOX 360, steering wheel and vending machine from the first Transformers movie. They even included voicework from comic actor Martin Short.

In the final cut of the movie, Memo calls Charlie when he sees Bumblebee is causing a ruckus inside the house, and the two find everything totally wrecked. But in the test screening cut, Memo and Charlie have to fight off the appliances. Apparently there's still a line referencing this in the movie, which is somewhat confusing in retrospect, because we heard Charlie's mother as why she cut the power cord on the television.

It doesn't sound like this scene would have added much to the movie, and it also raises questions best left avoided. Because if the AllSpark has the power to give life to appliances, it leaves us to wonder if they're always evil machines or if new Transformers can be created and turned into allies. I always thought it was a weird part of the original Transformers that never went anywhere significant, so I'm glad they avoided any reference to it in Bumblebee, including any mention of the AllSpark at all.

Megatron Almost Appeared at the End

Director Travis Knight has already discussed his initial desire to include the Decepticon villain Megatron in Bumblebee at the beginning of the movie in the Cybertron sequence. But since Megatron was already supposed to be on Earth during that battle, he wasn't allowed to use him. However, another scene almost featured Megatron as a tie-in to the first Transformers movie.

There was a scene in the test screening cut of Bumblebee towards the end of the movie that featured Agent Burns, Dr. Powell and the military General talking about the extra-terrestrial known as NBE-1, or rather Megatron. They talk about how the Autobots must never know that he's there.

But with any reference to Sector 7 already knowing about Transformers removed from the final cut, this scene had to be axed. However, it probably could have been included at the end as something that John Cena's character only learned about after the events of the first movie, due to government secrecy and all that jazz. But at the same time, it would raise some questions as to why the Decepticons didn't learn of Megatron's presence on Earth when they were given access to government satellites and technology.

Come to think of it, if Megatron is supposed to be on Earth and in human custody at this time, why didn't they realize Megatron was in the Hoover Dam? That's where Sector 7 is still based in this movie, so has he been kept secret this whole time by the government? Obviously continuity and logic isn't something that has been a big part of the Transformers franchise, but the movie does create some inconsistencies even with all the changes made between the screening cut and the theatrical cut.


Ultimately, removing these scenes and references to the other Transformers movies made Bumblebee work much better as a contained story with heart that didn't make things any more complicated than they needed to be. And if you haven't seen how much of a step up Bumblebee is from the rest of the Transformers franchise, you really should round up the family and check it out for yourself. You won't be disappointed.