Steven Spielberg Bumblebee

The Transformers film franchise doesn’t have a great track record with its female characters. But Bumblebee, the upcoming live-action Transformers spin-off movie, might be the first step toward changing that – and fans have Steven Spielberg to thank for it. Learn about the significant Steven Spielberg Bumblebee contribution below.

Hailee Steinfeld in Bumblebee

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura revealed that it was actually Spielberg’s idea for the movie to feature a female protagonist:

“Steven had always had an idea that a young girl and Bumblebee would be a great combination, so we headed in that direction.”

“It’s nice it’s changing,” di Bonaventura said, talking about the industry’s willingness to cast women in lead roles. “When we were debating it, the idea of a young girl seemed to us to be a real change in our direction.” That’s an understatement, especially considering this is a franchise in which Michael Bay’s ogling camera has primarily been concerned with serving an audience of 13-year-old boys. And before you furiously fly to the comments section, yes, I realize there was a young girl in Transformers: The Last Knight, but she never felt like a fully-formed character. Hopefully, Hailee Steinfeld‘s character, Charlie, will be a marked improvement.

Spielberg has been an executive producer on the live-action Transformers movies since the first one came out in 2007, but he reportedly stays out of the way when creative decisions are made. This time, though, it sounds like he piped up with what could be one of the most vital contributions to the franchise in years. Casting Steinfeld in the lead role could help open this film series up to a whole new segment of the population who may not have been interested otherwise. After the disappointing performance of Transformers: The Last Knight (at least compared to other films in the franchise), Paramount would probably love to capture the same crowd who went nuts for recent female-led genre fare like Mad Max: Fury Road, Wonder Woman, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

We’ll leave you with a few more brief plot details from EW that I hadn’t seen published elsewhere:

Bumblebee is alone. He’s on a mission to Earth that goes awry. He runs into trouble with the robot hunters of Sector 7, the U.S. government agency led by John Cena’s Agent Burns. Bumblebee is also being hunted by a Decepticon, the jet from the trailer whose identity is still being kept under wraps.

When Charlie [Steinfeld’s character] finds him, he’s badly wounded and conserving energy by hiding out amid the other rusting hulks in a junkyard. As the bee nest in his wheel well attests, he has been down and out for a while.

Bumblebee hits theaters on December 21, 2018.

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