bumblebee early screenings

Rumors of a Transformers reboot earlier this year confused fans. While a spin-off like this month’s Bumblebee makes sense within the world of the five live-action films, a total reboot would leave a lot of threads hanging. Transformers: The Last Knight was originally planned to launch an extended Transformers universe. Even if that scaled back, it suggested that the villainous Unicron is still looming, and a post-credits scene even suggested that Quintessa was still alive, in human form.

Speaking with /Film about Bumblebee, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura gave us the lowdown on the future of the Transformers franchise.

bumblebee review

Rumors of a Reboot Have Been Grossly Exaggerated

“Reboot” is one of those words the media likes to throw around. It applied to Casino Royale and Batman Begins because they completely started those franchises over from scratch. But just because a franchise is changing course doesn’t mean it’s a reboot. X-Men: First Class was called a reboot, but the original X-Men cast returned for the next one.

“Reboot, I always hate that word because for one, I’m not sure I really understand what it means,” Di Bonaventura said. “We are going to do another big Transformers movie. It is going to be different than the ones that we’ve done before.”

bumblebee featurette

Course Correction

The Last Knight was a franchise low at the box office, so it’s no surprise the producers have paid attention. Just by virtue of hiring a director who isn’t Michael Bay, the next Transformers is going to be different.

“It’s not like we look at the elements of what we did before and go, ‘Well, let’s not do this’ or ‘Let’s not do that,’” Di Bonaventura said. “It’s more about how do you evolve the experience for the fans. Let the fan have a new experience.”

Something new from the previous five Michael Bay movies in a row won’t necessarily be a reboot, but it will be an evolution. In a way, just doing a live-action Transformers was an evolution in 2007.

“When we did the first movie, at first there was a lot of pushback that we weren’t doing it the way it was done before, “Di Bonaventura said. “My feeling was always that if we’d done it, you would’ve gone, ‘Well, I’ve already seen it.’ So how do you evolve things forward is I think the hardest thing because you’ve got to retain why people love it, but at the same time if you give them the same experience, they’re going to be bored with it.”

bumblebee

Where in the Universe is Unicron?

Even if fans demand change, a total reboot would probably leave just as many unsatisfied. Having set up elements like Unicron, to just ignore them would also be a different sort of cheat. Di Bonaventura is less concerned about the loose threads than he is making sure the next movie is good.

“Okay, I’m going to be controversial,” Di Bonaventura said. “I’m not a fan of Unicron. It’s too big. It’s so big it’s beyond any sort of relatable thing I think, for me personally. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be in the series someday. I don’t know that I’ve thought much about it honestly because we’ve been focused on this movie.”

Bumblebee Box Office

Bumblebee is the Key

Bumblebee does a lot for the Transformers franchise. It establishes they can do a spin-off. It shows they can do a smaller story with only three robots as opposed to dozens destroying major metropolitan cities in battle. With director Travis Knight, it shows a Transformers film can have a different tone and still fit.

Di Bonaventura said they will take those lessons moving forward with Transformers films.

“I think we’ve learned something in this movie about tone that I would think the next big Transformers movie is going to have,” Di Bonaventura said. “It’s not like we’re going to copy it but we’ve learned something. There’s more freedom than I think we originally thought in terms of what we can do.”

Look for our full interview with Di Bonaventura before Bumblebee opens on December 21.

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