December 2018 was something of an eye-opener. I’d not been the biggest fan of Michael Bay. While I hadn’t been that interested in G1, I liked Bay’s take on Transformers even less. Five movies and not one impressed me, to the point that I avoided them in the cinema and had very little interest in the home video releases either. That was until the release of Bumblebee. Travis Knight managed to “transform” my perception of the potential for live action side of the franchise. With more films in the pipeline I’m now positive about what Bumblebee 2 holds for us…
What Do We Know About Bumblebee 2?
Truth be told, we know very little. Bumblebee did well at the box office. Not a huge hit compared with the previous films, but well enough in comparison with its production costs to have made profit. The critics gave it almost universal acclaim – the media must have taken inspiration from reading a review of buzz bingo. Even die hard fans weren’t left disappointed. Combined box office takings with home video sales it guaranteed a sequel. Right now, all that has been confirmed is that there IS another film and that a script is in the works. While Travis Knight would be my ideal choice to helm the film, he hasn’t been confirmed to direct.
The closing scenes of Bumblebee made for interesting viewing. Charlie and Bumblebee parted ways. Bumblebee changed form into an early Camaro model, making another connection to the Bay movies. And as our heroic Autobot drove off into the sunset as the movie drew to an end, we saw him meet up – or so we were lead to believe – with some of his fellow Autobots, including Optimus Prime, all in their familiar G1 guises.
That effectively leaves Bumblebee 2 wide open. Critically the movie franchise has had a mixed reaction from the media over the last decade until the release of Bumblebee. This really is something that the sequel needs to capitalise on. While the formula adopted by the Bay era may have been suitable for generic sci-fi action movies, it certainly wasn’t appropriate for Transformers. Bumblebee 2 needs to steer clear of this and maintain a healthy balance between action and character once again, something that Travis Knight managed to do admirably.
When it comes to characters, the return of Charlie could be possible if something happens that puts her in danger. and Bumblebee comes to her aid, However the first film left both with no means of contact so it would only be through a chance encounter. More likely would be a return for John Cena’s Agent Burns. Knowing about the existence of the Autobots on Earth would no doubt have Bumblebee under some form of surveillance and with his change in character at the end, at least one human ally wouldn’t be unwelcome.
As for other Autobots, we know that others are on the way. This does lead to one interesting question. Where Bumblebee 2 fits into the series of films as a whole. In both Bumblebee and the first of the Michael Bay helmed films our yellow hero was the first Autobot on Earth. The Last Knight completely wrecked this continuity (although the less said about that film the better). But with the Autobots arriving on Earth at the end of Bumblebee and again in Michael Bay’s movie that leaves us with a few things to ponder:
- Did the Autobots leave Earth some time after Bumblebee 2 only to return some time later?
- Are the Bumblebee films a total reboot of the franchise, going back to their G1 roots?
- Just who exactly damaged Bumblebee’s voice box? We saw it happen in Bumblebee but the Bay movies claimed that Megatron was responsible.
- If it is a reboot, why are there connections to the Bay movies, including a young Agent Simmons?
There are too many changes for Bumblebee and Bumblebee 2 to be able to fit neatly into the existing continuity. This is actually a great thing for fans. We can hopefully forget the first five movies, enjoy what Bumblebee brought to the table and allow those characters and new ones we see in the future evolve and grow. I do hope we get to see more of the relationship between Charlie and Bee next time. Obviously with the introduction of more Autobots we’ll get to see that aspect of the character developed and fleshed out, it was the human side of the story that made the film feel more balanced and – dare I say it – more enjoyable.
All said and done, there is one thing I’d like to see more than anything in Bumblebee 2… Ditch the Camaro and find some way for Bumblebee to go back to the old VW design! If, as it seems, Optimus is set to have his original G1 look next time, then anything other than the VW Beetle for Bumblebee just wouldn’t look right…