Laika's Travis Knight to direct Transformers Bumblebee spinoff

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Mar 3, 2017

Don't think just because your dad is the co-founder of Nike and worth an estimated $30 billion that everything in life comes easily. Travis Knight, son of billionaire philanthropist and Nike chairman emeritus Phil Knight and CEO of the Portland-based Laika Studios, earned the right to direct the new Transformers spinoff flick starring Bumblebee through hard work and determination.

Okay, and maybe a pair of magic Nike sneakers!

Knight directed last year's Academy Award-nominated stop-motion saga, Kubo and the Two Strings, and has captained Laika (Coraline, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman) into one of the most dominant and inventive animation studios in the world.

Now, Knight will take the helm of Paramount's Bumblebee in a monumental leap forward in his filmmaking career.  Exactly what this will mean for the future of Laika is not immediately known, but the company has made some massive expansion plans recently and is currently finishing up its fifth stop-motion movie about a boy and his Bigfoot companion.

There's a lot riding on this first spinoff of the colossal billion-dollar Transformers franchise, and Knight has largely worked outside the Hollywood system in the comfortable greenery of Oregon. How he is able to make the transition from a $60 million indie animated project to overseeing a monstrous $200 million studio tentpole will remain to be seen, but Knight definitely has more than enough moxie to make Bumblebee soar.

With a screenplay by Christina Hodson and produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg with Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis, Bumblebee buzzes into theaters on June 8, 2018. Meanwhile, Michael Bay's fifth Transformers feature, Transformers: The Last Knight opens on June 23.

What do you think of this unexpected choice of director for the first Transformers spinoff spectacle?

(via io9)