As the Michael Bay-less Transformers film Bumblebee rumbles to solid reviews and a favorable weekend at the box office, the higher-ups behind the film are feeling optimistic (or Optimus-tic) about the future of the franchise. Whether that manifests in a traditional sequel to Bumblebee or another solo take on an Autobot’s origin story, it’s all up to the fans.
Speaking to SYFY WIRE at the Bumblebee world premiere on Sunday night, producers Tom DeSanto and Lorenzo di Bonaventura discussed the possibilities down the road if Bumblebee is indeed a hit.
Series producer DeSanto (who also helped kick off the live-action X-Men films) explained that the film will “hopefully” get a sequel because “there’s a lot of love left in these characters.” Especially, he said, since the film looks to have gotten the franchise “back on track.” But he also commented on a speculative project that’s been bouncing around in the ether since back in July: an Optimus Prime solo film.
“I know Peter wants his own [solo film], Peter Cullen,” DeSanto said when discussing possible follow-ups for the transforming-robot films. Cullen, voice of Optimus Prime, could definitely hold his own in an origin story — especially since he’s had this idea for a while. Cullen spoke about the film at San Diego Comic-Con and another producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, confirmed the idea at the time. Speaking after DeSanto, di Bonaventura talked sequels, saying that “if the audience shows up for it, yeah for sure, we’ll definitely do one.”
“There’s a lot of places you can take Bumblebee, because he’s so accessible as a character,” di Bonaventura said. The character, speaking with the voice of Dylan O'Brien for the first time, may be making great strides in his solo film, but was revealed almost to have been very different upon his introduction to the film universe. That’s because his signature communication style — through pop culture snippets and musical tracks — wasn’t always in the script.
According to DeSanto, there was a draft in which Bumblebee could talk in the first Transformers film. However, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman came in and reworked things, talking to the music department, until they came up with the not-quite-so-mute character that broke out for his solo film.
Bumblebee flies into theaters on Dec. 21.