Bumblebee's John Cena, Hailee Steinfeld & More On Production Secrets | SYFY WIRE

WATCH: Bumblebee's John Cena, Hailee Steinfeld and more on production secrets

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Dec 20, 2018, 1:00 PM EST

Bumblebee might be one of the smaller Transformers (relatively small if he can sort of fit through a doorway), but he has a huge robotic heart, and SYFY WIRE has now gotten in on the behind-the-scenes magic that brought him to Earth and to life.

"The opening of the film is similar to the opening of the animated series," said director and first-wave Transformers fan Travis Knight, "where you see the final moments of the fall of Cybertron and you see these extraordinary robots who have to escape and find a new home. That was basically the genesis of this movie."

Knight went on to say that he wanted to put is vision for Cybertron and the characters he's always loved on the big screen since he was a kid geeking out to the show. The director tried to work with the budget and time allowed to squeeze in as many of his favorites as he could.

Bumblebee's human friend Charlie Watson, played by Hailee Steinfeld, felt it was important to honestly portray a confused teenage girl, especially after she realizes the yellow VW Beetle she just brought home is transforming into a sentient robot right in her garage. Angela Bassett, the voice of Decepticon Shatter, who she described as "forceful," was thrilled to experience the magic of her being brought to life in CGI.

John Cena, another lifelong Transformers fan who plays Sector 7 Lieutenant Jack Burns, said Bumblebee was ultimately a yes for him after reading the script not just because he gets to play a weapon-wielding tough guy but because he was moved by the story. And it was a challenge to get that story through to this year's San Diego Comic-Con audience without any spoilers.

"It's what you love about [the franchise]," he said, "but it's also a really different take."

Bumblebee opens on December 21.

This article was contributed to by Elizabeth Rayne.