SDCC 2018: 'Bumblebee' Panel Recap

The latest installment in the Transformers franchise took to Hall H at SDCC2018 and the fans packed the room for what is expected to be a great addition to the series.

The panel is set to start at 5:00pm with Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendebord, Travis Knight, and Christina Hodson.

Much like every panel today in Hall H, this panel is starting about 10 minutes late.

Opening with the lights down, Stan Bush playing guitar and signing the Bumblebee/Transformers song. People went nuts for this one!

Footage from the movie is being shown: They are using a lot of retro 80s graphics and then cuts to the scenes from the movie…

Anthony Breznican is hosting the panel and reminiscing about his love for the Bumblebee character itself.

Bringing out Travis Knight with a featurette being shown about him.

Lots of stuff from Kubo and the Two Strings, Coraline, Boxtrolls. Some behind the scenes stuff from Bumblebee.

Looks like Bumblebee is going ot have the old school 70s VW form, with the film set in 1987.

It is a coming of age story for Bumblebee. Steeringwheel doesn’t have a VW logo, it has the autobot logo.

Q for Travis: “You had some work to do to reshape the vehicle form and the silhouette?”

Travis: “Coming from animation you start with nothing, you can create all the world, it is a distillation of thoughts, and with Transformers you have giant chunks of metal smashing into each other. It can become incoherent if you don’t know what is happening. It can go from two robots fighting to a Radio Shak Kamasutra.

“We didn’t exactly have a blank canvas because we have all the films, but we could go back 20 years and have some G1 designs.”

Q for Travis: “What from the animation could you take from that?”

Travis: “Well it is a hybrid. There are a lot of moving parts. You didn’t want to feaer for Hailee, he hands cant get cut up by all the gears, but we wnet pretty minimalistic and that G1 design.”

Q for Travis:

Travis: “This is an origin story. Bumblee that has always had the greatest connection with humans and humanity. What is it about him and us that can connect them together. We find out who he was before he met us, then we see how he becomes who he beomces and why, and then what he does after that.

Q for Travis: “He is visiting our world, will we visit his?”

Travis: “Yes. I mean, if they are going to give me the money to do it, how could I not take the opportunity to visit Cybertron.”

Brings out the cast

Q for Hailee: Tell us about Charley Watson

Hailee: We meet her as a typical misunderstood teenager that has suffered a major loss in her life. She is looking for freedom, fill that void that she has. Looking for love, that she finds in a car that is more than a car. And then there is a sort of a love story that emerges.

Q for Jorge: What else is he into outside of his neighbor Charley.

Jorge: “He had a picuter of Larry Bird in his room, so he loves fundamentals. He speaks to the inner geek within us all. That he likes things that he thinks are cool.”

Q for Jorge: This is coming of age movie, does Memo come of age?

Jorge: “Umm, yeah. When you fight alien robots you go from a boy to a man really quickly.”

So, lets talk about the bad bots….

Two bat bots are triple changers! Muscle Cars as their main form. Shatter becomes also a harrier carrier… Dropkick can be a chopper.

There is another jet that is a decepticon.

“The Jet is NOT Starscream, this Blitzwing.”

“I know you are all disappointed that it isn’t Starscream, but Blitzwing is going to be really cool.”

Q for Travis: “Tell us about the human villain.”

Beasty Boys KICK IT comes on…. Cena comes out in the middle of the crowd…. And everyone understandably goes nuts.

Q for John: “So, you have fought a lot of big tough guys, but how about big tough robots.”

John: “So, listen, I am totally qualified for this role but I have born to secrecy and I cant tell you anything about what it is that I know what I know, but trust me that Agent Burns knows that he is right.”

Q for Travis: Anythign you want to say about Agent Burns

Travis: Burns is very interesting. I mean, it is easy but too easy to have a moutache twirling bad guy and so Burns is in some ways pretty right. But he is grey and I think 2018 is a tough place to live thanks to the Transformers.

AND NOW TO THE FOOTAGE

Opens with Bumblebee in the woods, running, being chaced by an army vehicle and shot at… he runs to a what looks like a compound and looks up a mountain… he runs but is hit by the truck…

Jet flys in “Who called in the Air Force”

It is Blitzwing, shoots at Bumblebee, transforms, “So you think you can hide”


They scuffle, but it looks like Bubmel is going to lose as he is dropped off the mountain and “sentenced to death”

His core cells show that he is in critical failure and he snaps an image of the VW beetle.

Alarm wakes at 800am…


Hailee Steinfeld getting ready for… whatever… she goes to work on a boat dock and knocks over a row of boats which uncovers this old VW Bug, that isn’t just a bug,

She gets in and wipes the dust. She offers to work every day for a year in a trade for the car… and then gets it running…

“It’s a death trap….. but shes happy though”

Takes the car home and slides underneath… it boots up right above her.

She, stands in awe, but doesn’t say she found a transformer (sorry, Mark Wahlburg fans).

Bumblebee sets in the corner and appears sad as she approaches to talk to him.

Reached out and touched him… which is met by a softening “face” of Bumblebee.

She asks all the typcal questions, which Bumblebee cant answer… but points at her for information: Im Charley Watson, im 18 today, its my birthday today…

She prods for more answers, which he buzzes answers, and she decides that she is going to call him Bumblebee.

Burns and the two Decepticons meet up and says that they have a common enemy.

Back to the faster cuts… Bumblebee “transforming” on a beach as practice breaks up a chase scene, shooting scenes, and more chase scenes.

There was a quick hologram that LOOKED a lot like Optimus Prime.

END

FAN Questions:

Whats in the works, John?

“Let’s keep the focus on the now. I am not taking the opportunity for a cheap plug. Lets talk Bumblebee.”

What is it like going from a hero like Ferdinand, to a cold hearted villain?

Cena: “Well, I couldn’t help but notice you paused to insert cold hearted to that sentence so that may be a bit presumptuous. To actually answer your question, I think it is a really great opportunity. I have had a great career in the WWE and for that entire time I have been the good guy and that kind of went into my films so far, and now it doesn’t seem like my character in the WWE will ever evolve into that bad guy role that perhaps a lot of people have wanted; so this is kind of a way for my fans from that aspect of my career to see that side of me. So, don’t expect heel John Cena in the WWE – that’s Inside Baseball talk for some of you – but it means bad guy John Cena isn’t happening there, so this is that chance for me.”

Peter Cullen asks the last question!!! In the voice of Optimus Prime!!!

Travis Knight, my name is Optimus Prime, I could not help but notice my absence in much of your footage….

Travis: “In fairness that isn’t a question… but the movie is called Bumblebee, so it is all about him.”

Cullen follows: “So, whats an autobot have to do to get his own movie.”

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Travis: “Show your emotional range, maybe? Show exuberance!”

Cullen: “I am overwhelmed to be here.”