'Bumblebee' Director Says He Couldn't Go Bigger Than Michael Bay's 'Transformers: The Last Knight'

After a disappointing box office from the last film in the franchise, Transformers is looking for some course correction with the upcoming release of the first spinoff Bumblebee.

The new film will be a major change of pace from Transformers: The Last Knight, going from a globe- and time-spanning adventure and instead focusing on a personal story between an Autobot and his best friend. Director Travis Knight, the second director ever in the live-action franchise, explained why he had to go a different route from Michael Bay, who had become maligned for his approach in recent films.

"It wasn't in any way addressing any feedback from the fans," Knight said to CNET. "It was just a story I wanted to tell. That last one [Transformers: The Last Knight] is one of the biggest movies I've ever seen -- and I couldn't go bigger than that. So let's go the other way, let's focus in on a small corner of this canvas and really get to know one of these characters. Let's balance the emotions with the explosions ... The core relationship mattered to me more than anything else. And if that didn't work, none of the other stuff matters. It's just bombast. It's just eye candy."

Even though he went a different route, the Bumblebee director was more than willing to accept Bay's help behind the scenes.

"From a director's perspective [Michael Bay] was a dream producer," Knight said. "We sat down early on and it was great for me, director to director, to pick his brain, to get a sense of his philosophy on the Transformers. He was really respectful and recognized this was someone else's movie, my take on these characters, and the best thing that he could do was to support me and protect me. He let me do my thing, and I'm really appreciative of it."

Knight seems to be more than willing to accept the help of others for his foray into the Transformers universe. He's already gone on record in crediting Steven Spielberg for his help on Bumblebee.

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“The original idea for this film actually was Steven [Spielberg’s],” Knight said to Yahoo! “We can thank him for this film even existing.”

Bumblebee premieres in theaters on December 21st.