"I had this whole thing boarded where we're where we see [Decepticon leader] Megatron and he comes in like Sauron, just blowing shit up and laying waste to everything," Bumblebee director Travis Knight told io9. It was at this point in the idea that he realized Megatron was frozen on Earth during the time period which Bumblebee takes place (the late 1980's) as revealed in 2007's original Transformers movie.
"So even though I really wanted to see G1 Megatron on the battlefield at the fall Cybertron, I couldn't do it," Knight said. "But I wanted to fit as much of this G1 stuff I loved in there, and so I put my favorite characters in. Obviously, there are ones I wish I could put in there, and I would love to see an entire movie about the fall of Cybertron because I think it's awesome, but just to be able to visit it for a moment, to see the Cybertron of my imaginations on the big screen, it was a real thrill."
Rather than making Bumblebee a cameo-filled, robotic explosion extravaganza, writer Christina Hodson focused the relationships and other elements she loved about the Transformers' franchise's G1 days.
"The thing I personally connected to the most in [Michael Bay's] Transformers 1 is that bond between the boy and his car," Hodson said. "And I knew going into this room that I wanted to do the story of a girl and her car. I was very lucky to be able to make it Bumblebee because Bumblebee is my favorite. I've always loved him. But I tried to make it its own thing [and] I think we naturally got to a good place where hopefully people will be happy. It feels like it's some of those things that people did love in that first movie but also feels like it's own fresh thing."
In the end, the writer and director did manage to craft just the movie they were looking for -- which has resulted in an abundant amount of critical praise. "The movie hasn't changed a whole lot since I first pitched in summer of 2015," Hodson said. "I pitched it then and obviously they went and made the other movie. Then I wrote the first draft of this in the fall of 2016 and it honestly has stayed true. Certainly, the big broad strokes of the emotional journeys, key set pieces, all remain the same. Now, it's gotten bigger in some ways. We've added more fun. We got to go to Cybertron! But the heart of it really remained the same."
Bumblebee opens in theaters on December 21, 2018.