Bumblebee director Travis Knight will scale down the colossal Transformers franchise with the retro spinoff that focuses on 17-year-old Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) and the voiceless alien Autobot, this time taking the form of a battered Volkswagen Beetle.
"I wanted to approach this massive, expansive franchise and really focus in on a tiny corner of the canvas," Knight told Empire.
"Everything I’ve tried to do at Laika, searching for an artful blend of darkness and light, intensity and warmth, humour and heart, I wanted to bring to the Transformers franchise."
The Kubo and the Two Strings director, making his live-action debut, said a "beautiful love story" is at the core of Bumblebee, with Charlie and 'Bee "two broken souls who find each other and heal each other."
"I grew up loving those classic Spielbergian Amblin films," Knight said. "And we're trying to evoke that kind of emotion in this movie, fusing a rich coming-of-age story with some sci-fi insanity."
Bumblebee is the first Transformers flick not to be directed by franchise veteran Michael Bay, who has overseen all five installments since the first in 2007.
The movie, set in 1987, co-stars John Cena (Ferdinand), John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island), and Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming).
Bumblebee opens December 21, 2018.