‘Bumblebee‘ follow up movies are going to have more mayhem, as is the flavor audiences have gotten used to when it comes to the ‘Transformers’ franchise. The producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirmed as much to Collider in an interview during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. While Bonaventura was answering questions of the recent adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Pet Semetary‘ that was screened at the festival, he also delved into the lessons that Paramount learned from ‘Bumblebee’ and the kind of outlook that they would be taking with them as they headed to the future of the franchise.
He said, “Several lessons have come out of this. One is that we have the freedom to tell almost any story. The other is that, how strongly the audience identified with the strength of character and emotion. I know the next Transformer, our attempt anyway, is to sort of do a fusion of Bumblebee and the Bay movies…a little more Bayhem. And a little bit more of the character falling in love within the emotional dynamic of the movie. One of the things I want to do—and I hope we pull it off—is, we did it with Bumblebee because he’s so cute and he’s so accessible, but he can’t talk. I think the more human we can make these characters, the more people are going to like them.” This entire mix of grounded and character-driven plots mixed with Michael Bay‘s fiery flavor is not only what the studios want, but seems to be the demand of the audiences as well, according to Bonaventura.
He recalled how a reporter who had watched the film reacted, saying, “…the audience had asked us several times, in different ways, ‘I want to get to know a Transformer better.” We did that. In some respects, definitely a tip to what the audience had said to us. The interesting part is when you set out to do something like that, you don’t exactly know the ramifications of it. In this case, the ramification of it was, for the people who didn’t love the movie, was not enough action. Because you’re telling a more intimate story, therefore you can’t. So the criticism we got from some fans was like, “Hey, come on.” It was funny, I was just in Japan…and one of the reporters said to me, ‘I love the movie, I love this, I love this, and I was very tired of Michael Bay.’ I said, ‘Uh huh, I’ve heard this before.” And he goes, ‘But you know, after watching this film, I kind of wish it had a little more Michael Bay.’ It was really funny. I said, ‘Listen, I completely understand. I like what Michael does, too. Two different films, two different attempts.”
To jog audience memory about the ‘Transformers‘ franchise, the first films, before the spin-off, were all directed by Michael Bay and had the kind of explosive action that has gone on to define the director’s movies. Therefore, the spin-off, which focused more on the friendship between Bumblebee the Autobot and the character of Charlie Watson, played by Hailee Steinfeld, felt like a more welcome change. ‘Bumblebee’, directed by Travis Knight with a script by Christina Hodson has its fair share of action, but is more toned down and prioritizes character more than carnage. Nonetheless, ‘Bumblebee’ actually made less at the box office than its main movie counterparts, despite getting positive word of mouth reviews. Perhaps if the future films were to combine the best of Bay’s action with the current character-driven plots they are focusing on, we will witness a bright and exciting future for the ‘Transformers’ franchise.