Bumblebee 2: How This Transformers Sequel Became Rise Of The Beasts

Bumblebee 2 had been in the works, but for now Paramount is going with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts as the sequel

By Rick Gonzales

After the positive critical reaction and financial success of the 2018 hit Bumblebee, one would have thought that Paramount Pictures would jump on a sequel. They had a great lead with Hailee Steinfeld and a fun relationship forged with the title character. Paramount is definitely moving forward with the franchise and now we know it, in fact, won’t be by way of Bumblebee 2, but something else instead.

Bumblebee 2 Became Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts

transformers 7 rise of the beasts

When Paramount announced they were working on scripts for two live-action Transformers movies, the assumption was that one would be for Bumblebee 2. We then found out one was for Beast Wars, written by James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man, Murder Mystery). The other was being written by Army of the Dead scribe Joby Harold, though what his script entailed was unknown.

It didn’t appear as if Paramount had a complete plan as to how they wanted to tackle the future of the Transformers universe, so they put a few ideas in motion. Of course, with the massive success that was Bumblebee, it was a foregone conclusion that Bumblebee 2 was part of the equation. We now know that that was not to be the case.

Apparently, Hasbro had the decision to make about what type of movie to make for their next flick in this franchise. It was between Bumblebee 2 and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. When push came the shove, the latter prevailed, at least from an officially greenlit standpoint.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is being called the official sequel and effectively is Bumblebee 2. It will pick up in New York City in 1994 and has an entirely new cast led by Anthony Ramos and Dominque Fishback. Steven Caple Jr. is directing and yes, the script that Joby Harold was penning is Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. He wrote the story and co-wrote the script along with Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber.

Hailee Steinfeld Isn’t Returning To This New Bumblebee 2

hailee steinfeld

What about Hailee Steinfeld? Would she be back for Bumblebee 2? The success of the first movie, plus her character’s relationship (even with the movie’s ending) with Bumblebee would have almost assured fans that she would return. Unfortunately, Steinfeld isn’t part of the cast for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

In that respect, the story is taking a new direction and will follow a slightly different timeline, in terms of years, from when we saw the original reboot movie.

John Cena Is Not Returning For Rise Of The Beasts

John Cena

We would have looked for John Cena to come back as Agent Burns. In fact, the wrestler-turned-actor expressed his desire to return to the successful franchise. He told CinemaBlend: “I hope so. I really enjoyed working with Travis, but I love the movie and it looks like it’s going to make a lot of money too, so hopefully we’ll be able to do it again.”

Cena was also asked where he would like to see his character go if there was in fact a Bumblebee 2. “The one thing I’d like to see is that it be just as good of a story. I think if I get too involved with what I’m doing rather than what the movie is doing, the movie suffers. I think as long as the movie reads as good as Bumblebee then we’ll be off to a good start.”

So while the actor didn’t give specifics, he did seem willing to take part in Bumblebee 2. The fact that his Agent Burns had a massive change of heart in the first movie could have turned his character into one that the franchise may look to capitalize on in the future. But for this next Transformers film, he isn’t part of the mix.

The Bumblebee 2 Story Could Have Picked Up After The End Of The First Movie

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Charlie and Bumblebee go their separate ways at the end of the first movie. So how could this have played into bringing back Steinfeld with Bumblebee in Bumblebee 2? Well just as Michael Bay did with Shia LaBeouf, there is always a way. One would hope, though, the story remains as grounded as the first, the explosions less Bay-like and perhaps a bit more of Optimus Prime. Maybe even more Transformers, though that may start taking it into Bay territory.

According to Knight, they wanted to get many more Transformers into the beginning of Bumblebee, but movie budgets sometimes get in the way. He told Digital Spy, “Every single character you see in the opening of the film was a new model, it had to be designed and built and that all costs money. I put as many as I could, but at some point, you run out of budget. I would have loved to have a bunch more in there, but we did the best with what we had.”

There Is No Official Date For Bumblebee 2. Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts Will Release June 9, 2023

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With apparently two Transformers movies on the docket, we were unsure which one would move forward first. Now that Bumblebee 2 has been scrapped, we have firm details on Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and know that film takes place in 1994, seven years after the events of Bumblebee. It will “rise” in theaters on June 9, 2023. You can check out the newest trailer below.

The Original Bumblebee Went Back Into The 1980s To Reboot Transformers

bumblebee john cena

The direction was set but unfortunately, the results were diminishing. Michael Bay, the master of explosions and incoherent action, brought the Transformers series to life, but as he went from one movie to the next in the franchise, their popularity began to dwindle.

This is not a good recipe for directors who are spending hundreds of millions to make their movie, only to get a minimal return. So, what does Paramount Pictures do? Bumblebee. It was such a hit, that here we are talking about Bumblebee 2.

The movie, the first in the Transformers franchise not directed by Bay, was a return to smaller mayhem. It was directed by Travis Knight and although Michael Bay received a producer’s credit, his presence wasn’t felt… much. Knight still employed some great battle sequences, but the movie was a welcome direction changer for fans of the series and newcomers who may not have enjoyed one of the Bay flicks.

Bumblebee is set in the late ‘80s and follows the story of Charlie, played by Hailee Steinfeld, an 18-year-old who is simply trying to find her place in society after her father passes away. She comes across a beat-up VW in a junkyard and decides to restore it. While doing so, the VW transforms into B-127, which Charlie names Bumblebee. It’ll be interesting to see if Bumblebee 2 stays in the same time period.

B-1267 had been sent to Earth by Autobot leader Optimus Prime so he could scout the planet as a place the Autobots could use to set up a base of operations. The remaining story has Charlie and Bumblebee on the run from a secret agency and the Decepticons. The movie also starred for WWE Superstar John Cena as well as Jorge Lendeborg Jr., and Jason Drucker. Dylan O’Brien voiced the role of Bumblebee.

The movie was a success. Though, it was not the overwhelming success that Bay’s Transformers was. Heck, the Bay franchise has made close to $5 billion at the box office, but it was enough to bring on a sequel in Bumblebee 2.

To date, Bumblebee has earned nearly $500 million on an estimated $102-135 million budget. Those numbers might not be overwhelming but the movie itself received the highest critical rating out of the series, something that favored a sequel being made. Instead, we are going in a new direction with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts which has Paramount hoping for the same, if not more, success than they got with Bumblebee.