Cameras are rolling on the Bumblebee movie, a spinoff of the blockbuster Transformers franchise, and the studio accompanied this announcement with the first full cast listing and plot synopsis, and a new release date for the film.
Paramount Pictures and Hasbro confirmed that Bumblebee will now hit theaters December 21, 2018, a full six months later than its original premiere date. That puts the film up against Warner Bros. Pictures’ Aquaman movie starring Jason Momoa as the aquatic superhero.
Along with announcing the new release date, the studios also offered up the first indication of the movie’s storyline, which will serve as a prequel of sorts to Michael Bay’s Transformers movies and is expected to feature Bumblebee in the vehicle form he took when the now-iconic robots in disguise were first introduced back in 1984.
“On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town,” reads the film’s official synopsis. “Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.”
The first, full cast listing for the film also contains a few surprises, with previously announced Academy Award nominee Steinfeld leading a cast that also includes professional wrestler and actor John Cena (Trainwreck) in a featured role. Primetime Emmy Award winner Pamela Adlon (Louie, Better Things) has also joined the cast, along with Stephen Schneider (Broad City), Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Ricardo Hoyos (Degrassi: Next Class), Abby Quinn (Landline), and Grace Dzienny (Zoo). These actors join previously announced cast members Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Rachel Crow (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train).
Former Laika Entertainment animator and Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight directs Bumblebee from a script penned by Christina Hodson (Unforgettable). All of the filming on Bumblebee is expected to take place in California.
The film will likely face some intense competition at the box office, and not just from Aquaman. The holiday season tends to be a popular premiere period for big-budget blockbusters, but Bumblebee will also see competition for younger audiences from Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which opens just four days later.