First look at Bumblebee in the Transformers spinoff

Bumblebee is going back to his Beetle roots in the upcoming Transformers spinoff.

Empire has a first-look photo (below) and it confirms that the yellow Autobot will transform into a Volkswagen "Bug," just like he originally appeared on the '80s cartoon. 

Set in 1987, Bumblebee will follow the titular character as he seeks refuge in a California junkyard. There, he encounters Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), who helps him recover from injuries and nurses him back to health. Plot details beyond that are scarce, but director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), boss of Laika animation studios, said Bumblebee will have different, more intimate feel than the previous Transformers flicks.

"I wanted to approach this massive, expansive franchise and really focus in on a tiny corner of the canvas," Knight said. "Everything I've tried to do at Laika, searching for an artful blend of darkness and light, intensity and warmth, humor and heart, I wanted to bring to the Transformers franchise."

The cast also includes Pamela Adlon (Better Things) and John Cena (12 Rounds). You won't be able to miss it when it hits theaters on Dec. 21, 2018.