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Bumblebee 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

Set in 1987, "Bumblebee" follows the unlikely friendship between two broken characters — a young woman named Charlie Watson and the eponymous Bumblebee, a robot who shapeshifts into a Volkswagen Beetle. And when the movie drove into theaters in 2018, critics were shocked by the "Transformers" flick. Generally, battles between Autobots and Decepticons don't sit particularly well with critical audiences, but "Bumblebee" scored incredibly high marks, earning a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and becoming the only "Transformers" film to earn a positive score on the site.

Perhaps more importantly, "Bumblebee" brought in $467 million, reviving the franchise after the disappointing "Transformers: The Last Knight." Both emotional and action-packed, "Bumblebee" was a success by every metric, and fans eagerly awaited news of a sequel. They didn't have to wait long, as Deadline reported in January 2019 that a part two was already in development. In March 2019, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventure appeared to confirm the sequel was in the works, telling Collider, "I know the next 'Transformer,' our attempt anyway, is to sort of do a fusion of 'Bumblebee' and the [Michael] Bay movies ... a little more Bayhem. And a little bit more of the character falling in love within the emotional dynamic of the movie."

However, it's been years since the beloved action flick was released, and Bumblebee has yet to receive another standalone movie. Is the sequel still revving its engine? Or should we give up our hopes of seeing Bumblebee reunite with Hailee Steinfeld? Read on to learn if "Bumblebee 2" will ever happen.

What have the writer and director said about Bumblebee 2?

"Bumblebee" became one of the most successful films of 2018 largely thanks to the phenomenal direction by Travis Knight and the super solid screenplay by Christina Hodson. But have these two creatives ever considered coming back for "Bumblebee 2?"

Well, at various points, both the director and screenwriter have talked about revisiting Bumblebee's world. In January 2019, when Variety asked Hodson if she had any ideas for a part two, she responded, "I do. I know exactly what I wanna do with one. I don't know if we're gonna do it — we've got to see if audiences go and see this movie. But I know where I want to go with the next one."

Similarly, Knight spoke to The Hollywood Reporter in April 2019, telling the trade, "In my mind, I have all kinds of ideas for where Charlie goes from here; where Bumblebee goes from here; where Optimus Prime goes from here. In my mind, I've already made those movies on some level. If the stars align, would I tell another story in this universe? I mean, I love these characters, so it'd be a thrill to be able to tell a different kind of story in this universe."

As of this writing, neither Knight nor Hodson have returned to the "Transformers" franchise, and that's probably because they're incredibly busy. Since "Bumblebee," Hodson has been working for DC, penning the scripts for "Birds of Prey," "The Flash," and the unreleased "Batgirl." As for Knight, he's the CEO of Laika, the company behind stop-motion classics such as "ParaNorman," "Missing Link," and "Kubo and the Two Strings."

What has John Cena said about Bumblebee 2?

While Hailee Steinfeld played the young hero of "Bumblebee" and Dylan O'Brien voiced the yellow robot, they weren't the only big stars headlining the film. Wrestler turned actor John Cena portrayed Col. Jack Burns of Sector 7 — a character who starts off as Bumblebee's enemy but who changes his mind about Autobots by the time the credits roll. Needless to say, Cena is one of the most recognizable stars in Hollywood today, working in projects like "Barbie," "The Suicide Squad," and "Peacemaker," and audiences would no doubt want him to return for a "Bumblebee 2."

But how does Cena himself feel about the subject? While speaking with CinemaBlend in January 2019 about a potential sequel, the actor revealed he was gung-ho for more "Transformers" adventures, saying he greatly enjoyed collaborating with director Travis Knight. "I love the movie, and it looks like it's going to make a lot of money too," Cena elaborated, "so hopefully we'll be able to do it again." Cena went on to say, "The one thing I'd like to see is that it be just as good of a story. ... I think as long as the movie reads as good as 'Bumblebee' then we'll be off to a good start."

Why hasn't there been a Bumblebee 2?

If key figures like Travis Knight, Christina Hodson, and John Cena are excited for the chance of filming "Bumblebee 2," why haven't we seen the movie already? Well, here's the deal — there already is a "Bumblebee" sequel, and it's called "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts." Set in the 1990s, the action flick follows Anthony Ramos' Noah Diaz, a down-on-his-luck veteran who discovers his world is full of Autobots, Predacons, and Maximals. While the plot isn't a direct continuation of the events of "Bumblebee," it is the next chapter of this new "Transformers" series.

Interestingly, at one point in time, Paramount and Hasbro Studios were considering a more traditional "Bumblebee" sequel. In fact, they were developing two competing "Transformers" scripts — one by James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac") that was based on "Beast Wars" and one by Joby Harold ("Obi-Wan Kenobi") that Deadline described as being "in the 'Bumblebee' universe." 

Eventually, Harold's script won out, but it seems that at some point in the production, elements from the two competing screenplays were merged into one, with Harold getting the screenwriter credit and Vanderbilt receiving an "additional literary material (not on-screen)" credit. That gave way to a "Beast Wars" movie that was set in the "Bumblebee" universe — which, for "Transformers" fans, has got to be the best of both worlds.

Wait ... is Rise of the Beasts really a Bumblebee 2?

Granted, "Rise of the Beasts" isn't a traditional sequel, and Bumblebee is a pretty small character in the movie. However, key creatives involved with the series have described the 2023 sci-fi film as basically being a "Bumblebee 2." 

For example, during a virtual panel promoting "Rise of the Beasts" in June 2021, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura discussed the film's period setting, explaining, "'Bumblebee' was in 1987, so then how do we move it forward and also not run into the timeline of the [Michael] Bay films? We had picked '94, in part because there was great music during that time period, so it felt like that natural extension."

Need more proof? Well, director Steven Caple Jr. has essentially said "Rise of the Beasts" is a "Bumblebee" sequel ... although he'll be the first to admit it's not your typical part two. Interestingly, Caple Jr. was offered the opportunity to helm a straight "Bumblebee" sequel at one point early in development, but the filmmaker turned it down, unwilling to make a direct follow-up after just working on "Creed II."

However, in 2020, Caple Jr. was approached about a "Beast Wars" movie, and he was 100% on board for that. He also viewed the project as the spiritual successor to Travis Knight's 2018 adventure flick, explaining to The Hollywood Reporter, "We still take place after 'Bumblebee,' so technically, on paper, it looks like a sequel." In a May 2023 interview with the same publication, Caple Jr. doubled down on this angle, saying if audiences unfamiliar with "Transformers" lore wanted to watch "Rise of the Beasts," all they needed to know was that Bumblebee and Optimus Prime showed up on Earth in 1987 and want to get back to Cybertron — plot points all set up in 2018's "Bumblebee."

What has Hailee Steinfeld said about Bumblebee 2?

Of course, there's one key figure we haven't discussed yet, and that's Hailee Steinfeld, who starred as the hero in 2018's "Bumblebee." At one point, Steinfeld was super eager about making a "Bumblebee" sequel, telling CinemaBlend in January 2019 that she would love to revisit the character of Charlie Watson.

"I think she's still capable of so much," the actress explained, "and we see that throughout the course of this film, and we see how much growth takes place in such a short period of time that by the end of the film, you know, even though she's overcome so much, I still feel she's got so much to say — a lot more to learn and a long way to go. So I would be interested in exploring that."

However, in a post-"Rise of the Beasts" world, Steinfeld seems to have accepted that there might never be a real-deal "Bumblebee" sequel, and she's okay with that. When she spoke with The Hollywood Reporter in June 2023, the trade asked if she was surprised that Paramount hadn't made a direct follow-up to "Bumblebee." Steinfeld responded, "Not necessarily. I don't know that I knew the plans beyond that, but I like to take everything one step at a time. I've gotten a lot better at that in my life. I tend to get ahead of myself, and so when it comes to these bigger projects that have whispers and more of a future and whatnot, I like to just focus on what's in front of me and make that the best that I can."

Could Bumblebee 2 still happen?

If "Rise of the Beasts" is essentially a "Bumblebee 2," does that mean we'll never see Charlie reunite with her beloved yellow buddy? Well, it looks like there's still an AllSpark of hope. In "Rise of the Beasts," Bumblebee references the fact that he has a human friend — who is obviously Charlie — but originally, director Steven Caple Jr. was planning on going much further to highlight the Autobot's connection to humanity.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the filmmaker revealed there was going to be a scene where Bumblebee showed Optimus Prime a photo of Charlie Watson. "Bumblebee showed the photo [to Prime]," Caple Jr. explained, "and he was further pushing how tight he was with a human." Sadly, the scene was deleted, but that doesn't mean Charlie's future has been deleted from the franchise.

"I like Hailee Steinfeld," Caple Jr. said. "She's a great actress. I have not met her, but the way our movie ends, there's always possibilities. Maybe she's too busy in the Marvel world, but she's a wonderful actress, and I would definitely love to collaborate with her."