In Hasbro and Paramount’s live-action Transformers franchise, shepherded by Michael Bay, the reimagined heroic Autobots and the villainous Decepticons have called all manner of criticisms upon themselves. On the extreme end of things, some of those characters have been called out for their apparent racist and misogynistic depictions. Now that Travis Knight is heading up a new installment of the franchise in Bumblebee, it looks as if the series is keeping the familiar look of the Robots in Disguise but wisely shying away from anything that could conceivably be called socially controversial (though I’m sure someone, somewhere, somehow will find a way.)
EW has the first look at Bumblebee‘s villains, a pair of Decepticons that double as sports cars when they’re not in their bipedal form. Since the film’s set in 1987, the creative team gets to have a little more freedom in the cars they choose, so rather than top-of-the-line, modern, mega-roadsters like a Bugatti Veyron or a Lamborghini Aventador, Bumblebee features a red Plymouth Satellite and a blue AMC Javelin alongside the title Beetle. Respectively, they are Shatter, who will be voiced by Angela Bassett and Dropkick, voiced by Justin Theroux. The wheeled villains will also have a flying cohort whose name and voice actor have yet to be revealed.
EW also has more from Knight himself who talked about the trio of villains in the film:
“The two main villains are Decepticon muscle cars. When the cast is too big, and you have a finite amount of time, there’s only so much you can do to create an investment in them. This is a more personal, intimate, and character-driven story, so it felt right to keep the villain plot relatively simple and contained. If you keep things lean, you can add a lot of other stuff on top of it that makes it more enjoyable.”
Also starring Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, and Stephen Schneider, Knight’s Bumblebee opens December 21st.
For more on Bumblebee, be sure to get caught up with our most recent write-ups:
- Movie Talk: Will ‘Bumblebee’ Reignite the Transformers Franchise?
- First ‘Bumblebee’ Trailer Reveals the 80s-Set ‘Transformers’ Spinoff
- ‘Bumblebee’: John Cena and Director Travis Knight on the ‘Transformers’ Spinoff
- Paramount Reveals the First Footage from ‘Bumblebee’ and Bad Robot’s ‘Overlord’ at CinemaCon
- John Cena on ‘Blockers’, Getting Comfortable with Comedy & Joining the ‘Transformers’-Verse in ‘Bumblebee’
Here’s the official synopsis for Bumblebee:
On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. 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.