Travis Knight is looking to make Bumblebee standalone, away from Michael Bay's work with the Transformers franchise. Filming has recently wrapped for the project and it's currently in post-production, where Knight plans to make an emotional story based around a girl and her Transformer in the 1980s come to life with live-action acting and a mixture of CGI. The director has big shoes to fill and expectations to meet for the fans hoping that the movie won't be just some gigantic special effects montage with huge explosions everywhere, devoid of any real story, but Travis Knight seems to know what he's up against and how to work against it.
Travis Knight is best known for his work at Laika Animation and Kubo and the Two Strings, so there should be no problem getting the CGI Bumblebee to come to life on the big screen. The movie will be Knight's live-action directorial debut and he plans on using a lot of what he has learned in his decades working in animation to the Bumblebee movie. When asked about how he was going to distinguish himself from Michael Bay, the director said that he wants to bring in an "artful blend of light and dark." Knight explains.
"I wanted to approach this massive, expansive franchise and really focus in on a tiny corner of the canvas. 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."
Bumblebee takes place in the 1980s, which will follow the yellow Autobot several decades before he met Sam Witwicky. Fans have been looking forward to the movie in hopes that Travis Knight will help to bring the character back to his 1980s Transformers roots, which is no easy task. As previously noted, the movie recently wrapped filming and star Hailee Steinfeld is excited at the work that she put into the Bumblebee movie. The actress admitted that it was hard working with a tennis ball on a stick that represented her co-star, but she is very confident in Travis Knight's abilities to bring the character to life.
Unlike the previous Transformers movies, which have all been grand global adventures involving saving the world in one way or another with a bunch of explosions, Bumblebee's scale won't be nearly as large, instead telling a more personal story. Hailee Steinfeld has echoed that the movie is an emotional tale between a girl and her Transformer and that the script delivers as promised. Travis Knight hopes to achieve the same tonal balance (the light and shade) he's achieved on his animated projects to give the fans a Transformers movie that won't come off as being too similar to what Michael Bay has made pretty much every time.
Travis Knight has his work cut out for him but it already looks like he's on the right page and has already made something that will be wildly different than anything that Michael Bay has ever done. However, it will be interesting to see some character development from a Volkswagen Beetle that transforms into a giant robot with his 18-year old high school mechanic friend. The Bumblebee movie hits theaters on December 21st, 2018, so Travis Knight still has plenty of time to craft his story. You can read more about how Travis Knight looks to distinguish the Bumblebee movie from Michael Bay's Transformers franchise via Cinemablend.