*WARNING! Major spoilers for Bumblebee ahead*
If you haven’t seen the movie, check out our spoiler free review
Officially, Bumblebee is a prequel to the previous Transformers movies by Michael Bay. Unofficially, well, you can classify the film as a spin-off to the series, much like what Star Wars: Rogue One is to the Star Wars Universe. Except that other than the baddies, basically everyone in Bumblebee survives. That was what I thought at the ending of Bumblebee, at least until the credits roll out. BUT. A huge but, after digesting the mid credits scene, I am not so sure anymore.
Ironically, even before the story approached its climax, certain elements of conflict has already arisen, lingering around the film without raising much suspicion. In the latest Transformers universe, Bee certainly did not fight in World War II against the Nazi’s in some kind of “Devilbee” form, contrary to what Michael Bay was making you to believe. If you can recall, in Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), there were flashbacks of Bee (as the grown-up version nonetheless) blowing things up during the catastrophic war, clad in intimidating shades of dark grey and steel. In a snap, I knew that this conflict was impossible to be corrected, irregardless of what the movie has in store for us further down the screening hours.How can the “adult” Bee turn back into “teenage” Bee some 45 years later and find himself back at Cybertron fighting alongside Optimus Prime?
The next conflict came during the ending scenes of Bumblebee. After triumphing over Shatter and Dropkick, Charlie and Bee could be seen standing on a hill, overlooking the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. Both of them know that it is time to say goodbye, and as Bee scouts for a vehicle to become his next disguise, he comes across a Camaro. Not for long, Bee then transforms into the sleek, revving, yellow sports car.
“Wait, you mean you could have transformed into a Camaro all this time?”, queried the almost teary-eyed Charlie, giving a strong emotional hint that even though she is happy to see Bee taking form of a much more beautiful car, it will still not be enough to prevent the two from parting ways. And such, the Camaro throttled away from the scene, heading towards the bridge.
What arrived in the next few seconds is perhaps the most impactful and iconic scene of the movie. Bee, in his vehicle form, zooms past a really, really familiar looking trailer-truck. I mean, it could easily be anything else, right? A Toyota Camry. A Delorean. A Ferrari. Or a wagon. Instead, they chose that truck. And right after that, Bee decides to slow down, and cruise along with that massive truck.
Next, the unfolding events during the mid-credits scene further confirmed everyone’s suspicion. That truck is indeed Optimus Prime, in his Generation 1 form. The Autobots leader has made his way to earth, and as both Bee and him look above, seven burning “meteorites” light up the sky, hinting that their comrades have made their way here, too.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, what does it mean for the franchise?
At that very moment, it’s rather clear that Bumblebee is in fact a soft reboot instead of a direct prequel or origin story. If Knight insisted that Optimus Prime arrived on earth in 1987, there’s no way any sequel will be able to amend that to connect to Bay’s first Transformers film, where Prime touches down on earth in 2007.
Even if the sequels can introduce plot-twists to forcefully rebuild that missing link, it is very likely that they won’t. Any credible director will know that messing up the plot until that degree, again, will inevitable re-invite the catastrophe caused by Bayhem. The sequel will stick on to what Bumblebee has built, and we can all bid our emotional but needed farewell to the original films by Michael Bay. For now.