What with the notable lack of the slo-mo destruction that typified the previous Michael Bay Transformers movies, most reckoned that Bumblebee might be a new direction for the franchise.
And now Hasbro has confirmed that the 80s-set prequel is indeed the beginning of a new cinematic chapter for the autobots and decepticons.
The news comes from the New York Toy Fair (via Transformers fansite TFW2005), which quotes the Hasbro panel event on Friday as confirming that Bumblebee is now ‘officially declared as a new storytelling universe’.
While the movie was a modest success when compared to the Bay tentpoles – it made just over $450 million (£354 million) – the film was considerably better received by critics.
Helmed by Laika studio animator Travis Knight, who directed Kubo and the Two Strings, and penned by British newcomer, Christina Hodson, it highlighted a sensitive side beneath the twisted metal.
It landed a seriously impressive 93 percent ‘fresh’ rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, a huge improvement on Bay’s offerings (which at best reached 57 percent with the first instalment, and 15 percent for The Last Knight in 2017, which lead the Razzie nominations that same year).
Last month, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish (the media conglomerate which owns Paramount), confirmed that the movie was ‘solidly profitable’, compared to The Last Knight, which ended up losing $100 million.
This means that a sequel is pretty likely.