Director Travis Knight reveals 'Bumblebee's' surprising connection to Michael Bay's 'Transformers' (exclusive)

Set in 1987, the new Transformers movie Bumblebee acts as a prequel to the five previous Michael Bay films, showing how the titular yellow Autobot scouted Earth ahead of Optimus Prime et al’s arrival on our planet.

Although Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky was never mooted to make a surprise appearance (he would have been aged 3-4 during the events of Bumblebee), director Travis Knight has revealed that another fan-favourite character does make a cameo in the spin-off.

“There are some things [in Bumblebee] where it made sense to give nods to where the [Transformers] movies go from here in the next 20 years,” Knight tells Yahoo Movies UK.

“For instance we see a young Agent Seymour Simmons who, in the Transformers films that Michael [Bay] directed, is famously played by John Turturro.”

John Turturro as Agent Simmons in 2007’s <i>Transformers</i> (Paramount)
John Turturro as Agent Simmons in 2007’s Transformers (Paramount)

Turturro’s tetchy Section Seven Agent first appears in 2007’s Transformers. He takes LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky into custody after the high schooler accidentally makes contact with Bumblebee who is, at that time, disguised as a Chevrolet Camaro.

Simmons also popped in 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen, 2011 Dark of the Moon, and 2017’s The Last Knight, but he’s played by a new actor (currently unlisted on IMDb) in Bumblebee, appearing in scenes with John Cena’s Section Seven Agent Burns.

Knight admits Simmons was a last-minute addition to Bumblebee, but one that was added for the fans.

“That was never really scripted, but I thought if we’re gonna see a young agent. I want it to be a young John Turturro.”

Hailee Steinfeld bonds with Bumblebee in the ‘Transformers’ spin-off. (Paramount)
Hailee Steinfeld bonds with Bumblebee in the ‘Transformers’ spin-off. (Paramount)

Transformers fans were able to catch Bumblebee early this weekend in U.K. cinemas as the film had a few early previews ahead of its nationwide release on Christmas Eve.

Knight’s film has enjoyed the best reviews of all the Transformers entries so far, earning an unprecedented 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising it as a Spielbergian coming-of-age romp.

It’s no wonder, as Knight also told us that it was executive producer Steven Spielberg who came up with the idea for Bumblebee in the first place.

Bumblebee is in cinemas on 24 December. Watch a clip below.

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