Why 'Bumblebee' Does Not Feature a Key 1980s Transformer

As early trailers for the movie made clear — to the delight of long-term fans — Travis Knight’s Bumblebee was a prequel to the other Transformers movies in more ways than one, with the design of the robots in disguise going back to the franchise’s roots and modeling itself after the original toy designs from the 1980s.

“I think it was a little bit surprising for Paramount, for the producers, even for Hasbro on some level because they’ve been used to a certain aesthetic for the last decade,” Knight told io9 about the reverse update to the movie series’ visuals. “I didn’t think it was radical but it was seen as radical in certain places. And so it took a little bit of kind of coaxing through that process.”

As good as it is to see the original Optimus Prime, Soundwave and Starscream on the big screen, one character was notable by his absence — and it was one retro visual Knight had in mind, as it turns out: The original Megatron in all his 1980s glory.

“I had this whole thing boarded where we see Megatron and he comes in like Sauron, just blowing shit up and laying waste to everything,” The problem was that, according to 2007’s Transformers, Megatron was already on Earth by that point. “So even though I really wanted to see G1 Megatron on the battlefield at the fall [of] Cybertron, I couldn’t do it.”

If ever there was a sign that movie continuity is a terrible thing, this could be it. The sadly Megatron-less Bumblebee is in theaters now.