A robot car gets an origin story, now with more bees, in the Bumblebee trailer

The first film in the Transformers series to not be directed by Michael Bay, Bumblebee is, by no coincidence, also the first to treat a female as more than a RealDoll to be posed beside a car. Hailee Steinfeld stars as a teenager who combines the young, everyman hero quality of Shia LaBeouf’s Sam and the unusually attractive car repair of Megan Fox’s Mikaela. Fixing up a yellow Volkswagen Beetle aged Transformers fans will woefully recognize, she finds that it’s filled with both beehives and sentience as it transforms into (basically) the original version of Bumblebee. Eventually, the two seem to end up facing another familiar, dated face: Starscream, a red and blue jet that turns into a robot with an unbearable voice.

Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight helmed this effort as his first live-action venture, and his taking Bay’s place seems to have brought a bit more coherence to the action and character design. But with Bay still producing, there’s of course still some U.S. jingoism shoved in there too, glimpsed in this trailer with John Cena filling the buzzcut military guy role Josh Duhamel was previously puttied into.

We’ll see whether that Shape of Water-esque shot transforms this into the hentai it appears to be based on when Bumblebee hits theaters December 21.

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