'Transformers' spin-off news: 'Bumblebee' gets full cast and release date

A spin-off to the popular franchise "Transformers" was first announced over a year ago. Now, the upcoming movie's full cast and official release date have been unveiled.

The spin-off is officially titled "Transformers Universe: Bumblebee" and will be released on Dec. 21, 2018. The film will star Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Stephen Schneider, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Kenneth Choi, Rachel Crow, Pamela Adlon, Jason Drucker, Ricardo Hoyos, Abby Quinn and Gracie Dzienny.

"Transformers Universe: Bumblebee" began principal photography in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California on July 31. The filming is intended to finish in mid-November.

Unlike its predecessors, "Transformer Universe: Bumblebee" is set in the 1980s and will focus on a younger Bumblebee (voiced by Erik Aadahl). After being on the run for days, Bumblebee will find shelter in a junkyard in a Californian beach town.

Suddenly, Bumblebee will be discovered by 17-year-old Charlie (Steinfeld). After reviving him, she "quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug."

"I think Bumblebee is an incredibly loved character," "Transformers" producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said in an interview with Den of Geek. "It is a coming of age for Bumblebee and our lead character, Hailee Steinfeld. The two of them, their job in the movie is to support each other to get to the place where they both fully realize who they are in that moment."

In the meantime, the latest installment in the "Transformers" franchise, titled "The Last Knight," was released last June 21. The film featured the humans and Transformers at war. To save the Earth, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) teamed up with Bumblebee, Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock), among others.

"Transformers: The Last Knight" grossed $128.9 million in the United States and Canada and $441.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of more than $570 million.