'Transformers': Hailee Steinfeld debuts first photo of herself in 'Bumblebee'

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This June’s Transformers: The Last Knight was the weakest-performing entry in the series to date, earning only $129 million here at home, and $583.4 million worldwide — significantly less than the previous low, 2014’s Age of Extinction ($245 million in the U.S., $709.7 million worldwide). Thus, the upcoming Bumblebee spin-off rolls up into a franchise running a bit low on gas, and probably in need of a tune-up, if not an outright overhaul. It’s going to be set in the 1980s and feature the Autobot going on a solo prequel adventure alongside Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena. And while that project has just gotten started, we now have our first image from the production, courtesy of a Steinfeld tweet inviting us to meet her character, Charlie Watson.

Charlie’s hair definitely seems to have some distinctive ‘80s flair, but beyond that there aren’t a lot more clues to be gleaned from this from-the-trailer-steps snapshot. However, eagle-eyed fans will notice that the shirt she’s wearing is for heavy metal icons Motorhead — whose name doubles as an apt vehicular pun in this setting.

The film’s official synopsis provides a bit more background on the story of the upcoming movie, which is being helmed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings):

“On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.”

Bumblebee races into theaters on Dec. 21, 2018.

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