Transformers: Every Version of Bumblebee, Ranked

Part of the strength of Transformers The franchise is your ability to reinvent yourself. After more than 35 years and still strong, Transformers takes the unique approach of maintaining and reviving its original characters and placing them in new stories and settings.

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With over 10 animated series and a handful of comics and games, Transformers has many iterations of characters and lore to offer. Each new universe modifies the characters to adapt to the new environment, some of them remain more faithful to their original characterization than others.

10 Animated Transformers

Animated Transformers Bumblebee is the biggest departure from the typical characterization of Bumblebee. While that’s definitely not a bad thing, it leaves this version of Bumblebee feeling like a stranger to others.

Strong, impetuous, but with a good heart, Animated Bumblebee acts much more like the Hot Shot character from the Unicron trilogy (consisting of Transformers Armada, Energon, Y Cybertron). This is because Bumblebee was originally supposed to be Hot Shot. The change came after the 2007 live-action movie went into production. So while the character changed, the characterization didn’t.

9 IDW Comics

bumblebee idw comics

By far the most troublesome Bumblebee, the first IDW version of Bumblebee was unstable to say the least. Defeated by the war and his colleagues who forced him into a leadership position he never wanted, this Bumblebee draws the line between the usual characterization and something much darker.

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While it’s interesting, it doesn’t feel like a bumblebee until the end of the comic. This is due to the various IDW writers as they all had a unique take on the character. But the pinnacle of this Bumblebee is definitely like a ghost, trying to make Starscream a better person, well, a robot. Helping those in need while using his brain is a total Bumblebee move.

8 Robots in Disguise (2015)

robots in disguise

Robots in disguise (2015) was the dubious canonical sequel to Transformers: Prime. Received with mixed reviews from fans, the series focused on a “Monster of the Week” approach. With Team Leader Bumblebee, the series followed a motley crew of Rejects attempting to round up some fugitive Decepticon criminals.

This bumblebee is what comes to mind when one imagines an older, more mature bumblebee. The series manages to portray Bumblebee in a way that is still fun and lighthearted, but definitely older. Still, Bumblebee is an ageless character. With so many new and grown-up looks put on it, it doesn’t feel like a bumblebee.

7 Transformers Live Action Movies (2007-2017)

bumblebee transformers

Live action movies saw Bumblebee’s popularity rise. The character could not be used until the movie went into production, Transformers managed to spark a renewed interest in the character. With a legacy like that, live-action Bumblebee makes it higher on the list.

However, he seriously suffers from a lack of character development, as is typical of the rest of the Autobots and Decepticons in the film. Catering to a different audience, this bumblebee tends to be more violent and much more badass than any other incarnation.

6 War for the Cybertron trilogy

war for cybertron bumblebee

A completely new version of the character, Netflix War for Cybertron Bumblebee starts out being self-centered and selfish. Living in an apocalyptic world for who knows how long, Bumblebee was content to seek out and protect only himself. Only after receiving the Alpha Tyrion Protocols, does he choose a side to pursue.

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It really feels like a missed opportunity, although that’s due more to the short form of the series and the number of other characters that were supposed to be the focus of the first season. Still, it would have been interesting to see a slightly longer journey from a selfish bumblebee to a disinterested bumblebee.

5 Cyberverse

cyberverse transformers

Perhaps the most self-aware Transformers series to date, Cyberverse He flipped the usual franchise formula. Produced in 11 minute segments instead of the typical half hour, Cyberverse play fast and loose with its format, characters and humor. Once again focused on Bumblebee, the series gradually introduces the bigger characters, like Optimus Prime, as time goes on.

Cyberverse Bumblebee is a very funny character. Playful, but serious when he needs to be, Bumblebee shows his dedication to his friends and ideals throughout the show. That said, it is also extremely silly.

4 War for Cybertron / Fall of Cybertron

war for cybertron bumblebee

the Transformers The High Moon Studios games were well received by critics and fans. Technically part of the same universe as Transformers: Prime Y Robots in disguise (2015), the games told the story of how Cybertron became corrupted and the resulting exodus from the planet.

Keeping up with canon in the Battle of Tyger Pax, Bumblebee goes mute when Cybertron Fall occurs. However, his input and his voice lines in War for Cybertron more than make up for that. Friendly, cheerful and young, Bumblebee embraces cheek and playfulness in its original ’80s incarnation. Its updated design is also spectacular, and was later used in parts of the IDW comics.

3 Transformers: Prime

Transformers Prime Bumblebee

The most revered of the Transformers series that rivals alone Wars of the beasts, Transformers: Prime set a new standard for franchising. With designs largely based on live action movies, principal created a new bible of stories for the franchise to continue.

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Bumblebee takes one more role in the backseat, though when the time comes, he steps up and takes action. He is shown to be playful and childish if his habit of watching cartoons on Saturday mornings is something to go through. But he proves to be a fearsome and loyal fighter to the point of sacrifice. However, a lot of character development is lost due to the decision to keep him mute throughout the series and he doesn’t constantly seek approval like other incarnations do.

2 Generation 1

bumblebee generation 1

The original bumblebee set the precedent for the rest. Young and eager to please, G1 Bumblebee was the character of many fans’ best friend, a gateway to the world of Transformers By default, it is the pinnacle Bumblebee. However, like other incarnations, he is overshadowed by other characters such as Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Ironhide, Prowl, and Jazz.

He also tends not to be the most useful of the Autobots, mostly relegated to a moral role. It’s a bit frustrating when canon says that Bumblebee, while weak, is an accomplished member of the Special Ops team.

one Bumblebee (2018)

bumblee movie

The most beautiful of all incarnations, Bumblebee (2018) wins the award for the best bumblebee. Coming full circle, this film revived interest in the film franchise by offering a more heartfelt story while at the same time embracing the ridiculousness found in G1. Seriously, the Decepticons created the internet and humans exploded into a goo.

The 2018 movie is very 80s in the best way. And Bumblebee, while having moments of mischief and fun, can show his skills. The ending sequences of the battle at the marina highlight Bumblebee’s battle prowess, as well as forgiveness towards Agent Burns. The duality of compassion, cruelty, and loyalty is all that Bumblebee should be.

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