As controversial as John Cena might be within the WWE Universe, he will be making headlines again. This time, it won't be for his willingness to put over other wrestlers or for his desire to beat someone like Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam. Cena is front page news thanks to his new role outside the WWE. The multi-time WWE Champion landed a leading role in the new Transformers spinoff movie Bumblebee.
The film is scheduled to start shooting right away and stars Hailee Steinfeld (of Pitch Perfect fame). This installment of the very profitable Transformers franchise is a prequel to Transformers and it will center on the yellow-and-black-bot Bumblebee. Starring alongside Steinfeld and Cena will be Jorge Lendeborg, Jason Drucker, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow, Ricardo Hoyos and Gracie Dzienny.
The Bumblebee story is set in the year 1987, where Charlie (Steinfeld), plays a student/mechanic unsure where her life is headed. In a junkyard, she discovers a barely working Bumblebee and when Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary yellow car.
While the films haven't been critically acclaimed, each picture has produced a reliable stream of revenue and this particular film is being pegged as the project that launches what the studio hopes will be a Transformers Cinematic Universe. In much the same way Marvel, Star Wars, and DC have sprouted spinoff films, the Transformers universe will include prequels and offshoots from a line of movies that have generated more than $3.7 billion worldwide. If producers are correct, this could be a very big opportunity for Cena who, just in the last couple years, has found a footing in Hollywood after a mostly uninspiring move to the big screen.
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The film kicked off production Monday in California and Paramount has set a new release date of Dec. 21, 2018. It will be going up against a heavy hitter in Warner Bros.' Aquaman, but it will be a real test of the ability for this kind of film and Cena's connection to the WWE to draw viewers. Paramount is hoping Cena is the next Dwayne Johnson.
Like The Rock, this news makes it difficult to predict just how much or how little Cena will be appearing on WWE programming. One has to think that this could affect his odds of winning the WWE Championship at SummerSlam and that fans will be subject to another long hiatus from the 16-time champion.
Cena's acting resume of late has been impressive. He was most recently seen in Doug Liman’s The Wall and in HBO's film Tour de Pharmacy. In 2016, his credits included Daddy's Home, Sisters, and Trainwreck. He's also the host of American Grit on Fox, and his upcoming releases include Daddy’s Home 2 and The Pact with Leslie Mann.