WATCH: Bumblebee Trailer Looks Largely Magnificent

The Transformers return to theaters this December 21 with “Bumblebee,” a smaller, more tender flick compared to the exhausting bedlam the series grew into by the time of “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Paramount just released a trailer of the most personable Autobot in the tale of his recent history on Earth, and it appears we’ll learn how Bumblebee went from pugnacious World War II Jeep-like soldier to a derelict runaway in his 1980’s cartoon form of a Volkswagen Beetle.

Set in 1987 on the California coast 20 years before the first Michael Bay film, Hailee Steinfeld plays Charlie Watson — a female, far less frantic, and mechanically-inclined Sam Witwicky. She meets Bumblebee the same way Witwicky did, while looking for her first car. The trailer doesn’t explain how a teenager living in a very nice house with an ocean view and a Discovery Channel garage, and no adults anywhere, ends up with a clapped-out 1967 Beetle for her first car. But alas, we digress. Bumblebee can’t speak in this movie — as with the first film — so expect a lot of cassette tape action and some Rick Astley.

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