Well this is an interesting turn of events. Despite the fact that they’ve almost all been critically panned, the Transformers movies make money. They make a lot of money. Transformers: Age of Extinction alone grossed nearly $1.1 billion, so whether people want them or not, there will be more Transformers movies. The question, then, has been what form will the continuation of the franchise take?
After Transformers: Dark of the Moon, director Michael Bay famously planned to hand the franchise off to a new filmmaker who could semi-reboot the series. He subsequently changed his mind and came back to helm Age of Extinction himself, resulting in pretty much the same movie we’ve been watching for four films in a row now, only with more Mark Wahlberg and less Shia LaBeouf. Bay previously said he’d be handing Transformers 5 off to another filmmaker, and he subsequently opted to move forward with the Benghazi drama 13 Hours as his next film, but given his history you never really know.
Regardless, Bay remains involved in the franchise as a producers, and Paramount has some plans. Big plans. Deadline reports today that the studio is looking to go ahead and put together a plan not only for Transformers 5, but for multiple Transformers sequels and spinoffs, and they’ve enlisted writer/producer/director Akiva Goldsman—whose screenplay credits range from the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind to I Am Legend to The Divergent Series: Insurgent—to spearhead the effort.
The idea is for Goldsman, Bay, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura to put together a so-called “writer’s room” and develop a Transformers multi-sequel idea as well as potential Transformers spinoff movies. The report likens it to how James Cameron enlisted four screenwriters to write the scripts for all three Avatar sequels at once, but it’s clear that Paramount is actually cribbing from Marvel’s playbook. They want an inter-connected universe and a serialized set of Transformers movies rather than standalone entries.
Deadline notes that Bay wants this all hammered out by the time he’s done with 13 Hours so that Transformers 5 “can move forward quickly,” but it’s unclear if that means Bay intends to direct or just produce. The report also says that Goldsman might not actually do any screenwriting here, he may just act as the “showrunner”, helping incubate the ideas and hire writers to do the actual penning of the script. If you needed any further proof that the “inter-connected universe” idea is essentially approaching films like television, here is a literal writer’s room.
I only got enjoyment out of the first Transformers so I’ve got little hope of this new approach turning me around on the franchise personally, but it’s a smart move from a business standpoint. No doubt they’ll come up with a number of films to greenlight simultaneously, leading to a steady stream of Transformers movies hitting theaters for years and years to come. Hooray?
What do you think, readers? Would the idea of a more serialized, over-arcing set of sequels turn you around on the Transformers franchise? What kind of spinoffs would you like to see? Sound off in the comments below.