Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise is one of the most successful Hollywood franchises ever, bringing in over $3.7 billion in box office receipts across just four installments, despite most of the movies being critically panned (the franchise has an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 32 percent). So it’s no wonder why Paramount Pictures plans to not only make more movies, but expand the franchise as well.
Last year, the studio hired Oscar-winning writer Akiva Goldsman to spearhead a brain trust of writers, such as The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and Daredevil showrunner Steve S. DeKnight, to put together a Transformers shared universe, consisting of various prequel and spinoff projects. The first movie will be Michael Bay’s fifth (and supposedly final) Transformers movie, Transformers: The Last Knight, which began filming in Cuba this month.
So far, we know that Bumblebee will be getting his own spin-off movie, but what about other characters and stories? This got us thinking, which characters and stories should Paramount adapt to the big screen? Here are 10 Transformers Spinoff Movies We Want To See.
It does vary a bit depending on which version you go by, but Lockdown is best known as a Decepticon before he turned to life as a mercenary. And unlike a certain bounty hunter from a galaxy far, far away, the intergalactic bounty hunter always gets his man (or, in this case, his transformer).
Lockdown made his cinematic debut in Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014, appearing as a bounty hunter tasked by the Creators (most likely being the Quintessons from the Transformers animated series) to retrieve Optimus Prime. He allied with Harold Attinger, played by Kelsey Grammer, to track down Optimus and promised Attinger a “seed” — a device capable of converting any material into metal — as payment for his efforts. Besides a slight change in appearance (he’s missing his signature right-hand hook), Lockdown’s portrayal remained faithful to his comic/animated counterpart. And although he ended up losing him, Lockdown did manage to at least capture Optimus Prime for a brief period of a time.
At one point in the movie, Lockdown utters the tantalizing statement, “Every galaxy I’ve traveled, all you species are the same. You all think you’re the center of the universe… you have no idea.” A spin-off movie centered on Lockdown’s exploits throughout the cosmos, the galaxies he’s traveled to, and the transformers he’s captured, could easily stand on its own — and likely do well at the box office. Heck, if Lucasfilm is interested in making a spin-off movie centered on a bounty hunter, why shouldn’t Paramount?
While Cybertronians (or, as they’re known to us mere humans, transformers) can take any shape, they are best known for transforming into cars. However, some of the earliest subgroups of Cybertronians transformed into dinosaurs, such as a Tyrannosaurus (Grimlock), a Triceratops (Slag), a Spinosaurus (Scorn), and a Pteranodon (Strafe), and they became appropriately known as Dinobots. It’s no wonder they were some of the hottest selling toys in the ’80s.
Despite being heavily featured in Transformers: Age of Extinction‘s promotional material, the Dinobots (or Knights, as they’re called) barely played a role in the movie, only showing up for a short time in the movie’s third act. And unlike their original comic/animated counterparts, the Dinobots in Age of Extinction didn’t speak.
In Age of Extinction, they are first seen as captives aboard Lockdown’s Knight ship, but where were they before that? Where have they been all these years? And how did they come to be captured by Lockdown? These are all questions that need answering — and a Dinobots spin-off movie just might be able to do that.
Secret U.S. government agency Sector Seven first appeared in Bay’s original Transformers in 2007, being led by director Tom Banachek (Michael O’Neill) and chief agent Seymour Simmons (John Turturro), who were tasked with defending the nation (and the world) against extraterrestrial threats.
Just like the comics and the animated series, the movies have a separate but close continuity of Sector Seven’s origins. In Transformers, Banachek states President Hoover commissioned the agency in secret, in 1929, after the First Seven discovered the AllSpark ten years prior — which, for decades, was hidden within the Hoover Dam. In the comics, however, a team of seven federal agents, scientists, and adventurers — who were tasked by President McKinley to investigate claims of a “36-foot tall steel man” frozen underneath the Arctic — formed the agency after encountering Megatron and Jetfire.
Regardless of its origin, Sector Seven’s history is riddled with questions. We only know their beginning and their end, but nothing of the 80 years in between. If a prequel isn’t the way to go, then Paramount should make a spinoff movie centering on the reestablishing of Sector Seven. They are, after all, the Transformers‘ version of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to successfully rebuild in secret. Plus, more Turturro isn’t a bad thing!
Speaking of Sector Seven, following the agency’s disbandment after the events of the first Transformers movie, William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) aided in forming the Non-Biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (NEST), a Human/Autobot coalition tasked with hunting down the remaining Decepticons on Earth.
NEST assisted in defeating the Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as well as defending Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. They were a necessary shield against extraterrestrial forces. And although it’s not explicitly revealed, the circumstances facing the Autobots in Age of Extinction suggest NEST had been decommissioned sometime between the events of the third and fourth installments. Considering that Duhamel is scheduled to reprise his role as Lennox in Transformers: The Last Knight, it’s possible he could resurrect the coalition, perhaps even as a division of Sector Seven.
A routine complaint of the Transformers series is that they have too much human involvement, but that may be due to the development of unnecessary stories and characters. Therefore, a spin-off focusing on NEST and their missions hunting down Decepticons and other cybertronians may make for the ideal balance between humans and Transformers. After all, things were going great for both parties until Attinger’s Cemetery Wind got involved.
War for Cybertron
Every time a Transformers movie releases, fans call for more Cybertron. But the only thing fans of Bay’s Transformers series have to go on is a brief look at the war at the beginning of Dark of the Moon. The entire plot of the franchise’s third installment centered on ending the war between the Autobots and Decepticons, yet audiences never actually got to see the war firsthand.
In 2003, Dreamwave Productions released a three-volume comic miniseries, Transformers: The War Within, telling the story of the war on Cybertron between the Autobots and Decepticons. That is a story many Transformers fans are familiar with, but casual moviegoers are not.
An adaptation of the comic — which also shows Optronix ascending as leader of the Autobots and being renamed Optimus Prime — would not only capture the attention of fans, but the intrigue of audiences around the world. Despite the series no longer being canon, and having been replaced by Activision’s Transformers: War for Cybertron video game, spin-off movies based on the first and third volume could fit within Bay’s Transformers universe, albeit with some modifications.
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe
Now that Paramount is moving forward with a Hasbro cinematic universe, after having successfully developed the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises on the big screen already, it seems the two behemoths may eventually cross paths, just as they’ve been doing in the comics in years past. However, it might be some time before a crossover happens, since Paramount is looking to keep their Transformers and Hasbro universes separate for now, despite Transformers being a Hasbro property.
The idea of a Transformers vs. G.I. Joe movie may appear asinine to the uninitiated, but the concept is quite actually similar to that of an Avengers or Justice League movie: After winning the War for Cybertron, the Decepticons banish Optimus Prime and, under the rule of Megatron, embark on a mission to conquer Earth. They are met with a capable resistance force consisting of the G.I. Joes and a group of rebel Autobots. A war ensues between the two worlds which, unfortunately, ends in an apocalyptic event. This could be the studio’s opportunity to capitalize on the big versus trend going on in Hollywood right now.
After a successful first installment, Bay’s second-go at the Transformers universe dove deeper in the franchise’s lore, focusing heavily on the original Primes. Unfortunately, their history is a convoluted mess, a result of being fleshed out by various comic publishers over the years.
But, as the story goes, an extra-dimensional being known as The One created twin astral beings, Primus and Unicron, to be the embodiments of Order and Chaos, respectively. In their prodigious fight that threatened the very existence of the universe, Primus moved their battle to the astral plane and back to the physical realm, eventually attempting to imprison them both in the form of asteroids. But Unicron had other plans, and took things a step further, mutating himself into a gargantuan robot. Instead of following in his brother’s footsteps, Primus transformed into the mechanical world of Cybertron and elected to create a race of equally capable robots to defeat Unicron. The first of this new race of Transformers were the Thirteen Primes, of which seven were seen in Bay’s Revenge of the Fallen.
With the Transformers universe expanding, a spin-off movie revealing some background information on the origin of the Primes and the Transformers — and Cybertron, for that matter — is essential to understanding all the players involved. How many times have non-Transformers fans asked, “Why can only a Prime defeat The Fallen?” and “Who created the Transformers?” We need answers!
Since Beast Wars is technically a sub franchise of sorts within the larger Transformers franchise, an adaptation of the Beast Wars: Transformers animated series (which ran in the late-90s) would be the ideal story for a spin-off movie once the current Autobot/Decepticon war concludes — which it will someday, hopefully.
The Beast Wars franchise centers on two factions, Maximals and Predacons, who descend from the original two warring Cybertron factions, the Autobots and Decepticons, respectively. Unlike their ancestors, though, the transformers of the two descendant factions are much smaller in size (closer to human height) and transform into animals rather than vehicles — which is fitting, considering the series takes place on prehistoric Earth, in a time when dinosaurs roamed the planet.
The Beast Wars animated series is regarded as one of the most exceptional Transformers stories ever told, and if Paramount is looking to take the franchise in a different direction, this just might be the right call. And perhaps in the direction of a post-apocalyptic Earth rather than prehistoric?
Michael Bay likes to make blockbuster movies with the fate of the world lying in the hands of a few — and people love that. Action movies that focus on commando/special forces groups always manage to capture the attention of casual moviegoers, so why shouldn’t the Transformers franchise capitalize on that?
Like the U.S. military (and other militaries around the world), the Transformers have a commando unit, called the Wreckers, who carry out missions that have little to no chance of success. While the Wreckers typically work with the Autobots, they have been known to side with the Decepticons (depending on the continuity). They first appeared in Dark of the Moon and aided NEST in defending Chicago against the Decepticons. Despite their valiant efforts, some of the members were hunted and killed in Age of Extinction by Harold Attinger’s CIA unit, Cemetery Wind, and the intergalactic bounty hunter Lockdown.
A spin-off movie centering on the Wreckers’ missions, which are, by requirement, perilous and impossible, would be an interesting direction for the franchise, especially if the studio wants something equivalent to a NEST movie — but sans human involvement.
Dark of the Moon/Age of Extinction Gap
A lot changed between the events of Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon, but as much as the five years between the Battle of Chicago and Age of Extinction.
At the end of Dark of the Moon, Optimus Prime and his unit of Autobots kill both Megatron and Sentinel Prime, thus saving Chicago and Earth from the Decepticons. But, when the story picks up five years later, the Autobots are being hunted by CIA Agent Harold Attinger and his unit Cemetery Wind, who have partnered with the bounty hunter Lockdown to capture The Last Prime. Instead of accepting and thanking the Autobots, as they did, sort of, after the events of Revenge of the Fallen, the world turned on the Transformers. Why?
A movie taking place between those five enigmatic years, showing why the government decommissioned NEST and why the CIA began hunting the Autobots, would help to elucidate the many, many questions fans have. It would also allow for one more Transformers movie starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.
What would you want to see in a Transformers spinoff? Does this franchise have the legs Paramount thinks it does? Sound off in the comments.