Depending on how one feels about the Transformers franchise, news that Paramount was developing a shared universe for the Hasbro characters either elicited a yelp of excitement or a deep sigh of surrender. The most recent release, Transformers: Age of Extinction, received some of the series’ harshest reviews but was also the second consecutive film in the franchise to cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
In the months since the shared universe announcement, Paramount has been building the creative team that will help sketch out where to take the Autobots in future adventures. The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and a host of other writers with experience in big-budget fare have already been recruited by the studio, Hasbro, director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg.
Now Deadline is reporting that Steven DeKnight has joined the team working on the Transformers shared universe. Hailing from the television side of things, DeKnight created Starz’ Spartacus and worked on a number of other fan-favorite series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Smallville. Most recently, he served as showrunner for Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix, a role he ultimately left for the show’s already announced season 2.
The addition of DeKnight to the brain trust will likely come as a welcome surprise for those who have criticized the Transformers films for their weak plot threads and even weaker human characters. Daredevil has been notably praised as one of the best projects to come out of Marvel Studios (including the films), and its runaway success can largely be attributed to DeKnight’s leadership.
Transformers may not be reborn as a deep character study or embrace the darker sensibility of some of DeKnight’s other work, but it does indicate that the forthcoming films may be trying to strengthen their focus on story as opposed to spectacle. After all, the Autobots, Decepticons and other characters in the Transformers universe have rich mythologies that could easily be mined for fresh material.
The franchise still has quite a bit of work to do to win back moviegoers who have become disillusioned with the existing films, but just like the 1980s animated series said, there may be more to the Transformers franchise than meets the eye.
Do you think DeKnight will prove a strong addition to the Transformers team? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on the Transformers franchise as this story develops.