Marvel Studios has made shared universe multimedia franchises the most cohesive and lucrative entertainment business model of the 21st Century. But even as DC Comics/Warner Bros. and Star Wars (the grandaddy of all shared universes) both gear up for some shared universe expansions of their brands, it seems that almost every blockbuster franchise wants to change up their business model to compete in a post-Marvel world - and that includes the Transformers franchise.
TFW2005 kept eye on the Hasbro Quarter 1 earnings conference call, where executives talked plans for the future of Transformers. Reportedly, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner had the following to say on the state of the franchise:
"Our plan with the studio and filmakers you may have heard some writers being hired and we have in fact brought in Akiva Goldsman to lead a group of writers to really create a strategic plan around Transformers. We think there are any number of stories to be told from the brand that has been around for 30 years with amazing canon and mythology. We would expect the sequel to the Transformers movie [TF4] to happen in 2017."
While this is indeed confirmation of an intended release date, it's not exactly new news, and there are still many factors at play with the franchise.
The studio (Paramount) and producers (Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Bay) of the Transformers franchise have already had differing ideas about release dates for TF5. Paramount once indicated that Transformers 5 was coming in 2016, but Bonaventura then said that wasn't the case. Transformers 4 star Mark Wahlberg has indicated that filming could start soon - but that's vague in terms of pinning down a release date.
Last year we also heard that Transformers 5 was coming in 2017, so that - combined with Wahlberg's statement - is a strong indication. But there's also one big factor to consider...
Bay or New Director?
Even as far back as planning for Transformers: Age of Extinction it was indicated that Michael Bay, despite having expressed exhaustion with the franchise, could come back and direct part 4 as a sort of start to a new trilogy - then hand the reins off to a new director in Part 5. Bonaventura would later state that was just Internet speculation - but not entirely off the table, as a possible plan for the future.
Fast-forward to now, and despite Age of Extinction still making big money (1 billion worldwide), critical response to the film - and Bay in particular - was worse than ever. In the months since the film's release, Michael Bay's return has been in question; but as we always say here, a dump truck full of many could always bring somone back to the table. And with the franchise now cracking the billion-dollar mark - and new talent possibly getting a crack at spinoff movies - it's not hard to imagine that Transformers 5 ends up being more of the same.
We'll keep you updated on the status of Transformers 5 and the larger shared universe.