The Transformers franchise, like most every other major Hollywood franchise that's currently active (DC, Star Wars, and so forth), is in the process of being restructured to embrace the "shared cinematic universe" model that Marvel Studios has popularized (via its Marvel Cinematic Universe) - with sequels and spinoffs featuring the Autobots and Deceptions alike apparently planned out until 2025. Paramount Pictures put together a group of writers composed of industry vets, up and coming talents, and relative newcomers to plot its roadmap for upcoming Transformers projects; with not only live-action films, but even fully-animated Transformers movies on the docket.
Michael Bay, who has directed all four live-action Transformers films released to date, will return to helm Transformers 5 (the film's official title has not yet been announced), with production on the sequel slated to get underway in May 2016. Transformers 5 is now officially set to arrive in 2017 - and it appears safe to assume that Bay (as he's claimed recently) will not direct the installments that follow too, as Transformers 6 is now scheduled to arrive a year later in 2018, with Transformers 7 in place to follow suit in 2019.
Paramount Pictures has officially set Transformers 5 to open in U.S. theaters on June 23rd, 2017; that is the same date that Warner Bros. Pictures and DC have currently staked out for their Wonder Woman solo film, so it won't come as a surprise if one of those two tentpoles changes dates in the year ahead. In addition, Paramount has penciled in Transformers 6 for theatrical release on June 8th, 2018 (which is the same day that WB currently intends to unleash Godzilla 2 in theaters) and set Transformers 7 to hit theaters on June 28th, 2019 - a date that is otherwise unoccupied right now, though Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles 2 will arrive one week earlier, with Sony's Bad Boys 4 following over the Fourth of July frame (though that too may change).
[UPDATE: Paramount/Hasbro have now revealed that the 2018 Transformers movie will, in fact, be a Bumblee spinoff film, followed by the sixth installment in the main Transformers movie series in 2019.]
Transformers: Age of Extinction star Mark Wahlberg will return as inventor/mechanic Cade Yeager in Transformers 5, with the latter serving as the first chapter in a multi-part storyline that will carry over into Transformers 6 and 7 (hence their arrival in quick succession) - unlike past Transformers movies, which were relatively standalone in their structure, even with their recurring human and Cybertronian players alike. Transformers 5 is reportedly being written by Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down) and writing duo Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (Iron Man) - all of whom were also members of the Transformers writing group - while the sixth and seventh installments in the series will be written by such folk as Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk) and Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), among others.
Paramount, in other words, is attempting to (pardon the wording) transform its Transformers franchise into a well-oiled machine that can produce a new installment on an annual basis. This move will make the Transformers brand all the more similar to Marvel and Lucasfilm's multi-platform properties, as well as Universal Pictures' Fast & Furious movie franchise (which also has release dates in place for its next three installments), with regard to how new installments are developed and released. Planning multiple films ahead is now a standard operating procedure for Hollywood franchises in general, though we have already seen examples of how that strategy doesn't at all guarantee the results that studios want (see Sony's abandoned plans for a shared Amazing Spider-Man universe or Paramount's indefinitely delayed Terminator: Genisys trilogy).
The Transformers film brand is currently one of the most commercially viable franchises in Hollywood, but critical success has eluded it thus far - could that change, now that Bay is moving away from being the franchise's central creative force behind the camera? Or is there a risk that filmgoers will get burnt out on Transformers movies faster, with a new one arriving every year now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Transformers 5 will open in U.S. theaters on June 23rd, 2017, followed by Transformers 6 on June 8th, 2018, and Transformers 7 on June 28th, 2019.
Source: Paramount Pictures
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