Paramount Pictures' four live-action Transformers movies released to date have made the studio nearly $3.8 billion in theatrical grosses alone. That fact is no small part of the reason why the studio has now started development on a Transformers Shared Cinematic Universe - that is, a collection of Transformers films centered around different characters and storylines, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or the Star Wars Shared Universe).
Oscar-winning screenwriter/producer Akiva Goldsman is a big fan of genre entertainment (having worked on films like I Am Legend and I, Robot as well as the TV series Fringe), and is the man who is leading a writing group - or 'brain trust', whatever you prefer to call it - composed of screenwriters who will help develop ideas for and/or pen new Transformers movies. That group keeps growing larger by the day, as we're now hearing two more scribes have been added to its ranks.
Deadline is reporting that the Transformers writing group has now added its first female scribes, with the addition of writers Lindsey Beer and Christina Hodson. Both screenwriters are up and comers with multiple projects that are somewhere in the pipeline - and who, by and large, tend to specialize in sci-fi, fantasy, and/or action fare, appropriately enough.
Beer, for example, has a background in actual science (she studied neuroscience at Stanford) and worked on the slow-developing Short Circuit remake, as well as Dig (an original family-friendly adventure for Disney) and the sci-fi/comedy How To Nail An Alien (intended for an adult audience, as you probably guessed from the title). Hodgson, by comparison, penned the upcoming Naomi Watts thriller Shut In as well as Warner Bros.' movie reboot of The Fugitive.
The Transformers writing group also includes the following scribes:
- Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead (both the TV show and comic book), as well as the upcoming spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead.
- Jeff Pinkner, who co-penned The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and worked alongside Goldsman on Fringe.
- Zak Penn, screenwriter of The Incredible Hulk and Guillermo del Toro's co-writer on the upcoming Pacific Rim 2.
- Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, the screenwriters on such comic book movies as Iron Man and Punisher: War Zone.
- Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, who are fresh off having done rewrite on the upcoming Marvel Studios' release Ant-Man.
Paramount's Transformers writing group now features multiple screenwriters who show promise, as well as scribes who have done some solid work in the past - so, all things considered, it is a pretty respectable brain trust.
The problem is that all of the aforementioned Transformers brain trust members are very much studio screenwriters - people who specialize in creating easy to market genre properties, as opposed to storytellers recognized (and lauded) for their voices. By comparison, Lucasfilm went out and recruited either respected blockbuster directors like J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8) or acclaimed indie talents like Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) to work on developing its upcoming Star Wars features films. In other words, for some it'll no doubt be difficult to get that excited about a Transformers Shared Universe, compared to the interest surrounding other developing "universes".
On the other hand, the Transformers writing group will be apparently working on projects like a movie set on Cybertron - projects that, conceptually, read as more interesting uses of the Transformers mythos than what any previous live-action robots in disguise adaptation has done with characters like Optimus Prime and his kin. Similarly, if the aforementioned writers are able to put together live-action films more on the level of past (or ongoing) Transformers cartoon TV series, then there are certainly many fans of this franchise who will be more than happy.
As for those who prefer the Michael Bay approach to making Transformers installments, don't (do?) worry - as Transformers 5 is still moving forward, with the expectation being that Bay will direct the film after he finishes shooting his Benghazi thriller 13 Hours (with Mark Wahlberg reprising his role from Transformers: Age of Extinction as inventor Cade Yeager).
Transformers 5 is currently expected to reach theaters in 2017. We'll keep you updated on developments concerning all other Transformers movies as more information is made available.