In the era of mega movie franchises, Michael Bay's Transformers series is one of the biggest and most lucrative. It's review proof as evidenced by 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction which despite receiving abysmal scores from critics still earned over $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office thanks to its international appeal.
And that's just from the theater-going ticket receipts. Throw in home video and TV syndication dollars and the almighty Hasbro toy lines where the real money is and it's no surprise that Paramount Pictures is looking to quickly turn the movie franchise into a shared cinematic universe, embracing the model every studio is trying to take advantage of. Transformers 5 will help establish something much bigger that will allow the studio to push out prequels, sequels and spinoffs annually.
Waiting three years between billion dollar movies just doesn't make sense anymore when you can have billion dollar movies annually. And seeing the fifth Transformers movie coming in 2017 instead of 2016 is a tad financially painful but worth it in the long-term given that Paramount has established an impressive writer's room worth of talent to help re-focus and plan out the future of the franchise:
- Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend)
- Christina Hodson (Shut In, the new Fugitive movie),
- Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari (Ant-Man team)
- Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead creator)
- Jeff Pinkner (Lost, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
- Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk, Pacific Rim 2)
- Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (Iron Man writers)
- Lindsey Beer (Short Circuit remake)
- Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down) and Geneva Robertson-Dworet
- Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil)
This seemingly continually growing team - based on the formula Universal (Monster movie universe), Lucasfilm (Star Wars) and Marvel Studios (Avengers) are currently employing - serves under the producer circle of Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian, and Hasbro’s Brian Goldner. Having them setup and get started while Bay produces and directs another movie in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi means the untitled Transformers 5 won't begin shooting until next year for its 2017 release date. And when it does, it'll feature dual storylines that set the stage for what will be spinoffs and sequels (maybe a prequel too), at least according to voice actor Mark Ryan.
Ryan has provided several voices to the film franchise and its tie-in video games, including Revenge of the Fallen's Jetfire and Age of Extinction's Lockdown, and while appearing at UK's Dunsfold Wings and Wheels event where a few Transformers movie cars were on display, he spoke about his work so far and what he knows about the next movie. He explains that Transformers 5 will follow Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager on Earth again but in a branching plot, Optimus Prime will head to space. Finally!
The Dinobots will apparently return alongside other Autobots who team with Yeager to save the Earth from another new threat while Optimus, according to Dark Horizons, begins a search for the alien race known as the Quintessons, who have ties to the origins of Cybertron. The latter part we can't find a source quote on and we're following up (we've reached out for details), but the idea is a good one, especially knowing Akiva Goldsman and his team have made a point of going back through all Transformers lore for stories and ideas.
We already knew Wahlberg would be returning as the new face of the main Transformers series and it's no surprise that the Dinobots will return either, but if there's any truth to Optimus heading off-Earth, a lot of fans will be happy, Quintessons or not. There's been a legion of fans hoping to see a TF movie focus on the Autobots and Decepticons more instead of the human characters, and exploring the larger universe and other species hinted at in Age of Extinction - not to mention, a potential return to Cybertron in a prequel would be welcome. Those brief space sequences in the previous movies were some of the best and with space-based adventures proving popular as of late (Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars and upcoming Star Trek Beyond), there's no better time than now to take advantage. Also, bring on Beast Wars.
We'll bring you more information on Transformers 5 (and the Transformers franchise in general) when we have it.
Art from Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.