The future of the Transformers film franchise is in doubt after Paramount Pictures pulled Transformers 6 from its 2019 release calendar. Michael Bay kicked off the live-action Transformers franchise in 2007 and continued directing sequels with Shia LaBeouf in the title role until Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon in 2011. Then, Bay and Paramount took the series in a different direction with Transformers 4: Age of Extinction and Transformers 5: The Last Knight, both of which were poorly received by critics and audiences alike. And it seems that the reaction to the latter film has caused the studio to pull their upcoming sequel.
Although critical reception hasn't always been Transformers' strong suit, the film series has always brought in a hefty sum at the global box office. However, Paramount started to see the tides turn when The Last Knight grossed just over half of what the previous two films grossed, despite its estimated production budget being the highest in the franchise. So, it was clear that Paramount was going to go in a new direction for its next film: Bumblebee, a spinoff that would serve as an origin story for the fan-favorite Autobot and be directed by Laika CEO and Kubo and the Two Strings helmer Travis Knight. A full-fledged sequel was supposed to come out next year in 2019, but it seems that's no longer happening.
The Wrap reports that Paramount has pulled Transformers 6 from its 2019 release slate, leaving Bumblebee as the only franchise-related film in production for now. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, not to mention Bumblebee in his classic VW Bug form, the Bumblebee film is still on track to release this December. Paramount was set to release Transformers 6 on June 28, 2019, but now, that slot will be taken over by Tiffany Hadish's comedy Limited Partners.
While its jarring to hear that a tentpole film is being pulled from a studio's release schedule, the news probably won't come as complete shock to those who've been tracking the progress of the franchise. At the Toy Fair in February, news emerged from Hasbro's investor panel that the Transformers franchise would be "reset" following the release of Bumblebee. Although that news was later walked back, it's possible that Paramount is looking into doing just that. After all, the studio is performing a similar reset for their Terminator franchise following the release of 2015's Terminator: Genisys.
Perhaps the most telling sign that the next Transformers film wouldn't be a go came with a reveal slate that didn't include the legacy franchise, but Bumblebee, another G.I. Joe film (2020), Micronauts (2020), and Dungeons & Dragons (2021). There did appear to be a bit of wiggle-room, however, with the generic announcement of a Paramount/Hasbro event film for 2021. With the latest turn of events for Tranformers 7, the pressure now lies squarely on the shoulders of Bumblebee to keep the Transformers franchise going.
Luckily, Bumblebee has a great storyteller at the helm with Knight, even though the spinoff is only his second movie, overall, and his first live-action venture. If Bumblebee is successful, then the possibility exists for a sequel based on the bug for the 2021 date or another Transformers spinoff, if not a rebooted Transformers film altogether.
Source: The Wrap
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018