Michael Bay back-tracked on the claim that he was done directing Transformers movies upon completion of his initial Transformers film trilogy; then he did it again, by returning to helm next year's Transformers: The Last Knight, after indicating that he was calling it a day on the robots-in-disguise movie franchise upon overseeing the fourth installment, in 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction. A Transformers film directed by someone other than Bay will happen at last in 2018, with the release of for-now untitled spinoff that tells the "never heard story" of Bumblebee, everyone's favorite black-and-yellow Autobot.
Paramount confirmed earlier this year that the Bumblebee movie is the first of several planned Transformers spinoffs, to be released in-between the main live-action installments (thus forming the Transformers Cinematic Universe, so to speak). The film is being scripted by one Christina Hodson, a member of the Transformers writing group that was put together by Paramount in 2015 and tasked with plotting out the future of the larger Transformers franchise, for the next decade or so.
Deadline is reporting that Hodson has completed a script draft for the Bumblee spinoff that Paramount is "sweet on" and that the studio is now on the hunt for a director to oversee the project. The Bumblebee spinoff is scheduled to reach theaters in June 2018, so principal photography will be getting underway in the first half of 2017; presumably, earlier than later. That means that we could be getting an update on who's directing within the next few months (potentially even by the end of the year).
Hodson is a screenwriter who is going places very quickly in Hollywood. Although the only produced film that she has written to date is the recently-released dramatic thriller Shut In, Hodson has already been recruited to write the Harley Quinn/Birds of Prey movie set in the DC Extended Universe - and, wrote a script draft for the reboot of The Fugitive, in addition to writing the Bumblebee movie. Clearly, Hodson's work behind the scenes has been impressing studio heads thus far, so that bodes well for the upcoming franchise movies written by her, too.
Seeing as we're only now getting word about Paramount searching for the Bumblebee spinoff's director, it stands to reason that the studio's first step will be to put together a director shortlist for the project. The film is being envisioned as a "lower-cost" tentpole than the previous Transformers movies have been; in addition, past comments from Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner has suggested that the Bumblebee movie will be more properly kid-friendly than Bay's decidedly PG-13 Transformers installments. Both of those things could factor into not only who signs on for the first Transformers spinoff, but also who Paramount even approaches about the film to begin with.
The Bumblebee spinoff opens in U.S. theaters on June 8th, 2018.
- Transformers 5/Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) release date: Jun 21, 2017