The Transformers cinematic universe is ending before it even started, with a reboot now planned for the movies after the upcoming Bumblebee spinoff. While the Transformers series still turns a profit, Paramount and Hasbro's ambitious plans to kick off a shared universe revolving around its characters isn't going as planned. 2017's Transformers: The Last Knight was meant to kickoff a larger shared universe of sequels and spinoff movies, but that was before the film bombed with critics and grossed $605 million worldwide - a hefty take, but down substantially from the $1.1 billion gross of its predecessor, Transformers: Age of Extinction.
The toy company behind Transformers hasn't been deterred, however, as Hasbro inked a deal with Paramount to create more content based on their IPs. A new G.I. Joe live-action film is already in the works, and the plan has always been to make more Transformers films after this December's Bumblebee prequel/spinoff. Bumblebee will have his classic VW Bug look in that Hailee Steinfeld-led film, but it appears that he and the other Autobots will now be getting a different sort of makeover thereafter.
Transformers fan site TFW2005 was on hand at Hasbro's investor panel at the 2018 Toy Fair. While there, the toy company stated that Paramount has a whole new team overseeing the Transformers films and that the franchise is going to be 'reset' following the release of Bumblebee. They also unveiled their upcoming film slate, which no longer lists any Transformers projects beyond this year's installment (see the picture below).
Joining Bumblebee will be a new G.I. Joe film in 2020 along with a Micronauts movie based on the old toy line. That latter property may have more trouble than G.I. Joe or Transformers in gaining name recognition with younger audiences, so it's still not clear how well a Hasbro cinematic universe would actually do. Beyond that, 2021 will bring another attempt at a Dungeons & Dragons movie, along with a Paramount/Hasbro event film.
Typically, the 'event' designation is given to shared universe team-up movies like The Avengers, so it's possible G.I. Joe, Micronauts, and/or Transformers will join forces on the big screen then. Then again, the lack of success in spinning out the Transformers universe and the poor reception the G.I. Joe films have received to date doesn't portend well for the future of Hasbro's movies.
For now, all eyes will be on Bumblebee, which is entering a crowded December 2018 as a number of blockbusters take over the usual Star Wars holiday slot. If the film's a commercial success, that should impact the direction that the Transformers movie franchise takes from here. That puts all the more pressure on the first Bumblebee trailer to impress fans, whenever it drops online.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018