Recently we learned of Paramount's plans to mimic the massive box office and merchandising success of interconnected cinematic universes like the Marvel Studios superhero films and the Star Wars universe by expanding the highly lucrative Transformers franchise into a cohesive world of movies. Mark Wahlberg is under contract to appear in Transformers 5 and 6, the loyal autobot Bumblee may be getting a solo spinoff, and there are rumblings of a prequel film set on the Autobot and Decepticon homeworld of Cybertron.
Paramount has hired a slew of top-notch writing talent to carry out this vision: Christina Hodson (Shut In, the new Fugitive movie), Lindsey Beer (the upcoming Short Circuit remake), the Ant-Man team of Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Jeff Pinkner (Amazing Spider-Man 2), Zak Penn (Pacific Rim 2), and Iron Man writers Art Marcum & Matt Holloway. The studio has also assembled a "brain trust" under writer Akiva Goldsman - which includes Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian, and Hasbro’s Brian Goldner - that will oversee the writers and steer the direction of the Transformers franchise.
Now, thanks to Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, we are learning more about what exactly will transpire behind locked doors in the Transformers writing room, and what we can expect for Optimus Prime, Megatron, and the rest of the robotic icons in the future.
Speaking to Deadline, Goldsman revealed the brain trust has added writers Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down) and Geneva Robertson-Dworet to the already loaded writing staff, and that the inspiration behind a communal creative space for scribes to gather and give birth to a new interconnected universe of movies came from his experiences working in the world of the small screen:
There is such reciprocity between TV and movies now, that we’re borrowing this from TV. I got a taste of this from JJ Abrams when I came in to write an episode of Fringe, and then Jeff Pinkner let me hang around for four years like the drunk uncle. The whole process of the story room was really delightful, and we are seeing it more in movies as this moves toward serialized storytelling. There are good rooms around town, including the Monsters Room at Universal, the Star Wars room, and of course, at Marvel. We’re trying to beg, borrow and steal from the best of them, and gathered a group of folks interested in developing and broadening this franchise. There is a central corridor of movies that has been proceeding quite well, but our challenge will be to answer, where do we go from here?”
According to Goldsman, they could go anywhere. The brain trust will apparently be open to exploring all avenues of Transformers storytelling, and no era of the never-ending battle between Autobots and Decepticons is out of play, including the popular '90s CG-animated adventures of the descendants of the two warring factions - the Maximals and Predacons.
“If one of the writers discovers an affinity for 'Beast Wars,' they can drive forward on treatments that will have been fleshed out by the whole room."
Goldsman also made sure the physical space the writers will brainstorm in was suitably decked out in full Transformers regalia to help spark creativity and an appreciation for the Transformers lore:
“We’ve got a work space that is beautifully production designed to be immersive with a strong sense of the franchise history. We will look at the toys, the TV shows, the merchandise, everything that has been generated by Hasbro, from popular to forgotten iterations, and establish a mythological time line. It has been designed with a lot of visual help, toys, robots, sketches and writers and artists. After that super saturation, the writers will figure out not one, but numerous films that will extend the universe.”
While the latest Transformers film, Age Of Extinction, took in the lowest domestic box office total in franchise history so far with $245.4 million, it still raked in over $1 billion thanks to enormous overseas grosses.
Obviously, there's still plenty of energon powering the Autobots and Decepticons, and plenty of audience demand to sustain the rock 'em sock 'em robot-on-robot carnage for years to come. Hopefully, with the track record of quality films, comic books, and television produced by this brain trust of writers, producers, and directors, some much-needed substance and narrative cohesion will be added to compliment the dazzling technical wizardry the for which the franchise is famous (or infamous).
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more developments in the interconnected Transformers Cinematic Universe. Transformers 5 is expected to hit theaters in 2017.