Over nearly 40 years in pop culture, Transformers has certainly lived up to its name. The franchise went from toys to TV to movies to even bigger movies and, most recently, a more character-driven big-screen approach. Those robots in disguise are constantly transforming and they’re about to do that all over again.
Variety reports, and Gizmodo has confirmed, that Paramount is simultaneously developing two scripts for the Transformers franchise. One is by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man) and the other is by Joby Harold (King Arthur, the upcoming Army of the Dead). Not much is know about the scripts except that “they present an opportunity to build out multiple storylines within the franchise.” It’s rumoured, however, that one script is set within the world of the previous films and the other is more of a grand-scale reimagining. No directors are attached but that could be coming soon and each film is likely to have a new cast. Also, it’s unclear if these are competing or independent projects.
Admittedly, that’s a lot of vague information but it’s interesting nevertheless. After a financially successful, but critically disappointing, soft reboot of the franchise with 2014’s Age of Extinction, Paramount hired a ton of talented writers to figure out the future of the franchise. That resulted in many ideas, multiple scripts, and two films. The first was 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight, which was both a critical and financial disappointment, and the other was 2018’s Bumblebee, which was a critical success but failed to live up to its financial expectations. Most experts agreed Bumblebee’s relatively underwhelming grosses were because audiences felt duped by several bad movies in a row and didn’t trust the franchise anymore.
If that’s true, what would be different now? We don’t know. But, maybe, if these scripts take the many good things that worked about Bumblebee (fewer robots, more familiar designs, a focus on relationships) and build on those things, there will be more to them than meets the eye.