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While no one will ever hail the Transformers franchise for having a complex story, the series has always managed to distill the action down to a simple formula: humans have become embroiled in the ancient battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. Actors and characters have been switched out over time, but every Transformers movie invariably revolves around these two factions of shape-shifting robots duking it out on Earth. Now it seems that with the coming Transformers 5 will deviate from that formula, and feature dual storylines that take the franchise in a new direction.
According to The Christian Post, at the recent Wings and Wheels convention located in the United Kingdom, actor Mark Ryan – who has lent his voice to numerous Autobots and Decepticons over the years – revealed that the upcoming fifth installment to the franchise will have two separate storylines. The first will feel familiar to longtime fans of the Transformer series, focusing on the return of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and the struggle of the humans on Earth. The second thread, however, will focus more on the Transformers themselves as well as the underlying mythology behind their history and their struggle. It seems the ultimate endgame for Paramount is to take the franchise and hand it off to the titular robots, rather than focus on the humans caught in the middle.
Paramount has clearly deduced that audiences respond much more positively to the giant CGI robots, rather than the interpersonal drama of Shia LaBeouf – and then Mark Wahlberg. Thus far, the Transformer franchise has done a remarkable job developing a backstory that provides context to the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons – now it seems that they trust us to accept that story without as much involvement from humans.
This is far from the first time that a major franchise has decided to alter their direction to better suit the tastes of the fans. For example, the Fast and the Furious franchise started off with Paul Walker as the headliner, with Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto as a decidedly secondary character. Granted, Walker’s untimely death required things to be retooled quite a bit, but over the last few years and installments, Dom had already been brought back in a capacity where the franchise could rest on his shoulders without Walker’s involvement. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise used the same tactics with Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, giving him much more screen time than – and eventually replacing – Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner. Even the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman sequel has reportedly planned to ditch Kristen Stewart’s Snow White in favor of a focus on Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman.
There’s clearly precedent for this type of move to work in Paramount’s favor. Obviously nothing is set in stone, but we will find out if audiences respond to the Transformers taking center stage when Transformers 5 hits theaters in 2017.