In the face of every subsequent film, it feels like the Transformers franchise just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Case in point, the infamous series is now going on its fourth sequel, and yet another lead character is being introduced for the tentatively titled Transformers 5. This new addition is the youngest of the bunch though, as Nickelodeon faithful Isabela Moner is being courted for the role.
The folks at The Wrap landed the big news, with Moner's name coming on the heels of the character description for the new lead. Aptly named "Izabella," our new protagonist is described as the following:
A street-smart tomboy who grew up an orphan and was raised in foster care. She counts a small Transformer as her only friend… until she meets [Mark] Wahlberg’s heroic inventor Cade Yeager.
Now you may not have heard of Isabela Moner, but if you've got younger children, she might look or sound familiar. Moner's previous credits include voice work on Dora and Friends: Into The City, as well as live-action roles in Nickelodeon's 100 Things To Do Before High School and the short-lived J.K. Simmons sitcom Growing Up Fisher. Her most recent credit finds her playing a part in the new Legends of the Hidden Temple movie, which not only shows her deep ties to Nickelodeon, but also explains why Transformers 5 probably landed in her court. Seeing as parent company Viacom owns Nickelodeon and Paramount, Moner's casting is a clear case of developing local talent.
Though another reason this new lead for Transformers 5 is so interesting is the fact that it's so out of director Michael Bay's wheelhouse. Up until now, the franchise, and Bay's body of work, have focused on heroic male leads in the 18-35 demographic. With Shia LaBoeuf's Sam Witwicky and Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yaeger serving as the lead through the previous four films, the Transformers series has had a tradition of playing towards a strong male protagonist. But now, not only does it sound like Isabela Moner's character is the first female lead that might pull the franchise's focus front-and-center, she'll also be the youngest female Michael Bay has worked with as a protagonist.
Most importantly, the character of Izabella allows the Transformers series to target the younger girl audience that it may not have had with another male character taking the lead for Transformers 5. With a long-term plan in mind for the uber-successful franchise, diversity will be the key to maintaining the level of commitment Paramount has thrown into developing the future of Optimus Prime and his human counterparts. With Isabela Moner's involvement in the Transformers shared universe, a new voice will be counted among those that will carry the series into its even bigger future.
Transformers 5 takes the war between humanity and machine to the next level on June 23, 2017.