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Transformers is on the verge of a major shift. The era of Michael Bay-directed movies in the franchise ended with Transformers: Age of Extinction, but a new era has begun, and it’s being ushered in by a large brain trust of both experienced and up-and-coming writers. It’s a gamble on behalf of Paramount Pictures, as they strive to build a cinematic universe akin to what Marvel Studios and multiple other studios doing, but if they get it to work, it could mean amazing things for the future of the series.
Though the work is only just beginning, Deadline recently had the chance to sit down with Akiva Goldsman – who is serving as the head of the aforementioned writer’s group – and the Oscar winning screenwriter explained the methodology behind the special approach. Noting the reciprocal relationship between movies and television these days, Goldsman freely admitted that this new approach towards Transformers is a concept stolen from the TV world, and is hoped that getting a bunch of creative minds in one room together will open the door to truly great ideas. Said the filmmaker,
The whole process of the story room was really delightful, and we are seeing it more in movies as this moves toward serialized storytelling… 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?
Starting next week, the writers will begin a process of completely immersing themselves in the world of Transformers - doing everything from watching the old cartoons to playing with the toys, and the idea is to create what’s described as a "mythological time line" – presumably to discover what the true attraction of Transformers is and how to best approach the material. After that point, they will begin to explore not just one project that will continue the world-building work from the four Michael Bay movies, but multiple projects that will allow them to explore the full scope of the gigantic franchise. Yes – that includes Beast Wars, which is actually specifically name dropped by Akiva Goldsman in the interview.
This truly is the best time to apply a new approach. While all four Michael Bay Transformers films wound up being classified as blockbuster hits, the truth is that Transformers: Age of Extinction actually underwhelmed domestically in comparison to its predecessors. This, plus the fact that the movies have never really gotten any support from the critic community, means that the trajectory of the series really isn’t what it should be – necessitating the shakeup. Obviously the quality of future films in the franchise will depend both on the ideas that are being developed out of the writer’s room, and how much the studio is actually willing to listen to outside-the-box ideas, but it’s good to know that an effort is being made to try and create a creative environment where filmmakers can try and shine.
So who makes up this brain trust? It’s an expansive list of both solitary writers as well as duos, and the differences in their individual background suggests interesting things about what Paramount could be looking for from each of them. The full line-up is as follows:
Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind)
Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead)
Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (Iron Man)
Zak Penn (Pacific Rim 2)
Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Christina Hodson (Black List script The Eden Project)
Lindsey Beer (the upcoming Short Circuit reboot)
Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari (Ant-Man)
Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down)
Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Black List script Hibernation)
Are you excited about this new approach for Transformers? Do you think it will help put the franchise back on an upswing? Hit the comments with your thoughts.