The Transformers franchise never needs to lower its head in shame when it comes to its drawing power at the box office, having collectively made Paramount billions over four entries. Yet, it’s a different story when it comes to deep narratives that stand the test of time. Thus, the studio has corralled a number of prominent writers from the worlds of film and television with designs to ensure that this insanely profitable IP continues its world-wrecking ways at the ticket counters.
One of the television creative all-stars tapped by Paramount to participate in the Transformers Writers Room is Steven S. DeKnight, a writer and executive producer for Marvel’s acclaimed Daredevil series. Having already participated in this amazing Autobot collaboration in which the future of the cinematic robots in disguise was mapped out, DeKnight emerged from the experience with nothing but praise for Paramount’s creative ambitions. At the Television Critics Association presser, as reported by Collider, DeKnight comments:
You know, it’s that wonderful thing where features are now taking a page from television and getting people together to plan things out, and it was a wonderful experience. … It was phenomenal. We laughed, and joked, and told stories and plotted out — I can’t say what we plotted out, but it was all very exciting. In the next few months we’ll see what moves forward and what doesn’t move forward. It was a fantastic experience."
The franchise’s last entry in 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction managed to prove that the film series still had plenty of spark left with its $1.1 billion global take; $320 million of which came from the burgeoning movie market in China, where it became the highest grossing film ever in that country. Yet, it was clear to Paramount that in order to continue churning out the world-crushing carnage in a continually lucrative form across multiple movies, a compellingly dramatic endoskeleton of a storyline needed to be crafted by people who actually know how to patiently tell a great story. In that regard, the studio spared no expense by tapping an eclectic array of talent; notably some masters of long-term, slow-burn fiction in the world of television.
Culling a variety of talents from television and film with some up-and-coming unknowns, the mandate of the Writers Room’s meetings was to create compelling drama while likely navigating the franchise’s necessary components. Headed by producer, Akiva Goldsmith, the group was put together with names like Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Zak Penn (The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk), Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (X-Men, Iron Man), Jeff Pinker (Lost), Gabriel Ferrari and Andrew Barrer (Ant-Man), Lindsey Beer (Short Circuit reboot), Christina Hodson (Shut In), Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Hibernation, an unproduced Black List script), and of course, the aforementioned DeKnight, himself. Apparently, even Steven Spielberg dropped in one day to be a fly on the wall amongst the excitement.
While the Transformers films were monolithic moneymakers, intricate storylines and compelling pathos are attributes that we can safely say they do not possess. Consequently, the Writers Room clearly had their work cut out for them. While DeKnight was obviously unable to divulge what ultimately manifested from these massive meetings, he seems generally satisfied by the experience. That idea might be met incredulously from moviegoers who are generally weary from Michael Bay’s "giant robots wrecking the world" genre, but it’s possible that this colossal collaboration served as a serious turning point to be witnessed when Transformers 5 finally takes shape.