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This past weekend's Bumblebee marks the first spinoff film in Paramount's wildly successful Transformers franchise, but one imagines if it is successful enough, it won't be the last. The most obvious Transformer to get his own spinoff after Bumblebee is Optimus Prime. But obvious doesn't mean easy, and Bumblebee producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura believes that a spinoff about the Autobot leader would provide a unique set of challenges. As he explained:
It will be hard with Optimus, he is always right, very stoic and is a man of few words ... It is kind of like saying, 'Lets do a movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi?' But how much is there to say about Obi-Wan? It is not so easy.
And countless Star Wars fans cried out in unison, "Oh, I don't think so." While some may not agree with his analogy, believing that Obi-Wan Kenobi is a character with plenty of story to tell and is deserving of his own spinoff film, Lorenzo di Bonaventura still makes an interesting point about the hurdles of making an Optimus Prime movie.
As he told Metro, Optimus Prime is something of a stoic character who is unassailably good and isn't what you would call loquacious. So that could be construed as boring or difficult, because how do you keep a story interesting and an audience engaged when the protagonist isn't flawed and doesn't have a particularly dynamic personality. To do so might require altering who Optimus Prime is, and that is obviously something that should be avoided.
It's definitely a challenge, and there is also the issue that Optimus Prime has arguably already been the protagonist for five Transformers films. So the spinoff would need to justify its own existence as well as telling us a story about Optimus Prime that feels necessary and interesting.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura's remarks do show that he understands that Optimus is not Bumblebee and he can't just churn out a series of cookie-cutter spinoffs without regard to the individuality of the characters leading them. And yet, while Optimus might provide some challenges, it is still doable.
The key is to find the right story. To go back to his analogy, many would argue that the Star Wars prequels showed that Obi-Wan Kenobi has a great deal of complexity to him, and there is enough personality there and story to fill in to provide plenty of opportunity for a spinoff film.
The same could be true for Optimus, and if the same amount of care is given to such a film, as was with Bumblebee, it could change what we know about Optimus Prime while continuing to change our perceptions of what a Transformers film can be.
While Lorenzo di Bonaventura and team are trying to crack an Optimus Prime movie, that isn't the only Tranformers title we can hopefully look forward to in the future. Lorenzo di Bonaventura also mentioned the animated movie that will tell the mythology of the Transformers on Cybertron. We first heard about that years ago, but it sounds like it is still in the works.