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It’s been almost a year and a half since the last Transformers movie, the spinoff Bumblebee, was released. That tale chronicled how the eponymous Autobot ended up on Earth in 1987, and word’s come in that the franchise plans to wind back the clock again on the big screen, this time with an animated installment.
According to Deadline, Paramount Animation and Hasbro's eOne have tapped Toy Story 4 filmmaker Josh Cooley to direct an animated Transformers prequel, while Ant-Man and the Wasp screenwriters Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari penned the script. This project will explore the origins of the Autobots and Decepticons on the planet Cybertron, specifically revolving around the relationship between Optimus Prime and Megatron.
Anyone familiar with the Transformers franchise knows that the roots in disguise are no stranger to animation, from the original 1980s television series and the theatrically-released 1986 movie that tied into that show, to the various Transformers cartoons that have aired in recent years on Cartoon Network and Discovery Family. So although Transformers started out and continues to run as a toy brand, in a way, this animated prequel is a return to its earlier media roots.
That said, it’s important to note that this new project is reportedly “separate and apart” from any of the live-action Transformers movies. So while we will surely be seeing plenty of familiar Autobot and Decepticon faces alongside Optimus Prime and Megatron, these aren’t the same versions of the characters that eventually end up on Earth and interact with folks like Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky and Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager.
The report also mentioned that tackling an animated Transformers movie is an easier creative endeavor at the moment since those involved can still get work done while remaining distanced from one another, unlike with the many live-action movies that have had to shut down production recently. As such, Paramount decided to accelerate the timetable on this particular Transformers movie, with Josh Cooley overseeing the script’s final draft.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard about an animated Transformers movie showcasing Cybertron in all its glory. Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari have been working on this project since 2015, several months after Akiva Goldsman formed a writers room to pitch ideas on expanding the Transformers universe. Half a decade later, now this project has finally taken an important step forward.
For those of you who enjoy the live-action Transformers film series, there’s no need to worry. It was reported in January that two separate Transformers scripts are in the works, one of which would be set in the Bumblebee universe, while the other would revamp the entire film series, supposedly by adapting the Beast Wars spinoff. So whether Paramount moves forward with both of these projects or just picks one, the Transformers mythology is expected to keep going in the live-action realm.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on the animated Transformers prequel and any other theatrical movies concerning the robots in disguise. In the meantime, keep track of what’s hitting the big screen later this year with our 2020 release schedule.