Optimus Prime in Transformers Age of Extinction

Once upon a time the Transformers movies were one of the biggest franchises on the planet with the giant robot movies routinely making $1 billion at the global box office. However, ever since Michael Bay left the franchise after 2017's Transformers: The Last Knight, it seems the franchise has been without a direction. Now, it looks like the ship has a new captain, as Paramount Pictures and Creed 2 director Steven Caple Jr. are apparently close to a deal that will see him direct the next installment.

While a final deal between Steven Caple Jr. and Paramount has yet to be signed, Deadline is reporting that the deal is close to happening and is expected to be closed soon, and that it will see the director tackle a script written by King Arthur: Legend of the Sword scribe Joby Harold. Harold's script was one of two that were in development, and it's his that has apparently been chosen as the next installment of Transformers. The movie is currently set for a summer 2022 release date.

The new movie is apparently set in the same universe as Bumblebee, the most recent Transformers film, though it's unclear if the movie is a direct sequel to that or not. Bumblebee is notable as the movie was much more warmly embraced by critics that than most of the Michael Bay franchise was, though, it did not perform nearly as well at the box office as those films did. The other project in development was a movie based on the Beast Wars part of Transformers, lore, with a script being written by James Vanderbilt, who previously wrote Zodiac as well as the currently filming Scream 5.

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Steven Caple Jr. is certainly moving up in the world. Best known for directing Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in Creed 2, the director will now take on the biggest franchise Paramount has available. Travis Knight took on directing Bumblebee after making the successful Kubo and the Two Strings at Laika and it looks like the plan for the next Transformers is to go a similar route, elevating the director of a successful smaller project into the blockbuster leagues.

The fact that the next film is apparently set in the same universe as Bumblebee would seem to indicate that the plan isn't to start fresh with Transformers but build on what came before. Bumblebee functioned as a sort of prequel to the Transformers franchise but it also rebooted some of the elements of the main franchise, so a follow up has a decent amount of freedom to go in whatever direction it wants.

There is another Transformers film in development as well. Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley is directing an animated Transformers prequel that will apparently take place entirely on the Transformers home planet of Cybertron rather than bringing the action to Earth.

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