The franchise game is all the rage in Hollywood, with every powerhouse studio taking part, spawning scores of sequels for any remotely profitable movie. And the Transformers Franchise is no different: the latest installment, Transformers 5, is ready to smash into cinemas in 2017.
But that's not all we should expect to see from Transformers. With a new writers' room approach, Paramount are hoping to generate ideas for multiple sequels, as well as TV shows, toys, and merchandising opportunities galore. So what will the future of the Transformers universe look like? And how are Paramount planning to enact their plans for (movie)world domination?
The Writers' Room: Hollywood's New Craze
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a writers' room is typically the creative space for TV shows, where staff writers and showrunners bounce ideas around for scripts and story arcs. It's specifically designed for long term storytelling, so it's no surprise that the biggest studios in the franchise game have started employing multiple writers for their sequels' plots.
Universal Studios started the internet buzzing with the news that they've created a brain trust of writers for their bizarre Monster Movie Universe.
After Dracula Untold, Universal revealed their own plans for a shared universe built on the Marvel Cinematic Universe model. Their plan is to introduce a collection of monsters in independent movies, then bring them together for a team-up... somehow. Producer Alissa Phillips was the one to break the news.
“[‘Dracula Untold’ is] part of the monster launch, the revamp, yeah. I was really excited to be a part of that. When we started out, we weren’t, but then we found out that they were gonna do it. Working with Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who are very much a part of creating ‘The Mummy’ [reboot] and the other ones, it’s been fun to be a part of that.”
It's unsure just how this will work: superheroes lend themselves very well to the cinematic universe structure, as this model is very similar to how the teams shift in comic books. But Universal are hoping to create a shared universe for their monster movies, where characters can jump from film to film.
This has been met mostly with responses of "?!" from fans and journalists alike, but there's certainly a market for franchises nowadays. And the writers room seems to be a way to facilitate that: Universals' idea is that the scribes of the individual films will come together and advise on the solo movies, so that a combined storyline can be created.
And Universal aren't the only ones to employ a writers' room to fuel their franchises: Star Wars have their own brain trust to churn out the anthology films started by Star Wars: Rogue One. Naturally, Paramount want to get in on the game and hence was born the Transformers writers room, as writer Akiva Goldsman explained.
"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?"
Dawn Of A New Era
So what's the plan? World domination, if Goldsman's words are anything to go by. The writers' room includes illustrious scribes from a plethora of genres: Daredevil Jeph Loeb, Lost's Jeff Pinker, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari fresh from Ant-Man fame, Black Hawk Down's Ken Nolan, and Geneva Robertson-Dwore among others. And they're hard at work to create an expansive mythology that will feed movie and TV plots for years to come. Not to mention toys, of course (one cannot forget the Transformers' crucial origins).
"We’ve got a work space that is beautifully production designed to be immersive with a strong sense of the franchise history. We will look at the toys, the TV shows, the merchandise, everything that has been generated by Hasbro, from popular to forgotten iterations, and establish a mythological time line. It has been designed with a lot of visual help, toys, robots, sketches and writers and artists. After that super saturation, the writers will figure out not one, but numerous films that will extend the universe."
The idea of there being 12 sequels is credited to Collider, who theorised that with each scribe penning a script, this will be the ultimate achievement of the illustrious writers' room. And with Michael Bay overseeing all, how could this possibly go wrong?
Ideas that have been tossed around so far include totally new robots, Optimus Prime's travels in space, and the Beast Wars plotline. So stay tuned for more news: the writers' room are sure to come up with many exciting plans for the Transformers franchise!
But what do you think of Hollywood's latest cinematic universe trend? Is this the best thing for fans, or does it mean that original ideas will never make it to the big screen? Let us know in the comments, or write your own post!