It seems like everyone is wanting to jump on the connected universe bandwagon in the wake of Marvel’s runaway success, and now Paramount plans to mold the playbook onto a property that’s already a proven hit. What could go wrong?
Deadline reports that Paramount has tapped Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Fringe) to team up with the Transformers' longtime director Michael Bay to develop the brand into a massive universe filled with spinoffs. Executive producer Steven Spielberg and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura will also be part of the brain trust. The move is said to be along the same lines of what Warner Bros. is doing with its DC Comics properties and what Disney is doing with Star Wars (and, of course, Marvel).
The next step is apparently to create a writers’ room to "incubate ideas" for some additional Transformers sequels, along with some new spinoff films to fill the release void between tentpoles (see: Star Wars). Goldsman is apparently taking on a key role in the creative process and will be mapping out a lot of the big-picture stuff. It sounds like it also falls to him to ensure Michael Bay has a new Transformers script commissioned and ready to roll once he’s finished directing 13 Hours.
Obviously, the Transformers franchise has proven to be a box-office juggernaut, so it's not a surprise the studio would want to double (and triple, apparently) down on what they know should sell. Bad reviews or not, Transformers is a bankable tentpole sci-fi franchise that is only gaining steam after the semi-reboot that introduced Mark Wahlberg into the fold with last year’s Age of Extinction.
But the big question — can this franchise actually support this many films? Creatively, that’s a tough question to answer, because the first four films weren’t that well-known for their storytelling. One of the things that kind of made the franchise so buzzy was the fact that we only got a new one about every three or so years. If they crank them out back to back, will it lose some of its luster? Only time will tell, but it looks like we’ll find out soon.
What do you think? Can Transformers support a massive, connected universe?