For all of the hushed excitement swirling around Paramount’s mission to realign its lucrative Transformers universe – the studio has mapped out franchise plans for the next decade after assembling a starry writing room – fans and moviegoers alike have long called for the series to ditch the human element and instead focus on the titular robots in disguise, exploring more of Cybertron and the dynamic between the alien creations.
Indeed, it was one of the more vocal complaints levelled at Age of Extinction, with the familial relationship of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) materializing as a fluffy and overly forgettable strand in the film itself. Going forward, though, that human element will remain a permanent fixture of the budding Transformers universe, and writer Akiva Goldsman – who is a core member of the aforementioned writing room – recently touched base on the status of the series in an interview with IGN.
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Crafting a broad canvas for the Transformers universe, Paramount’s prestigious guild includes the likes of Robert Kirkman, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, Zak Penn, Jeff Pinkner, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, Christina Hodson, and Lindsay Beer, along with Blacklist scribes Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Ken Nolan. For Goldsman, having such a diverse think tank for the franchise is essential if it is to truly offer something unique with each new installment.
Our hope is that they are all interconnected and of course standalone, right? I think architecturally, the best — I think I believe this — the best serialized storytelling has integrity from start to finish of the episode, whether it be TV or a movie or comic book or novel series or short story series. You want to be able to satisfy both appetites — which I think is very different from procedural or episodic. You want to feed the instinct for the short-term gratification and the longterm gratification. So we’re trying to do both.
In terms of that human-bot dynamic, though, aside from the core relationship between Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky and Bumblebee in Michael Bay’s first Transformers film, almost all of the interactions between human and bots have been largely contrived, hollow and lacking any form of substance. So, surely Paramount is entertaining the idea of dropping this element moving forward? According to Goldsman, that won’t be happening anytime soon.
Do I think Transformers can live without humans? Sure. Do I think humans can live without Transformers? Sure. In Transformers movies? Sure! But, fundamentally, there seems to be something really great about the interaction between the two species. I think that, in the main, I would suggest that that would be something you wouldn’t want to squander. Although that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t do all sorts of things for a little while.
Transformers 5, meanwhile, has been tentatively slated for release in 2017.