In the wake of the relatively underwhelming box office figures of last year’s Transformers: The Last Knight, this once monstrously successful blockbuster franchise is now at something of a creative crossroads, suggesting that the lower-budgeted, modestly scaled Bumblebee may not be the worst direction in which to take the sci-fi series.
Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura seems to think it’s time for a change, too, arguing that the upcoming spinoff explores new territory as a way of helping the series to adapt and survive.
If you don’t change up, you’re also taking a risk. It’s one of those things where there is no simple answer. You’re taking a risk no matter what you do when you make a big expensive movie, so why not change the formula completely and really hang in there?
Sure enough, even before The Last Knight proved commercially disappointing, di Bonaventura – who’s worked on every film in the franchise up to this point – says that plans for this fresh approach were already in motion.
We were headed down the Bumblebee path well before the release of the last Transformers. We had felt that with the fifth movie, we had sort of run out of room with where to take it.
Of course, if all goes well with Bumblebee, the question is raised of whether any further spinoffs will be on the cards. Naturally, Autobots leader Optimus Prime would be an obvious candidate for getting the standalone treatment, and di Bonaventura doesn’t appear to have any objections to the idea.
I’d certainly like to do that. It would be a very different kind of movie than a Bumblebee movie, but equally interesting and different.
There’s already been talk that Bumblebee could be the last Transformers release prior to a series reset, opening up a range of possibilities for a franchise that many will argue went stale long ago. The film hits cinemas on December 21st, but what’s in store for the Autobots beyond that remains a bit of a mystery.