The ranks of Paramount’s packed writer’s room, devoted to expanding the Transformers franchise into a cinematic universe, have swelled again with the addition of two more talented scribes: Ken Nolan and Geneva Robertson-Dworet.
Nolan is the screenwriter of war drama Black Hawk Down and historical miniseries The Company, who just sold a spec script adapting Robert Littel’s novel Defection to Fox. Meanwhile, Robertson-Dworet is the Black List co-scribe behind sci-fi thriller Hibernation. And though she doesn’t have many filmed scripts yet, Robertson-Dworet has multiple projects set up around town, including a space-thriller to be directed by Roland Emmerich’s long-time director of photography Anna Foerster.
The two mark the most recent and potentially final additions to the Akiva Goldsman-overseen brain trust Paramount is setting up in order to plot future Transformers prequels, sequels and spinoffs. Other members include Christina Hodson (the upcoming Fugitive remake), Lindsey Beer (an upcoming Wizard of Oz reimagining), Ant-Man scribes Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Iron Man team Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, Pacific Rim 2‘s Zak Penn and Amazing Spider-Man 2 writer Jeff Pinkner.
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Now that the members have been set, what will daily life look like for this writer’s room? Goldsman recently told Deadline that he sees it operating like a TV story room, with various scribes riffing on one another’s ideas in order to craft solid concepts that could work as entries in the Transformers cinematic universe:
“There is such reciprocity between TV and movies now, that we’re borrowing this from TV. I got a taste of this from JJ Abrams when I came in to write an episode of Fringe, and then Jeff Pinkner let me hang around for four years like the drunk uncle. The whole process of the story room was really delightful, and we are seeing it more in movies as this moves toward serialized storytelling. There are good rooms around town, including the Monsters Room at Universal, the Star Wars room, and of course, at Marvel. 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?”
First up, next Monday, Goldsman and the writers will find themselves surrounded by pieces of the Transformers mythology gathered together by Paramount in order to fully immerse the writer’s room in the feel of the Hasbro property:
“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 goal is to have at least one movie scripted and ready to go by the time series director Michael Bay comes off Benghazi drama 13 Hours, though that the helmer has also lined up sci-fi pic Time Salvager suggests the brain trust might get a little more time than previously planned. Regardless, each set of scribes (working alone or with other members, depending on who gels) will come away from the immersion exercise with a movie to write. Once ideas have been set, writers will be able to get advice from the others and incorporate that into their scripts.
Already-suggested Transformers ideas include a Cybertron-set prequel and a Bumblebee spinoff, but when speaking to Deadline, Goldsman also mentioned Beast Wars as something that’s being explored. We’ll certainly hear more about what the Transformers brain trust is plotting as they get to work.