Paramount isn’t messing around with plans to evolve its mega-grossing Transformers franchise into an expansive cinematic universe. Today brings news that I, Robot scribe Akiva Goldsman, previously tasked by Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg and Lorenzo di Bonaventura with assembling a writer’s room to pitch ideas for Transformers spinoffs and a multi-part sequel, has finalized his brain trust – and it’s a pretty stunning lineup.
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, Pacific Rim 2 and The Incredible Hulk‘s Zak Penn, and Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) have all been recruited as four separate, creative teams that will work to transform Transformers from one franchise into a rich, diverse universe of films. Goldsman, who has known Bay since their college days, worked tirelessly to bring all these sci-fi heavy hitters into the fold, and though the ink isn’t yet dry on their deals, this is pretty much set in stone.
Transformers: Age of Extinction grossed over one billion at the global box office, becoming the highest-grossing film of last year, the second highest-grossing Transformers movie and the tenth highest-grossing of all time (not adjusted for inflation), so Paramount is understandably bullish about opening up the series’ universe for even more robot mayhem beyond simple sequels. The team that’s being put together includes some real workhorses, especially Penn and Pinkner, who have worked tirelessly to cement their reputations as coveted blockbuster scribes. Marcum and Holloway are already in Marvel’s good graces, and they’ll get another shot of credibility when the long-awaited Highlander reboot finally sees the light of the day.
Really, the strange choice here is Kirkman, who has been busy with his Walking Dead empire (which has expanded to include a spinoff) for the past few years and doesn’t seem like the type of creative mind Paramount would actively seek out. His darker sensibilities make me think that he’s being recruited for a thematically divergent spinoff from the main Transformers series (perhaps involving the massive death toll of the Transformers’ battles, or the destruction of Cybertron?).
Regardless, Goldsman has assembled a crackerjack team for Paramount and it will be deeply interesting to see where Transformers goes from here.