Paramounts' TRANSFORMERS Writers Room; Bumblebee Spin-Off?

Paramount is assembling a writer’s room to cobble together more Transformers sequels and spin-offs, with the first one meant to be ready by the time Michael Bay finishes his Benghazi movie. Amid rumors of a Cybertron/origin movie, there’s now talk of a Bumblebee spin-off movie, with the info coming directly from the CEO of Hasbro.
TFW2005 points out that, at the Global Consumer Conference 2015, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said,

Many of you know Bumblebee; the yellow Camaro… formally known as a yellow VW Bug and he is a beloved character by kids all over the world. We could see stories told around Bumblebee and other characters. We are in a process of building the brand equity around the Comic Book Business, our TV Business, our Digital Gaming Business and adding to that our new movie business of Transformers.

That isn’t “a Bumblebee spin-off movie is coming,” but it does suggest that the general awareness for that character could help him to a starring position in one of the spin-off efforts.

Goldner continued,

Last year was Transformers 4. It was quite a good success for us last year. We’ve begun to work with writers and we are now developing the Transformers [Cinematic] Universe beyond the first four movies.
As of now, Akiva Goldsman is running the Transformers writer’s room, which features a whole bunch of people; Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari, who spent half a year doing the production rewriting on Marvel’s Ant-Man, “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman, “Iron Man 3″ writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, “Pacific Rim 2″ scribe Zak Penn, “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ writer Jeff Pinkner, Lindsey Beer (Dig), Christina Hodson (Shut In), Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down) and newbie Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Hibernation) will join the writing team for the new expanded universe.
Goldsman said the intention was to replicate the great writers rooms used in hatching TV shows. “There is such reciprocity between TV and movies now, that we’re borrowing this from TV,” Goldsman said. “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?”

When they start Monday, Goldsman and the writers will immerse themselves in everything that has been crafted by Hasbro to create what Goldsman said is a deep mythology. “We’ve got a work space that is beautifully production designed to be immersive with a strong sense of the franchise history,” he said. “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.”

Since 2014’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction turned in the franchise’s second-highest global gross with $1.1 billion, the first priority will be to figure out the next sequel and have something scripted and ready by the time Bay completes 13 Hours, the Benghazi siege drama that he’s directing for Paramount. All of the writers will come away with this exercise with a movie treatment to write, including Goldsman. Those writers will then have first crack at writing the scripts for treatment that meet the approval of Paramount, Bay, Spielberg, Hasbro and the producers.

“If one of the writers discovers an affinity for Beast Wars, they can drive forward on treatments that will have been fleshed out by the whole room,” Goldsman said.

Since he’s got an Oscar on his shelf and numerous projects that include the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower that’s regained steam as Nikolaj Arcel is being signed to direct by Sony and MRC, Deadline asked Goldsman why he sparked to running the writers room, and scripting one of the Transformers sequels, spinoffs and prequels.

“It just felt like such fertile ground and a rich environment for storytelling, and there has already been thoughtful work done long before any of us came into the room,” Goldsman said. “We will be innovative miners, and we will have fun and get to do what we imagined this was all about when we were kids.”

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