Transformers: The Last Knight tried to function as the springboard to a much bigger Transformers movie universe, which is already being filled with additional sequels and some big prequel spinoffs. However, The Last Knight had the lowest box office returns the franchise has seen, and was savaged by critics and fans, alike.
With Michael Bay's impending departure from the franchise, it looked like Transformers was ready to blow the franchise open in several new creative directions; however, a recent report states that Paramount's previous plans for franchise expansion are taking a step back, creatively:
Apparently, the Transformers franchise writers room has been disbanded.
No More Big Plans
According to a report from /Film, producer Akia Goldsman is not longer involved with the Transformers franchise - something he himself made clear, in no uncertain terms. Goldsman had been the head architect of Transformers writer room, which has apparently been disbanded in his absence.
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has been doing damage control on Transformers all season, stating earlier this summer that the writers room weren't the end-all authority on where the franchise franchise was headed, stating:
"We’re really waiting to see how the audience responds to this movie and what elements they really love...So I don’t think you can anticipate necessarily that we’ll do a movie in sequence."
/Film also got a chance to speak with Bonaventura recently, and the back-tracking on the writers room seemed to continue, as the producer stated:
"The writers room, which was set up by all of us, was set up to explore the mythology more. It was set up for a few different reasons but the biggest thing that happened in it was they expanded the mythology of Transformers in a way that allowed us to go to King Arthur. There’s different areas, like we’ve examined World War II, etc."
The message there is that Goldsman's writers room only existed as long as needed to come up with the ridiculous storyline of Transformers: The Last Knight (we use the term "story" loosely), and after the smaller box office returns, that idea has been abandoned. That begs the question:
The Transformers movie universe is still poised for a rapid expansion, starting with the upcoming Bumblebee prequel movie.
Right now, we know that Bumblebee will be taking place in the 1980s, and will go for the nostalgic tone of the original Transformers G1 era cartoon - including featuring Bumblebee in his iconic Volkswagen Beetle vehicle form. The Bumblebee prequel film will be directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), and stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and WWE star John Cena.
Knight and his Bumblebee movie were one good positive product of the Transformers writers room, as the 'back to basics' approach of the prequel is something fans are generally embracing. As for Transformers 6 and other planned spinoffs like a Roman Colesium period piece? Well, historical tie-ins weren't exactly fan-approved story choices; and after The Last Knight, it's clear that fans aren't all that happy with the current state of the saga.
So with Michael Bay gone - along with the people who cooked up the worst Transformers movie story in the franchise's history - there's definite room for improvement and new creative direction.