Last week came confirmation from Paramount Pictures about plans to launch a new “Transformers” film every year starting with a fifth in June 2017, a sixth in 2019, and squeezed in between them a solo Bumblebee movie in 2018. It seemed as if they are effectively borrowing the “Star Wars” model of bi-annual episodic films with spin-offs on alternate years.
The big question is why put the focus on that character. The answer? He’s cheap. Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey tells THR:
“There are characters in the Transformers universe that can be and should be made into their own movies. We will make the first movie with Michael and go right into a Bumblebee movie, which will be at a lower cost.”
At present Michael Bay is the only director committed to an upcoming film, in this case the fifth one due out on June 23rd 2017. Grey spoke about how the Bumblebee project came out of the writer’s think tank assembled last year, along with several other viable ideas which are being developed:
“[We]brought in a pretty strong writing staff run by Akiva Goldsman, and they have put together eight or nine interesting stories. So, between that group and Steven Spielberg’s guidance on a story level, these characters are a big business for us to pursue.”
In fact the trade claims the 2019 film won’t be a direct sequel, but rather another standalone spin-off movie. What that could be about isn’t clear at this point.