The upcoming Bumblebee spinoff film may be the last installment of the current incarnation of the Transformers franchise.
So goes word coming out of this weekend’s New York Toy Fair industry convention.
Fan site Transformers World is reporting at the Toy Fair’s Hasbro Investor Preview, the manufacturer of the toy line that the film franchise built by director Michael Bay is based on “specifically stated that a new team at Paramount will reset the Transformers Live Action Movie Series following the release of Bumblebee: The Movie.”
They further point to the fact that Transformers 6, which would have been the film to directly follow up last summer’s Transformers: The Last Knight, has been removed from studio Paramount’s release schedule. Additionally, none of the other spinoff films that the studio was reportedly developing have seen any reported movement towards getting into production.
While the Transformers franchise never was a hit with critics, it did sell a lot of tickets at the box office. At least when it was initially launched. The entire live action franchise has grossed nearly $4.4 billion internationally. But the smallest contribution to that amount came from the most recent film. The Last Knight‘s worldwide gross of $605 million just a bit more than half of the franchise’s biggest entries – 2011’s Dark Of The Moon and 2014’s Age Of Extinction – which earned $1.1 billion each. In terms of tickets, it looks as if people are tired of director Michael Bay’s sturm und drang take on the characters.
But outside of a purely financial standpoint, Hasbro does have one other reason to reset things within the franchise. The toy maker and Paramount have stated in the past that they are looking at making their own interconnected cinematic universe featuring films based on a number of their toy lines. The studio currently has movies based on their GI Joe and Micronauts toy lines already lined up for 2020, with the GI Joe film being a do-over that ignores the previous two live action films. There is also a Dungeons & Dragons film and a “Paramount/Hasbro Event Film” set for 2021. Starting with a clean slate for Transformers would make it easier to incorporate those characters into their plans.
A reboot of the franchise does leave in question the fate of the numerous projects that were developed when the studio convened a writers room to flesh out possible future directions for the films. The Bumblebee spinoff was one such project that came out of that session and famously, Bay liked two ideas that were floated so much that he combined them into one with the The Last Knight‘s screenplay. The only other project that was rumored to have been talked about was an possible animated film that would have told the story of the civil war on the planet Cybertron that led the heroic Autobot Transformers to come to Earth followed by their nemesis the Decepticons. It is possible that some of these ideas can be retrofitted into the rebooted Transformers franchise, though time will tell.