Some days you're a step ahead, some days you're a step behind. I've been chasing this Akiva Goldsman/”Transformers” story for a few weeks, but couldn't second-source it. Now Deadline's reporting that the story is in fact happening.
One of the reasons I was extra-careful was because it is the sort of story that sounds like someone making a joke about the way the industry works right now. “Akiva Goldsman has been hired to supervise the development of three back-to-back 'Transformers' sequels for Michael Bay” is what I heard first, and my response was, “Shut up and stop making horrible jokes.”
The thing is, this is the near-future of how they'll be handling these giant franchise films. You want to know the real truth of why the Russos are rapidly becoming Marvel's favorite filmmakers? Because they are trained to work in the TV model already, which is what blockbuster filmmaking is becoming.
That's the thing that I find most interesting as we watch this process continue to mutate. James Cameron's process on the “Avatar” sequels was positively inspired, not only because he realized he needed to have three separate writers working on three separate scripts, but because he made sure to reach out to include Josh Friedman, whose work on “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” was an interesting interpretation of mythology established by Cameron.
It doesn't surprise me at all to hear that Disney may be considering live-action TV options for “Star Wars” in addition to the feature films. Why not? They've got all of the machinery in place already. There's a brain trust already making decisions to will be felt across a wide array of media, and it's going to be much easier to simply tell another part of that story on television once they have a sense of the entire giant story that they're telling. If there is another “Star Trek” series, I'm going to guess that they will have to work in sync with the feature division to make sure that everyone's on the same page.
I've seen several jokes about the completely unnecessary nature of a writer's room for a “Transformers” film, but I'm curious to see what happens now. I've never gotten any sense that they've had a consistent story they've been telling from film to film, and the way they ended the last film was the first time it's ever looked like they were setting up actual story points for the future, which of course means it's time to reboot and make sure they don't follow up any of those ideas in any way.
I think it's great that they've got Akiva Goldsman and Michael Bay both attached to this same series. Think about it. It's “Transformers.” It's not like someone just handed them Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series or “Stranger In A Strange Land” or something that actually matters. This is effectively a quarantine, which should have everyone else in the blockbuster business breathing a sigh of relief. I enjoy these films as surrealistic mayhem, but it's not like Goldsman is going to drag things down at all. The worst case scenario, they move sideways in quality. Who knows… if they put the right writer's room together, they may actually start telling fun stories.
This sort of news is going to start to be the norm rather than unusual. “Star Wars,” Marvel, the GhostCorps news, this, “Avatar”… it's all heading in this direction.
There's no word yet on when they may wrestle the new “Transformers” up onscreen, but Michael Bay is getting ready to start “13 Hours,” the real-life military thriller.