Paramount and Hasbro have been working to retool the Transformers franchise, and according to Deadline, they’ve found the director to kick it off: Steven Caple Jr., who most recently directed Creed II.
Caple isn’t fully signed on yet, but Deadline notes that negotiations are about to begin and that they should come to a deal quickly. It’s the latest development in a long-running effort on the part of the film studio and toymaker to reboot the series for a new cinematic franchise.
While the concept originated in the 1980s with Hasbro and Takara Tomy’s toy line and associated animated shows and movie, the live-action films kicked off in 2007 with Michael Bay’s Transformers.
That film was a huge hit, and led to a number of other sequels, all directed by Bay: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), and Transformers: The Last Knight (2017). A spinoff film, Bumblebee (pictured above), directed by Travis Knight, hit theaters in 2018.
In 2015, Paramount and Hasbro began to rethink their approach to the franchise, inspired by other studios’ efforts to build interconnected universes. They brought on screenwriter Akiva Goldsman to head up a writer’s room that was designed to generate new ideas for future films. When The Last Knight underwhelmed audiences and the box office, the studio pulled back a bit on its plans for a direct sequel.
Earlier this year the two companies began actively developing two films for the franchise from screenwriters Joby Harold (Army of the Dead) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac)—reportedly a Bumblebee tie-in and a Beast Wars spinoff, respectively—and in May, Paramount announced that one of them would be released in May 2022. It’s not the only project in the works: An animated prequel film set on Cybertron is currently in development, and will be directed by Josh Cooley (Toy Story 4). However, this film is apparently “separate and apart” from the live-action franchise.
According to Deadline, Harold’s film was chosen as the next release this summer, after which the studio began searching for a director, and found Caple. If the schedule holds, the film is set to hit theaters in 2022, although it seems likely that the project could be delayed given the state of the film industry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.