As if to confirm the mechanical nature in which the Transformers series refuses to dismantle, Paramount Pictures has taken bullish steps to develop something they've been threatening for the past few months: a shared Transformers universe with new sequels and spin-offs.
Following the appointment Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend, but also Batman Forever and Batman & Robin) as the head of a proposed writers' room akin to a television production, the brain trust of director Michael Bay, executive producer Steven Spielberg and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura have settled on more high-profile writers to help flesh out their franchise.
The names include Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), a man well versed with episodic storytelling and the workings of a writers' room, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway (Iron Man), Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk, Pacific Rim 2) and Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spiderman 2, Lost).
Following the success of the Marvel Universe, Hollywood did what Hollywood does best: give audiences more of the same, with added explosions and zanier one-liners. DC set its own cinematic universe in motion at Warner Bros. under the supervision of Zack Snyder. Sony, failing to realize its lack of shared universe material inexplicably paired the 21 Jump Street and Men in Black series, and Paramount, oddly slow on the uptake, suddenly spotted the goldmine that brings in a billion dollars per movie.
Going by the talent they have assembled for the Transformers, anything short of that magical billion dollar club will be considered a failure. The writers will map out the future of the series, developing potential sequels with the new cast and possible spin-offs. Director Michael Bay could return once he's done with his Benghazi film despite promising not to on multiple occasions.
This strategy was recently attempted by James Cameron when he assigned different writing teams to develop his Avatar sequels. Pixar has achieved much success and acclaim for their own brain trust of writers and directors.
If this works out for Paramount, we can expect the new films to arrive in theatres in the next few years. As long as these movies continue making billions of dollars, no one has the right to complain about the blatant cash-grabs that they are.