Back when the Transformers franchise was still churning out sequels, a whole writers room was put together to figure out the future of the toy-based film series. And outside of the established timeline of live-action movies, we’ve been hearing about an animated Transformers prequel focusing on Cybertron and the origins of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons for some time now. First officially announced back in the fall of 2015, the project is finally moving forward with Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley.
Deadline has the latest news on the animated Transformers prequel, which will be entirely separate from the live-action film franchise, including the Bumblebee spin-off that embraced the Generation 1 designs from the original toy line and animated movie and featured an explosive opening sequence on Cybertron. The script hails from Ant-Man and the Wasp writers Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari while Hasbro and their recently acquired eOne production banner are producing along with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian.
Josh Cooley is an interesting hire for the animated Transformers prequel, especially since he’s coming off winning an Oscar for Best Animated Film for his work on Pixar’s sequel Toy Story 4. The movie wasn’t the best in the franchise, but since it had an uphill battle to show fans that it was worth watching after the emotional conclusion of Toy Story 3, he did a solid job making a story that pulled at your heartstrings once again and introduced some new memorable characters while revamping some old ones. But it’s quite a jump to go from that kind of movie to action-packed animation with Transformers.
When it comes to the Transformers franchise, this is the best route to keep it alive. It’s a reboot in a different medium, which feels necessary when you look back at how convoluted the entire live-action timeline has become. Even though Bumblebee was a huge upgrade from the later Transformers sequels and took us back to what made the original Transformers movie better than the rest, the box office has been declining for awhile now, and fans are ready for something different.
Also helping the development of the animated Transformers prequel is the fact that production can easily make progress because it doesn’t require a cast and crew to gather on a set, whether it’s on-location or the studio lot. Animated productions can easily work under social distancing guidelines through teleconferencing meetings, and the actual production side of things is done entirely on a computer. Even the voice recording can easily be done at home, as voice actors have been recording dialogue for animated productions remotely for a long time now, even without a pandemic.
Since this animated Transformers prequel has been in the works for years, hopefully that means it’s polished and in the best shape possible to give longtime fans something that makes them feel like a kid again. As for the kids of this current generation, they always seem to be into robots that transform into cars, trucks, jets and other assorted vehicles, so Paramount Pictures should have no problem getting them into theaters when the time comes.
Don’t forget, there also another Transformers movie in the works that takes place in the previously established live-action universe. There were said to be two in development back in January this year, but it would appear that one of them could be this animated prequel since it was described as a “grand-scale reimagining.” Hopefully we’ll hear more about these Transformers movies as Hollywood slowly starts to get back to work in the coming summer months.
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