Transformers (film series)

Transformers is a series of science fiction action films based on the Transformers franchise.[note 1] Michael Bay directed the first five live action films: Transformers (2007), Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Dark of the Moon (2011), Age of Extinction (2014), and The Last Knight (2017),[1][2][3] and has served as a producer for subsequent films. A sixth film Bumblebee, directed by Travis Knight, was released in 2018, while a seventh film, Rise of the Beasts, directed by Steven Caple Jr. was released in 2023.

Transformers
Logo used for the first three and seventh films in the series
Directed by
Based onTransformers
by Hasbro[note 1]
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
2007–present
Running time
1002 minutes (7 films)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$1.274–1.42 billion
Box office$5.286 billion

The series has been distributed by Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks Pictures worked on the first two films. The mainline live action Transformers film series has received negative to mixed reception, with the exception of the live action spin-off Bumblebee, which received positive reviews. It is the 13th-highest-grossing film series, with a total of $5.28 billion; the series films have generally been successful at the box office, with Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction grossing over $1 billion each. A crossover film with G.I. Joe is in development.

Films

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Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producers Status
Transformers July 3, 2007 (2007-07-03) Michael Bay Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman John Rogers, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman Ian Bryce, Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto and Lorenzo di Bonaventura Released
Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen
June 24, 2009 (2009-06-24) Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Transformers:
Dark of the Moon
June 29, 2011 (2011-06-29) Ehren Kruger
Transformers:
Age of Extinction
June 27, 2014 (2014-06-27)
Transformers:
The Last Knight
June 21, 2017 (2017-06-21) Ken Nolan, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway Ken Nolan, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway & Akiva Goldsman
Bumblebee December 21, 2018 (2018-12-21) Travis Knight Christina Hodson Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Michael Bay,
Mark Vahradian and Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Transformers:
Rise of the Beasts
June 9, 2023 (2023-06-09) Steven Caple Jr. Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber & Jon Hoeber Joby Harold Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian, Duncan Henderson and Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Transformers One September 20, 2024 (2024-09-20) Josh Cooley Gabriel Ferrari, Andrew Barrer Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Mark Vahradian, Michael Bay, Aaron Dem and Lorenzo di Bonaventura Post-production
Transformers/G.I. Joe TBA TBA Derek Connolly Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian, Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy In development

Development

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Transformers (2007)

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For the film, producer Don Murphy was planning a G.I. Joe film adaptation, but when the U.S. launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Hasbro suggested adapting the Transformers franchise instead.[4] Tom DeSanto joined Murphy because he was a fan of the series.[5] They met with comic book writer Simon Furman, and cited the Generation 1 cartoon and comics as their main influence.[4] They made the Creation Matrix their plot device, though Murphy had it renamed because of the film series The Matrix.[6] DeSanto chose to write the treatment from a human point of view to engage the audience,[7] while Murphy wanted it to have a realistic tone, reminiscent of a disaster film.[6] The treatment featured the Autobots Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Jazz, Prowl, Arcee, Ratchet, Wheeljack, and Bumblebee, and the Decepticons Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Ravage, Laserbeak, Rumble, Skywarp and Shockwave.[8]

Steven Spielberg, a fan of the comics and toys,[5] signed on as executive producer in 2004. John Rogers wrote the first draft, which pitted four Autobots against four Decepticons,[9] and featured the Ark spaceship.[10] Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, fans of the cartoon,[11] were hired to rewrite the script in February 2005.[12] Spielberg suggested that "a boy and his car" should be the focus.[13] This appealed to Orci and Kurtzman because it conveyed themes of adulthood and responsibility, "the things that a car represents in the United States".[14] The characters of Sam and Mikaela were the sole point of view given in Orci and Kurtzman's first draft.[15] The Transformers had no dialogue, as the producers feared talking robots would look ridiculous. The writers felt that even if it would look silly, not having the robots speak would betray the fanbase.[11] The first draft also had a battle scene in the Grand Canyon.[16] Spielberg read each of Orci and Kurtzman's drafts and gave notes for improvement.[13] The writers remained involved throughout production, adding additional dialogue for the robots during the sound mixing (although none of this was kept in the final film, which ran fifteen minutes shorter than the initial edit).[17] Furman's The Ultimate Guide, published by Dorling Kindersley, remained as a resource to the writers throughout production.[17] Prime Directive was used as a fake working title. This was also the name of Dreamwave Productions' first Transformers comic book.[18]

Michael Bay was asked to direct by Spielberg on July 30, 2005,[19] but he dismissed the film as a "stupid toy movie".[20] Nonetheless, he wanted to work with Spielberg, and gained a new respect for the mythology upon visiting Hasbro.[19] Bay considered the first draft "too kiddie", so he increased the military's role in the story.[19][21] The writers sought inspiration from G.I. Joe for the soldier characters, being careful not to mix the brands.[22] Because Orci and Kurtzman were concerned the film could feel like a military recruitment commercial, they chose to make the military believe nations like Iran were behind the Decepticon attack as well as making the Decepticons primarily military vehicles.[23] Bay based Lennox's struggle to get to the Pentagon phone line while struggling with an unhelpful operator from a real account he was given by a soldier when working on another film.[19]

Orci and Kurtzman experimented with numerous robots from the franchise, ultimately selecting the characters most popular among the filmmakers to form the final cast.[5] Bay acknowledged that most of the Decepticons were selected before their names or roles were developed, as Hasbro had to start designing the toys.[24] Some of their names were changed because Bay was upset that they had been leaked.[25] Optimus, Megatron, Bumblebee and Starscream were the only characters present in each version of the script.[11] Arcee was a female Transformer introduced by Orci and Kurtzman, but she was cut because they found it difficult to explain robotic gender; Bay also disliked her motorcycle form, which he found too small.[22] An early idea to have the Decepticons simultaneously strike multiple places around the world was also dropped, being used later in the film's sequels.[15]

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

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In September 2007, Paramount announced a late June 2009 release date for the sequel to Transformers.[26] A major hurdle that was overcome during the film's production was the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, as well as possible strikes by the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. Bay began creating animatics of action sequences featuring characters rejected for the 2007 film; this would allow animators to complete sequences if the Directors Guild of America went on strike in July 2008, which ultimately did not happen.[27][28] The director considered making a small project in between Transformers and its sequel, but knew "you have your baby and you don't want someone else to take it".[24] The film was given a $200 million budget, which was $50 million more than the 2007 film,[29] and some of the action scenes rejected for the original were written into the sequel, such as the way Optimus is reintroduced in this film.[30] Lorenzo di Bonaventura said the studio proposed filming two sequels simultaneously, but he and Bay concurred that was not the right direction for the series.[31]

Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman originally passed on the sequel because of a busy schedule. The studio began courting other writers in May 2007, but as they were unimpressed with their pitches, they convinced Orci and Kurtzman to return.[27] The studio also signed on Ehren Kruger, as he impressed Bay and Hasbro president Brian Goldner with his knowledge of the Transformers mythology,[32] and because he was friends with Orci and Kurtzman.[33] The writing trio were paid $8 million.[27] Screenwriting was interrupted by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, but to avoid production delays the writers spent two weeks writing a treatment, which they handed in the night before the strike began,[33] and Bay expanded the outline into a sixty-page scriptment,[34] fleshing out the action, adding more jokes,[33] as well as selecting the majority of new characters.[35] The three writers spent four months finishing the screenplay while "locked" in two hotel rooms by Bay: Kruger wrote in his own room and the trio would check on each other's work twice a day.[36]

Orci described the film's theme as "being away from home", with the Autobots contemplating living on Earth as they cannot restore Cybertron, while Sam goes to college.[37] He wanted the focus between the robots and humans "much more evenly balanced",[38] "the stakes [to] be higher", and the science fiction elements more prominent.[39] Lorenzo di Bonaventura said that in total, there are around forty robots in the film,[29] while ILM's Scott Farrar has said there are actually sixty.[40] Orci added that he wanted to "modulate" the humor more,[41] and felt he managed the more "outrageous" jokes by balancing them with a more serious plot approach to the Transformers' mythology.[42] Bay concurred that he wanted to please fans by making the tone darker,[43] and that "moms will think its safe enough to bring the kids back out to the movies" despite his trademark sense of humor.[44][better source needed]

Before Transformers was released, producer DeSanto had "a very cool idea" to introduce the Dinobots,[45] while Bay was interested in an aircraft carrier, which was dropped from the 2007 film.[46] Orci claimed they did not incorporate these characters into Revenge of the Fallen because they could not think of a way to justify the Dinobots' choice of form,[37] and were unable to fit in the aircraft carrier.[47] Orci also admitted he was also dismissive of the Dinobots because he does not like dinosaurs. "I recognize I am weird in that department", he said,[48] but he became fonder of them during filming because of their popularity with fans.[49] He added "I couldn't see why a Transformer would feel the need to disguise himself in front of a bunch of lizards. Movie-wise, I mean. Once the general audience is fully on board with the whole thing, maybe Dinobots in the future."[50] Bay said he hated the Dinobots and they had never been in consideration for being featured in the movies.[51] It is the last film in the series to be distributed by DreamWorks.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

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For the third film, as a preemptive measure before the release of Revenge of the Fallen, Michael Lucchi and Paramount announced on March 16, 2009, that a third film would be released in IMAX 3-D on July 1, 2011, which earned a surprised response from director Bay:

I said I was taking off a year from Transformers. Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers 3—they asked me on the phone—I said yes to July 1—but for 2012—whoops! Not 2011! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots.[52]

Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who had worked on the two previous Transformers films, declined to return for the third film, with Kurtzman declaring that "the franchise is so wonderful that it deserves to be fresh, all the time. We just felt like we'd given it a lot and didn't have an insight for where to go with it next".[53] Revenge of the Fallen's co-writer Ehren Kruger became the sole screenwriter for Dark of the Moon. Kruger had frequent meetings with Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) CGI visual effects producers, who suggested plot points such as the scenes in Chernobyl.[54]

On October 1, 2009, Bay revealed that Dark of the Moon had already gone into pre-production, and its planned release was back to its originally intended date of July 1, 2011, rather than 2012.[55] Due to the revived interest in 3-D technology brought in by the success of Avatar,[56] talks between Paramount, ILM, and Bay had considered the possibility of the next Transformers film being filmed in 3-D, and testing was performed to bring the technology into Bay's work.[57] Bay originally was not much interested in the format as he felt it did not fit his "aggressive style" of filmmaking, but he was convinced after talks with Avatar director James Cameron,[58] who even offered the technical crew from that film. Cameron reportedly told Bay about 3-D, "You gotta look at it as a toy, it's another fun tool to help get emotion and character and create an experience."[59] Bay was reluctant to film with 3-D cameras since in test he found them to be too cumbersome for his filming style, but he did not want to implement the technology in post production either since he was not pleased with the results.[60] In addition to using the 3-D Fusion camera rigs developed by Cameron's team,[59][61] Bay and the team spent nine months developing a more portable 3-D camera that could be brought into location.[58] On the day of the film's release, Shia LaBeouf announced that Dark of the Moon will be his last Transformers film.

In a hidden extra for the Blu-ray release of Revenge of the Fallen, Bay expressed his intention to make Transformers 3 not necessarily larger than Revenge of the Fallen, but instead deeper into the mythology, to give it more character development, and to make it darker and more emotional.[62] Having been called Transformers 3 up to that point, the film's final title was revealed to be Dark of the Moon in October 2010.[63] After Revenge of the Fallen was panned by critics, Bay acknowledged the general flaws of the script, having blamed the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike prior to the film for many problems. Bay promised to not have the "dorky comedy" from the last film.[64]

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

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In February 2012, producer di Bonaventura stated that a fourth film was in the works, aiming for a 2014 release, with Michael Bay to direct and produce.[65] On the same day, Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay announced a June 27, 2014 release date for a fourth film.[66] Ehren Kruger would pen the script and Steve Jablonsky would score the film, as each had for the previous film.[67][68] The film is set five years after the events in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.[69] Shia LaBeouf did not return in any future installments. Mark Wahlberg was instead cast in the lead role as new character, Cade Yeager.[70][71][72] In November 2012, casting began to search for two more leads. Isabelle Cornish, Nicola Peltz, Gabriella Wilde, and Margaret Qualley were all considered to play Cade's daughter Tessa Yeager, while Luke Grimes, Landon Liboiron, Brenton Thwaites, Jack Reynor, and Hunter Parrish were all considered to play Tessa's race-car-driving boyfriend, Shane Dyson.[73] Bay announced on his website that Reynor would portray Shane and that the fourth film would start the next installment in the overall series; the film was to be a darker sequel to Dark of the Moon and have a different feeling.[74] Peter Cullen, who voiced Optimus Prime in the films, was to reprise his role.[75] Tyrese Gibson was in talks to reprise his role as Sgt. Robert Epps from the original trilogy.[76] Glenn Morshower stated that he was contracted for two films and he was to reprise his role.[77] It was later announced that he would not be return until the next film.[78] With a budget of $165 million, filming was expected to take place in London between April and November 2013—once Pain & Gain, another film that Bay was directing, had finished editing.[79][80]

On January 8, 2013, it was announced that Reynor was joining Wahlberg in the lead.[81] On March 26, 2013, Nicola Peltz was cast as the female lead.[82] Bay confirmed that the movie was to be in 3D.[83] Bay revealed to Collider that actor Stanley Tucci had joined the cast, and that the film would be the first feature film to be shot using smaller digital IMAX 3D cameras.[84] On May 1, 2013, actor Kelsey Grammer was cast as the lead human villain named "Harold Attinger".[85] On May 6, 2013, actress Sophia Myles was cast in a major supporting role.[86] That same month, Chinese actress Li Bingbing and comedian T. J. Miller joined the cast.[87][88]

Actor T.J. Miller would be playing the best friend of Wahlberg's character who is a mechanic.[89] Also revealed were two Autobots who would have the following alternate modes—a black-and-blue 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse named "Drift", and a green 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray concept named Crosshairs. A truck from Western Star Trucks would be Optimus Prime's new alternate mode for the movie.[90] Bumblebee's new alternate mode was revealed to be a modified vintage 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, which later transforms into a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro concept.[91] A green military vehicle (later confirmed to be Hound) and a white emergency response vehicle were also revealed.[92]

Filming began in June 2013, in Detroit,[93] Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. The film was released on June 27, 2014.[94]

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

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In March 2015, Deadline Hollywood reported that Paramount Pictures was in talks with Akiva Goldsman to pitch new ideas for the Transformers franchise's future installments. The studio intends to do what James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have been doing in planning three Avatar sequels, and what Disney has done to revive Star Wars, with sequels and spin-offs. Paramount wants to have their own cinematic universe for Transformers, similar to Marvel's/Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe (which had been one of Paramount's previous film series), and DC Comics/Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe. Goldsman is the head of the future projects, and worked with franchise director Michael Bay, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura to organize a "writers' room" that incubates ideas for potential Transformers films. The writers' room members include Christina Hodson, Lindsey Beer, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari (Ant-Man), Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, Zak Penn (Pacific Rim Uprising), Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Ken Nolan, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet.[95] Kirkman left the room after just one day to undergo throat surgery.[96] In July 2015, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner were announced as the fifth Transformers film's screenwriters.[97] However, on November 20, due to Goldsman's commitments creating a writers' room for G.I. Joe and Micronauts properties, Paramount began to negotiate with Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (Iron Man), as well as Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), to write the film. Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson-Dworet were also brought aboard for writing duties.[98]

After Transformers: Age of Extinction, Bay had decided not to direct any future Transformers films. But in early January 2016, in an interview with Rolling Stone, he stated that he would return to direct the fifth film, and that it will be his last Transformers film.[99] Paramount Pictures spent $80 million on production in Michigan, in return for $21 million in state incentives, under agreements entered into before the state legislature eliminated the film office incentive program in July 2015.[100] In April 2016, Paramount hired cinematographer Jonathan Sela.[101] On May 17, Bay revealed the official title of the film to be The Last Knight on his Instagram account, where he also posted a production video showing a close-up of Optimus Prime's face with purple eyes instead of blue, and his face mostly discolored.[102] The official Twitter account showed a 19-second short video in morse code that translates to "I'm coming for you May 31".[103] On May 31, it was revealed that Megatron would return in the sequel.[104]

Bumblebee (2018)

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Bumblebee is a spin-off film and prequel centered on the Transformers character of the same name and set in the 1980s. The design and style of the film included both elements from the current franchise and influences from the 1980s Transformers: Generation 1 toyline.[105]

Principal photography on the film began in July 2017, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. It was released on December 21, 2018, to positive reviews.[106] Following the film's critical success, Hasbro intends to continue and evolve the franchise similar to Bumblebee.[107]

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

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In March 2019, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura announced ongoing developments for a follow-up to Bumblebee.[108][109] By January 2020, it was officially announced that a sequel to Bumblebee was in development with a script written by Joby Harold, alongside an adaptation of Transformers: Beast Wars with a script written by James Vanderbilt.[110][111][112] The film was then scheduled for release on June 24, 2022, that May,[113][112] while in November, Steven Caple Jr. was hired to serve as director on the project, which serves as both a Bumblebee sequel and Beast Wars adaptation.[114] In April 2021, Anthony Ramos was cast in one of the lead roles for the film, with Dominique Fishback in final talks to play the lead role.[115] The project will be a joint-venture production between Hasbro, eOne, and Paramount Pictures.[116]

Principal photography began in June 2021, with the official title announced as Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, confirmed to be set after the events of Bumblebee.[117] Rise of the Beasts was scheduled for release in June 2022,[118] but was delayed to June 9, 2023.[119]

Transformers One (2024)

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In September 2015, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, who were previously a part of the shared universe writers' room, were hired to write a film that will explore the origins of Cybertron with a working title of "Transformers One".[120] In April 2020, Josh Cooley signed on as director of the animated prequel film. Barrer and Ferrari will cowrite a new draft of their previous script, with Cooley. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian serve as producers. The story takes place entirely on Cybertron and explore the relationship between Optimus Prime and Megatron, "separate and apart" from what has been portrayed in the live-action films. The project will be a joint-venture production between Hasbro Entertainment, Paramount Animation, and Paramount Pictures.[121] The film was scheduled for release on July 19, 2024,[122][123] but was later pushed back to September 13 of that year.[124]

In December 2022, the title was reported to be Transformers: A New Generation, though producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura stated in April 2023 that the title had yet to be finalized.[125][126][127] The producer stated that the plot will center around the origins of the Transformers and explore the events that lead Optimus and Megatron to go from being best friends to becoming enemies,[128] with the plot being mapped out to progress over a trilogy of films, allowing for the Cybertronian characters to progress to who they are in the live-action film series.[129] Industrial Light & Magic is returning to provide the animation for the film, following the franchise's first six installments.[130] Later that month, the title was officially confirmed as Transformers One, along with its voice cast consisting of Chris Hemsworth as Orion Pax / Optimus Prime, Brian Tyree Henry as Megatron, Scarlett Johansson as Elita One, Keegan-Michael Key as Bumblebee, Jon Hamm as Sentinel Prime, and Laurence Fishburne as Alpha Trion.[131][129]

Future

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  • Untitled The Last Knight sequel: Originally announced during the ongoing plans for a "Transformers Cinematic Universe" with a scheduled release date of June 28, 2019; the film was removed from Paramount's release schedule following the negative reception to The Last Knight.[132] By March 2019, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirmed that a script was being written for sequels to both The Last Knight and Bumblebee.[108] It was later confirmed that the film will not be a direct sequel to the previous installment.[133] In an interview in September 2021, when asked about the possibility of a film taking place after The Last Knight, actor Josh Duhamel had expressed interest in reprising his role as Colonel William Lennox.[134]
  • Untitled Angel Manuel Soto film: In March 2021, another film entered development directed by Ángel Manuel Soto, from a script written by Marco Ramirez. The plot will take place separately from films that have previously been released, while Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy, and Tom DeSanto remain involved in their producing roles. The project will be a joint-venture production between eOne and Paramount Pictures.[135]
  • Untitled Rise of the Beasts sequels: In February 2022 at the ViacomCBS Investors' Event, Paramount announced that Rise of the Beasts will be the first installment of a new trilogy of films.[136][137] In June 2023, di Bonaventura stated that future installments will progressively include elements and characters from the G.I. Joes prior to the event of a crossover with the G.I. Joe series. Director, Caple Jr. stated that discussions have included adding additional Transformer factions from other planets into the series.[138] The filmmaker expressed interest in further exploring the origins of the Transformers, with hopes of including more details about their creator Primus in the future.[139]
  • Untitled Transformers One sequels: In April 2023, di Bonaventura stated that there is discussion for Transformers: One to become a trilogy of films.[128] By June, he confirmed that the story is mapped out to progress over three movies, detailing the progression of the characters into their depiction in the live-action film series. The producer explained that Chris Hemsworth's portrayal will grow into the leader depicted in the previous installments, stating that the transition from Hemsworth's voice to Cullen's will make sense within the context of the story.[129]

Shared universe connections

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In March 2013, during the release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, producer di Bonaventura announced the studio's plans to develop a G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover.[140] On July 26, 2013, G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu stated that he is also interested in directing a Transformers/G.I. Joe crossover film.[104] Despite di Bonaventura stating that a crossover was not in the immediate plans for the franchises,[141] he acknowledged that it is something they intended to do.[142]

In March 2015, Paramount hired Academy Award-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman to oversee and compile a team of writers, to pitch ideas for future films to expand the franchise into a cinematic universe. Twelve individual stories were written and pitched for the cinematic universe. Goldsman was tasked with developing a multi-part sequel storyline, along with prequels and spin-off films. A "brain trust" was commissioned to guide the productions of these stories, including Goldsman, Michael Bay, and producers Steven Spielberg and Lorenzo di Bonaventura. The team of writers who were hired included: Robert Kirkman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Zak Penn, Jeff Pinkner, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari, Christina Hodson, Lindsey Anderson Beer, Ken Nolan, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and Steven DeKnight. Goldsman described the writer's room collaboration process, as a way to map out stories that can be further developed by the projects that are green-lit by the brain trust; stating: "...if one of the writers discovers an affinity for [a particular story], they can drive forward on treatments that will have been fleshed out by the whole room."[143][144] In August 2017, following the poor reception of The Last Knight which Goldsman co-wrote, the filmmaker officially left the franchise.[145] In December 2018, di Bonaventura stated that there will be further films in the series, while also acknowledging that the franchise will make some changes in tone and style due to the success of Bumblebee.[146] In July 2021, producer di Bonaventura and actor Henry Golding expressed interest developing a crossover film.[147][148]

In July 2021, a crossover film with the G.I. Joe film series was once again in development.[149] In June 2023, beginning with Rise of the Beasts, the two franchises began to share continuity. Producer di Bonaventura stated that in future films, actors from the G.I. Joe films may reprise their roles.[150] In July 2023, di Bonaventura stated that while the crossover would not interfere with the continuity of the franchise's first five installments, he believed that "continuity's overblown, because sometimes you miss a great idea."[151] In April 2024, Paramount announced that a crossover film is in development, with a projected 2025 or 2026 release date.[152][153] Derek Connolly was hired to write the crossover film in June 2024.[154]

Short films

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Title U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Transformers: Beginnings October 16, 2007 (2007-10-16) Craig S. Philips, Harold Hayes Jr. & Michael White Jr. Chris Ryall & Simon Furman Chris Ryall Joshua Foster
Agent Burns: Welcome to Sector 7 April 2, 2019 (2019-04-02) Travis Knight Christina Hodson Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian & Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome April 2, 2019 (2019-04-02) Lessa Millet & Jonathan Pezza Jordan B. Gorfinkel Tyler Thornberg & Michael Brosnan

Transformers: Beginnings (2007)

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Released separately from the first film on home release in October 2007, on DVD as a Walmart Exclusive; the short is an animated prequel, presented in the form of a motion comic, with narration from the character Bumblebee. Mark Ryan provides the voice-over work for the role, while the short depicts Megatron's arrival on Earth, as well as Archibald Witwicky's discovery 4 million years later. The short skips to 2003 with Bumblebee arriving on Earth, and Sector 7's pursuit of him.[155]

Sector 7 Archive (2019)

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Released on the home video release of Bumblebee, two short films under a "Sector 7 Archive" label were released.[156]

Agent Burns: Welcome to Sector 7 (2019)

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A short released as an in-universe orientation video, of Agent Burns addressing new hires.[157]

Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome (2019)

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A short film, released in the form of a motion comic, takes place two years after the events of Bumblebee which depicts a fight between Bumblebee and Soundwave. When Sector 7 is attacked by Soundwave, Bumblebee arrives to protect them. During the ensuing battle, Soundwave demands that Sector 7 give back what belongs to the Decepticons.[158]

Web series

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SeriesSeasonEpisodesOriginally releasedStatus
First releasedLast released
Transformers: Cyber Missions113January 21, 2010September 29, 2010Released
Bumblebee's First Life on Earth13March 20, 2019[159]April 11, 2019[160]Released

Transformers: Cyber Missions (2010)

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A 13-episode long web mini-series released in 2010 and set within and using the Transformers design from the continuity of the live-action movies. It was released on Hasbro's website and in 2011 re-released on Transformers' official YouTube channel.[161] The series was made by TG Studios in only three months.[162][better source needed] It is set between the events of Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon.[163]

Bumblebee's First Life on Earth (2019)

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Bumblebee's First Life on Earth (バンブルビー 初めての地球生活, Banburubī Hajimete no Chikyū Seikatsu) is a 3-episode long retelling of the first half of the Bumblebee film with no spoilers. The series was released on Paramount Pictures' Japanese Twitter account.[159][164]

Principal cast and characters

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Cast

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Character Film
Transformers Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers:
Dark of the Moon
Transformers:
Age of Extinction
Transformers:
The Last Knight
Bumblebee Transformers:
Rise of the Beasts
Transformers One
2007 2009 2011 2014 2017 2018 2023 2024
Autobots
Optimus Prime
Orion Pax
Peter Cullen Chris Hemsworth
Bumblebee
B-127
Mark Ryan Radio sounds Ben Schwartz[165] Erik Aadahl Dylan O'Brien Radio sounds Keegan-Michael Key
Ironhide Jess Harnell Photograph No voice actor
Ratchet Robert Foxworth Dennis Singletary
Jazz Darius McCrary
Sideswipe André Sogliuzzo James Remar
Skids Tom Kenny Cameo Photograph
Mudflap Reno Wilson
Wheelie Tom Kenny Tom Kenny
Arcee Grey DeLisle Photograph Grey DeLisle Liza Koshy
Chromia
Elita-One Scarlett Johansson
Jetfire Mark Ryan
Jolt No voice actor
Wheeljack George Coe Photograph Steve Blum Cristo Fernández
Topspin No voice actor Steven Barr
Brains Reno Wilson
Leadfoot John DiMaggio Archive footage
Mirage Francesco Quinn Photograph Pete Davidson
Roadbuster Ron Bottitta Photograph
Sentinel Prime Mentioned Leonard Nimoy Head Jon Hamm
Hound John Goodman
Crosshairs John DiMaggio
Drift Ken Watanabe
Hot Rod Omar Sy
Sqweeks Reno Wilson
Cogman Jim Carter
Canopy uncredited voice actor
Daytrader Steve Buscemi
Trench No voice actor
"Bulldog" Mark Ryan
Lieutenant
Cliffjumper Andrew Morgado
Brawn Kirk Baily
Stratosphere John DiMaggio
Alpha Trion Laurence Fishburne
Maximals
Optimus Primal Ron Perlman
Airazor Michelle Yeoh
Cheetor Tongayi Chirisa
Rhinox No voice actor
Apelinq David Sobolov
Decepticons
Megatron
D-16
Hugo Weaving Head Frank Welker Brian Tyree Henry
Starscream Charlie Adler Photograph Head No voice actor TBA
Barricade Jess Harnell Frank Welker Archive footage Jess Harnell
Frenzy Reno Wilson Head
Bonecrusher Jim Wood
Blackout No voice actor
Brawl
Scorponok No voice actor
The Fallen Tony Todd
Scalpel John Di Crosta
Reedman Frank Welker
Ravage No voice actor
Grindor
Alice Isabel Lucas
Sideways No voice actor
Soundwave Frank Welker Jon Bailey TBA
Shockwave Photograph Frank Welker Photograph TBA
Laserbeak Keith Szarabajka
Igor Greg Berg Photograph
Crowbar Jim Wood
Crankcase No voice actor
Hatchet
Devcon
Loader
Stinger No voice actor
Junkheap
Galvatron Frank Welker
Onslaught uncredited voice actors
Berserker
Dreadbot
Nitro Zeus John DiMaggio
Mohawk Reno Wilson
Shatter Angela Bassett
Dropkick Justin Theroux
Blitzwing David Sobolov
Thundercracker Cameo
Thrust
Airachnid TBA
Terrorcons
Scourge Peter Dinklage
Nightbird Michaela Jaé Rodriguez
Battletrap David Sobolov
Freezer No voice actor
Novakane
Humans
Samuel "Sam" Witwicky Shia LaBeouf Shia LaBeoufP
Seymour Simmons John Turturro John Turturro Nick Pilla
William Lennox Josh Duhamel Josh Duhamel
Robert Epps Tyrese Gibson
Ron Witwicky Kevin Dunn
Judy Witwicky Julie White
Mikaela Banes Megan Fox
Colonel Sharp Glenn Morshower
Bobby Bolivia Bernie Mac
Maggie Madsen Rachael Taylor
Glen Whitmann Anthony Anderson
John Keller Jon Voight
Tom Banachek Michael O'Neill
Jorge Figueroa Amaury Nolasco
Patrick Donnelly Zack Ward
Archibald Witwicky W. Morgan Sheppard
Miles Lancaster John Robinson
Trent DeMarco Travis Van Winkle
General Morshower Glenn Morshower Glenn Morshower
Leo Spitz Ramón Rodríguez
Theodore Galloway John Benjamin Hickey
Graham Matthew Marsden
R. A. Colan Rainn Wilson
Sharsky Walker Howard
Fassbinder Jonathan Trent
Tova Simmons Annie Korzen
Carly Spencer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Dylan Gould Patrick Dempsey
Bruce Brazos John Malkovich
Charlotte Mearing Frances McDormand
Hardcore Eddie Lester Speight
Dutch Gerhardt Alan Tudyk[166]
Jerry Wang Ken Jeong
Dimitri Elya Baskin
Alexi Voskhod Ravil Isyanov
Neil Armstrong Don Jeanes
Cade Yeager Mark Wahlberg
Tessa Yeager Nicola Peltz Nicola PeltzV
Shane Dyson Jack Reynor
Harold Attinger Kelsey Grammer
James Savoy Titus Welliver
Darcy Tirrel Sophia Myles
Su Yueming Li Bingbing
Lucas Flannery T. J. Miller
Gill Wembley James Bachman
Chief of Staff Thomas Lennon
Joshua Joyce Stanley Tucci
Izabella Isabela Moner
Sir Edmund Burton Anthony Hopkins
Viviane Wembly Laura Haddock
Minti GorneY
Santos Santiago Cabrera
Jimmy Jerrod Carmichael
King Arthur Liam Garrigan
TRF Group Leader Mitch Pileggi
JPL Engineer Tony Hale
Chief Sherman Gil Birmingham
Merlin Stanley Tucci
Charlie Watson Hailee Steinfeld
Guillermo "Memo" Gutierrez Jorge Lendeborg Jr.
Jack Burns John Cena
Otis Watson Jason Drucker
Sally Watson Pamela Adlon
Dr. Powell John Ortiz
Tripp Summers Ricardo Hoyos
Tina Lark Gracie Dzienny
Ron Stephen Schneider
Danny Bell Edwin Hodge
Noah Diaz Anthony Ramos
Elena Wallace Dominique Fishback
Breanna Diaz Lauren Velez
Reek Tobe Nwigwe
Kris Diaz Dean Scott Vasquez
Agent Burke Michael Kelly
Jillian Robertson Sarah Stiles
Bishop Aidan Devine
Mrs. Greene Leni Parker
Amaru Lucas Huarancca
Other Cybertronians
Prime #1 Michael York
Prime #2 Kevin Michael Richardson
Prime #3 Robin Atkin Downes
Lockdown Mark Ryan
Skullitron uncredited voice actors
Stormreign
Talisman Knight
Quintessa Gemma Chan
Unicron Offscreen Colman Domingo
Constructions
Demolishor Calvin Wimmer
Rampage Kevin Michael Richardson
Devastator Frank Welker
Long Haul No voice actor
Mixmaster
Scrapper
Scrapmetal
Overload
Scavenger
Hightower
Dinobots
Grimlock No voice actor
Slug No voice actor Cameo
Strafe
Scorn

Crew and production details

edit
Film Composer Cinematographer Editor(s) Production
companies
Distributing
companies
Runtime
Transformers Steve Jablonsky Mitchell Amundsen Paul Rubell, Glen Scantlebury & Thomas A. Muldoon Paramount Pictures, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures 143 minutes
Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen
Ben Seresin Roger Barton, Paul Rubell,
Joel Negron & Thomas A. Muldoon
150 minutes
Transformers:
Dark of the Moon
Amir Mokri Roger Barton, William Goldenberg & Joel Negron Paramount Pictures 154 minutes
Transformers:
Age of Extinction
Roger Barton, William Goldenberg & Paul Rubell 165 minutes
Transformers:
The Last Knight
Jonathan Sela Mark Sanger, John Refoua, Debra Neil-Fisher, Roger Barton,
Adam Gerstel & Calvin Wimmer
149 minutes
Bumblebee Dario Marianelli Enrique Chediak Paul Rubell Paramount Pictures, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures,
Allspark Pictures, Tencent Pictures, Bay Films
114 minutes
Transformers:
Rise of the Beasts
Jongnic Bontemps William Goldenberg & Joel Negron Paramount Pictures, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures,
Skydance Media, New Republic Pictures, Bay Films
127 minutes
Transformers One Brian Tyler TBA Lynn Hobson Paramount Pictures, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures,
Hasbro Entertainment, Paramount Animation
TBA

Reception

edit

Box office performance

edit
Film Release date Box office revenue Budget Ref.
North America Other
territories
Worldwide
Transformers July 3, 2007 $319,246,193 $390,463,587 $709,709,780 $150 million [167]
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen June 24, 2009 $402,111,870 $434,191,823 $836,303,693 $200 million [168]
Transformers: Dark of the Moon June 29, 2011 $352,390,543 $771,403,536 $1,123,794,079 $195 million [169]
Transformers: Age of Extinction June 27, 2014 $245,439,076 $858,614,996 $1,104,054,072 $210 million [170]
Transformers: The Last Knight June 21, 2017 $130,168,683 $475,256,474 $605,425,157 $217 million [171][172][173]
Bumblebee December 21, 2018 $127,195,589 $340,794,056 $467,989,645 $135 million [174]
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts June 9, 2023 $157,066,392 $281,900,000 $438,966,392 $200 million [175][176]
Total[177] $1,733,618,346 $3,552,624,472 $5,286,242,818 $1.307 billion
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response

edit
Film Critical Public
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[178]
Transformers 57% (229 reviews)[179] 61 (35 reviews)[180] A
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 20% (250 reviews)[181] 35 (32 reviews)[182] B+
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 35% (266 reviews)[183] 42 (37 reviews)[184] A
Transformers: Age of Extinction 18% (216 reviews)[185] 32 (38 reviews)[186] A−
Transformers: The Last Knight 16% (258 reviews)[187] 27 (47 reviews)[188] B+
Bumblebee 91% (254 reviews)[189] 66 (39 reviews)[190] A−
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts 52% (226 reviews)[191] 42 (51 reviews)[192] A–

The film series has met with generally negative to mixed reception. With the exception of Bumblebee, common elements of the original film series were held in low esteem by critics,[193] such as the repeated formulaic plots, sophomoric and toilet humor, female character objectification,[194][195] clichéd and controversial characterizations, racial and cultural stereotypes,[196] overuse of MacGuffins, product placement,[197] long running times, and excessive retroactive continuity changes (or retcons).[198][199][200]

The first Transformers film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its groundbreaking visual effects, sound design, action sequences, story, performances, with criticism for the Transformer redesigns and product placement.[179][180] The second film, Revenge of the Fallen, received negative reviews, with criticism of its screenplay and runtime, but praise for its visual effects and sound design. The third film, Dark of the Moon, received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its visual effects and sound design, but criticism for its screenplay and runtime.[183][184]

The fourth film, Age of Extinction received negative reviews from critics for its runtime and direction. The fifth film The Last Knight received negative reviews from critics for its direction, thin plot, and overlong runtime.[187][188]

Bumblebee received positive reviews, with praise for its lighter tone, story, visuals, performances, voice acting, direction, action sequences, and faithfulness to the 1980s Transformers show.[189][190] Rise of the Beasts received mixed reviews, with critics calling it an improvement over the pre–Bumblebee films, but with some criticism of the runtime.[191]

Accolades

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The franchise has been frequently praised and won awards for its visual effects and sound design. Michael Bay praised the crew and highlighted the importance of sound saying "I have like 2,000 people – through their artistry – making my dreams a film," Bay said. "The artistry of this sound group is just amazing. I love, love sound. It's 45–50% of the movies."[201]

Academy Awards

edit
Academy Awards Film
Transformers
(2007)
Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen

(2009)
Transformers:
Dark of the Moon

(2011)
Transformers:
Age of Extinction

(2014)
Transformers:
The Last Knight

(2017)
Bumblebee
(2018)
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
(2023)
Sound Editing Nominated Nominated
Sound Mixing Nominated Nominated Nominated
Visual Effects Nominated Nominated

Golden Raspberry Awards

edit
Golden Raspberry Awards Film
Transformers
(2007)
Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen

(2009)
Transformers:
Dark of the Moon

(2011)
Transformers:
Age of Extinction

(2014)
Transformers:
The Last Knight

(2017)
Bumblebee
(2018)
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
(2023)
Worst Picture Won Nominated Nominated Nominated[note 2]
Worst Director Won Nominated Won Nominated[note 2]
Worst Actor Nominated
(Mark Wahlberg)[note 2]
Worst Actress Nominated
(Megan Fox)
Worst Supporting Actor Nominated
(Jon Voight)
Nominated
(Patrick Dempsey)
(Ken Jeong)
Won
(Kelsey Grammer)
Nominated
(Josh Duhamel)
(Anthony Hopkins)[note 2]
Worst Supporting Actress Nominated
(Julie White)
Nominated
(Rosie Huntington-Whiteley)
Nominated
(Nicola Peltz)
Nominated
(Laura Haddock)[note 2]
Worst Screen Couple Nominated
(Shia LaBeouf and either Megan Fox or any Transformer)
Nominated
(Shia LaBeouf and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley)
Worst Screen Ensemble Nominated
(The entire cast)
Worst Screen Combo Nominated
(Any two robots, actors or robotic actors)
Nominated
(Any combination of two humans, two robots or two explosions)[note 2]
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel Nominated Nominated Nominated[note 2]
Worst Screenplay Won Nominated Nominated Nominated[note 2]
The Razzie Nominee So Rotten You Loved It Nominated[note 2]
Razzie Redeemer Award Nominated

Visual Effects Society Awards

edit
Visual Effects Society Awards Film
Transformers
(2007)
Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen

(2009)
Transformers:
Dark of the Moon

(2011)
Transformers:
Age of Extinction

(2014)
Transformers:
The Last Knight

(2017)
Bumblebee
(2018)
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
(2023)
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture Won Won Won
Best Single Visual Effect of the Year Won (Desert Highway Sequence)
Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture Won (Optimus Prime)
Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture Won Won (Driller) Won (Knightship)
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture Won (155 Wacker Drive)
Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture Won
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture Won

Other media

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In addition to the films, the film series has a promotional expanded series that is set both before and after the events of the films. This includes comic books, video games, and novels. While the novels are partially based on the films themselves, and the video games are not in the same continuity as the films, the comic books and graphic novels are in the same continuity and fill in several parts of the stories from the films. Also, Transformers: The Ride 3D is an amusement ride based on the film series. The ride introduced a new character, Autobot Evac, voiced by Dustin James Leighton.

See also

edit

Notes

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  1. ^ a b The original Transformers toy line itself was developed out of two then-existing Japanese mecha toy lines — Diaclone and Microman — by Takara.[202] In 2006, Takara merged with Tomy to form a single company, Takara Tomy.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Referred to as Transformers XVII: The Last Knight on the official nomination list.

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