Depending on how one feels about the Transformers franchise, news regarding Paramount’s plan to blow the series out into a full-blown shared universe either left moviegoers elated or filled with an overwhelming dread.
The studio already is planning a series of sequels and spin-offs in the coming years, and has just picked a surprising director for the announced film centering on fan-favorite Bumblebee.
Travis Knight – the filmmaker behind the Oscar-nominated stop-motion animated film Kubo and the Two Strings – has been brought onboard to direct Bumblebee.
Kubo marked Knight’s directorial debut, and though the film lost the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature to Disney’s Zootopia, it was greeted with hefty critical praise for its larger-than-life story and dazzling visual effects (which, too, earned an Oscar nod).
Knight serves as president and chief executive of Laika, the Portland-based stop-motion animation house behind Kubo as well as films like Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls.
With Bumblebee, Knight transitions into live-action for the first time, Deadline reports. The film – set for a 2018 release – will be written by Christina Hodson, who also is working on the untitled Transformers 6.
Besides its focus on the eponymous Autobot, plot details remain a mystery for Bumblebee. However, previous reports indicate this summer’s Transformers: The Last Knight may hint at what fans can expect next from the franchise.
All signs point to the fifth film being director Michael Bay’s final time behind the series, as he plans to move on to other projects. If hiring Knight is a sign of the kind of talent Paramount is looking to attract for future Transformers films, then perhaps the franchise may be heading into a more interesting direction.
Over the last decade, Transformers has developed into one of the more divisive film series going today.
Although many critics have panned the film series, moviegoers have loved it, racking up $3.8 billion globally.
Directors of high-profile animated films have historically had a tricky time transitioning to live-action. While Phil Lord and Chris Miller seamlessly graduated from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to 21 Jump Street, Pixar directors Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and Brad Bird (The Incredibles) encountered box office disasters when they helmed John Carter and Tomorrowland, respectively.
Robert Yaniz Jr.
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