It’s been 34 years since Transformers: The Movie—both the first, and the last, animated film in the glorified toy commercial franchise—hit theaters, introducing fans worldwide to Weird Al Yankovic, “The Touch,” and, of course, the work of the late, great Orson Welles. But while the film remains a touchstone, having taught children about Stan Bush and Citizen Kane alike, all subsequent Transformers movies have been live-action—or at least as live-action as movies in which the majority of their non-LeBeouf stars were CGI robots could be.
But no more: Deadline reports that Toy Story 4's Josh Cooley has been tapped to direct a new animated prequel film set in the Transformers universe, telling the Cybertron-based backstory of series nemeses Optimus Prime and Megatron. The film is reportedly in a completely separate continuity from the Transformers and Bumblebee movies, and is being fast-tracked, at least in part, because Paramount and Hasbro figure they can get way more done on an animated film right now while still respecting social distancing rules.
Given the sheer number of continuities that the Transformers shows, comics, toys, books, and movies have burnt through over the years, picking out a distinct backstory for the leaders of either the heroic Autobots or the malevolent Decepticons is an exercise bordering on futility. That being said, the two characters do usually have some sort of pre-existing link, because Primus knows you can’t have a brutal war for intergalactic supremacy raging without some interpersonal conflicts to fall back on, too.
Cooley is currently working with Ant Man And The Wasp screenwriters Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari on a final draft of the script; the duo have been quietly working on this project for a few years now, presumably having spent most of that time playing Rock, Paper, Scissors in order to determine which of their two leads either is, or killed, the other one’s cyber-dad.