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Paramount Hires ‘Walking Dead’ Creator, Top Franchise Writers For ‘Transformers’ Sequels and Spinoffs

Screenwriters from ”Iron Man,“ ”Amazing Spider-Man“ board franchise expansion headed by Akiva Goldsman

Akiva Goldsman is stocking Paramount’s planned “Transformers” universe with top writing talent, TheWrap has learned, after the studio tasked the Oscar winner with fleshing out a franchise blueprint akin to Marvel Studios’ and Fox’s planned “Avatar” sequels.

Robert Kirkman, creator of “The Walking Dead” comic book series, “Iron Man” screenwriters Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, Jeff Pinkner of ‘”The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and Zak Penn, who wrote the script for 2017’s “Pacific Rim 2,” are close to deals, according to an individual close to the talks. The gig will see the respective writers dreaming up new adventures for Optimus Prime & Co.

Goldsman will develop the sequels and spinoffs with Michael Bay, who directed all four films in the franchise, as well as with producer Lorenzo di Bonventura and executive producer Steven Spielberg.

Given the stiff competition for multi-film franchises, Paramount presumably placed a priority on securing high-profile creative talent. Disney has Marvel’s cinematic universe of superheroes while Lucasfilm is expanding “Star Wars” with spinoffs directed by Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank. Fox has James Cameron‘s “Avatar” and is gearing up to restart the world of “X-Men” with a team of young mutants.

Sony has announced a “Ghostbusters” universe, while Universal has its own stable of classic movie monsters. Warner Bros. is no slouch, as the studio continues to build its “Lego” franchise as well as a DC Comics universe led by Zack Snyder’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and the upcoming two-part “Justice League.”

The “Transformers” franchise, based on Hasbro’s line of toys, has been one of diminished returns in the U.S. but it is growing in popularity overseas, especially in China.