Josh Cooley to Follow ‘Toy Story 4’ Oscar Win With Animated ‘Transformers’ Prequel

Josh Cooley received considerable praise for his work on "Toy Story 4" and is bringing his animation talents to a new "Transformers" film.
Josh Cooley
Josh Cooley

Josh Cooley, the Oscar winner who made his directorial debut with “Toy Story 4,” will direct an animated “Transformers” film that will stand apart from the franchise’s recent live-action installments.

Deadline reported that Cooley will direct a “big scale” “Transformers” film that will serve as an origin story for the franchise. The film will take place on Cybertron, the home world of the franchise’s titular robots and revolve around the relationship between Optimus Prime and Megatron.

Sources close to production confirmed Deadline’s report with IndieWire.

eOne, Hasbro’s entertainment studio, will develop and produce the film along with Paramount Animation. The script of the film, which is in early stages of development and has not been officially announced, comes from Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, who worked on Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Ant-Man” and wrote the sequel “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

The film’s producers are expected to be Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian and Hasbro/eOne, according to Deadline.

While work is continuing on the live-action “Transformers” film series, which kicked off with Michael Bay’s 2007 film and eventually led to Travis Knight’s the critically well-received “Bumblebee” spinoff in 2018 Deadline reported that Hollywood’s ongoing production shutdowns incentivized studio executives to accelerate work on Cooley’s upcoming animated film, given that animated projects are easier to develop while abiding by social distancing guidelines.

Barrer and Ferrari have reportedly been working on the animated film for several years, but additional details about the project, including a release date, are unknown.

Regardless, Cooley’s attachments to the film meana the upcoming “Transformers” project will likely enthuse fans given his pedigree. Cooley’s work on Disney’s beloved “Toy Story 4” garnered significant praise, but his animated portfolio stretches back much further than that 2019 film. Cooley kicked off his filmography as a storyboard artist on the classic “The Incredibles” and has also worked on a variety of other acclaimed films, including “Ratatouille,” “Up,” and “Inside Out,” among several other Pixar films.

As for the “Transformers” film franchise, Variety reported in January two scripts were in active development by James Vanderbilt and Joby Harold, though additional details about those projects are still under wraps.

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