UPDATE: Michael Bay released the following official statement via his website:
Some Internet sites this morning reported that some document recovery guy has found a legitimate 120 page script of Transformers 4. I can absolutely 100 percent say this is completely false. The only two people in the world that have our unfinished script are Kruger and myself. Also we are only up to page 70 in our T4 script. Maybe this guy has a cartoon or something else – but definitely not our movie!
Original story follows…
It could be complete and utter bunk but Unleash The Fanboy are alleging to have read a leaked, 120-page script for the fourth Transformers and are splashing around a series of fairly disconnected spoilers. I have my doubts about the veracity of their report, largely due to what is missing – any sort of role for the “race car boyfriend”, the context of who wrote this draft or when, a clear narrative structure.
Still, this could all be down to Fanboy’s breathless scramble to just throw a post together and get it up, knowing they’re sitting on something interesting but not really how to best present it. I could believe that.
So, supposing that is the case, what can we learn from their spoiling? The following, if based on an accurate report, will tear the lid off of many crucial plot points, so only read on if you’re sure that you don’t care.
Well, the big surprise for me is that the female lead, as reportedly set to be played by Nicola Peltz, is a version of Josie Beller.
Beller is a character from the Marvel run of Transformers comics – I don’t know the legalities of using her, so let’s sweep that under the carpet for now – and during her storyline, she became a cyborg known as Circuit Breaker. That transformation apparently happens here too.
In this version of events, Beller is ‘upgraded’ into a cyborg by accident while trying to escape an attack on a military base and some “weird robotic surgery” is initiated. Beller’s father, to be played by Mark Wahlberg, is a Special Ops Sergeant so I’m guessing that’s why she’s there at the base in the first place. This is a totally different origin story for her to that in the comics.
Now, Beller is apparently so angry at being caught up in the attack that she goes on a rampage and slaughters loads of Transformers with her new cyborg abilities. She targets both Autobots and Decepticons because she can’t tell the difference, though she does – somehow – work this out soon enough and sides with the Autobots.
The big war this time is started by Unicron, the huge, Galactus-scale evil Transformer. He’s slowly creeping closer to Earth on a mission to change it into a giant metal Transformer planet, as all the while his minions run about down below, causing havoc. Why they don’t just sit quietly and wait for him rather than draw the attention of the Autobots isn’t entirely clear. Perhaps there’s some unstated reason he couldn’t just drift up and metal-ise the Earth without their input.
On the side of the good guys is Vector Prime, an ancient Autobot who arrives at Stonehenge through a big metal spaceship ball that can open up what sounds like a standard issue narrative Maguffin space-time portal.
Vector then teams up with Optimus on a mission to the volcano at Mount St. Helens. They’re there to retrieve another Autobot, Primus, from what the report calls “space and time.” A volcano can apparently help them do this. It must be all of the power in there, right?
This Primus is crucial because he’s apparently the only one who can destroy Unicron. And so it is, of course: in the big climax, Primus “kicks” Unicron’s “soul” out of his body and turns the metal corpse into a planet for the Autobots to live on.
While that battle is going on in space, Optimus is down on the Earth, beating up the resurrected Megatron – now uploaded into the body of Unicron’s right hand bot, Galvatron. Gives him something to do, at least. Also, a new body might mean a new voice for Megatron and save Hugo Weaving and Michael Bay from having to work together on this.
There’s a fan-pleasing twist to the description of this final battle. Things are getting quite tough for the Autobots and so they need to help of reinforcements from Verticus Prime’s portal thing, and this is how Dinobots finally arrive in the cinematic Transformers universe.
There’s nothing at all in the description about what Wahlberg’s character has to do. Nor is there any apparent role for Josie Beller to play in the fight against Unicron and the Decepticons, where you might hope that she’d have a pay-off to her arc, at least. There’s also no word, at all, of what the “race car driving boyfriend.”
So either this is a totally subpar script lacking even the structure and focus of the previous three installments; it’s been very badly related in the Fanboy report; or somebody somewhere has just made up some hooey.
I guess we’ll now just have to sit tight and see how newly released information marries up to what we have here. If Josie Beller or Circuit Breaker is confirmed, I’d say we’re on to a very pretty chance of this script report being accurate; if it also turns out that Wahlberg is playing a Special Ops. Sergeant, I’d say I might even start believing it myself.
I don’t think anybody watches a Transformers film for the unexpected reversals, surprising character journeys and complex narrative interleaving. In a sense, all this report needed to say was Autobots, Circuit Breaker and Dinobots vs. Decepticons and Unicron and it would have communicated the same essential appeal.
Transformers 4, in some form or another, starts shooting in the Spring and is set, at the moment, for release in June 2014.
Edits: I have now corrected the name of the Circuit Breaker character. Meanwhile, Unleash the Fanboy have gone back and edited their story to sneak in references to the race car driver, the script’s cover sheet and their source, no doubt having read my comments here.