WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Paramount Pictures' Bumblebee, in theaters now.
It's no secret Paramount Pictures has been trying to get its Hasbro Cinematic Universe off the ground. Looking at the success of Marvel Studio's MCU, it makes financial sense to try to link properties such as Transformers and G.I. Joe together, as they have been in cartoons and comics over the decades.
However, as director Travis Knight's Bumblebee resets the franchise's timeline in a soft reboot, an opening has been created for another one of Hasbro's toy lines to join this cinematic universe as well: M.A.S.K.
A quintessential '80s toy/cartoon, M.A.S.K. centered on the battle between an underground task force called M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) and a criminal organization called V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem). It's a popular property, with the 1985 cartoon selling the toys, which in turn led to comics as well as a video game trilogy. The heroes, led by one Matt Trakker, operate transforming armored vehicles that can traverse air, land and sea. M.A.S.K.'s soldiers have a huge advantage over your average military unit as they can go anywhere, anytime, acting as the evolution of homeland security.
Paramount Pictures moved forward with its move to expand its Hasbro universe by introducing M.A.S.K. to the mix by attaching F. Gary Gray as director last April. He's been busy with his latest directorial venture, Men In Black: International, and just before that he worked on 2017's Fate of the Furious, so he hasn't been an easy man to pin down. But with Justin Lin returning to helm the ninth film in the Fast and Furious franchise, and that film getting pushed back to 2020 due to the Hobbs and Shaw spinoff, the stars seem to be aligning for Gray and the studio to come to terms.
The catalyst for the franchise to enter the mix is already there, thanks to Bumblebee. In the film's finale, Bumblebee engages in brutal fights with the Decepticon duo of Shatter (Angela Bassett) and Dropkick (Justin Theroux), bringing down a barge on one and ripping the latter apart with chains. This means the Decepticon parts and their technology have been left behind for Sector 7 to collect and study. This can easily see them repurposing the tech, as they have done in the Michael Bay's Transformers movies, by creating vehicles instead of your typical guns and blasters.
Sector 7 does have a sinister nature to them, but with John Cena's Agent Burns helping Bumblebee at the end, realizing the Autbots are allies, It should make sense for him to convince the powers-that-be to open a branch of Sector 7 and turn it into M.A.S.K. After all, both organizations do have the same goal in mind. This would be an organic way for Paramount to get its G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover, along with introducing with an all-new movie franchise and an established brand from the '80s. This would also undo the joke Bay turned Sector 7 into, giving it a purpose other than merely monitoring robot activity on Earth.
Building on Cena's popularity and his solid performance in Knight's film, it would also make sense for Burns to helm the studio's next Hasbro franchise. The foundation for M.A.S.K. has been laid -- now it's just up to Paramount to kick things into the next gear and let a third Hasbro franchise take off.
Directed by Travis Knight from a script by Christina Hodson, Bumblebee stars Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Pamela Adlon, Jason Drucker, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow, Ricardo Hoyos and Gracie Dzienny.