Having earned over half a billion dollars worldwide in a dozen days, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is knocking over box-office records and making Paramount Pictures very, very rich and happy. So yes, there will be a Transformers 4.
However, both series star Shia LaBeouf and director/mayhem maestro Michael Bay have said three is enough and they won’t be coming back.
LaBeouf is no big loss. Sure, he’s a likable (though increasingly erratic and motor-mouthed) actor, but let’s not kid ourselves. No one (except maybe my co-blogger Erika) is seeing Transformers movies for Shia. He gave the films a decent human center, but like his former co-star Megan Fox, he can be easily replaced without the box-office skipping a beat.
Losing Bay is a much bigger deal. I take my fair share of potshots at Michael Bay for his juvenile and sometimes offensive proclivities, but I’m also the first to defend his amazing touch with Big Action Sequences. He’s a cretin when it comes to slobbering over cheesecake shots and potty humor, but my god does the guy know his way around Giant Battling Robots.
The scale, mecha-heft, and visual energy Bay’s brought to the Transformers movies will be missed–and will be much harder to replicate than the producers and studios might think. Love him or hate him, Bay has an innate, almost savant genius for presenting massive action scenes (when he slows down and lets them breathe a little).
(That said, I’m not 100% convinced Bay is done directing Transformers movies. Everyone always says they’re done, and they often get pulled back in. Personally I’d prefer to see him move on and apply his crazy talents to something new–he’s said he wants to take a break from the Big and try a small, Tarantino-esque crime flick, possibly from a script known as Pain and Gain. But there will no doubt be Transformer-sized bags of money dangled in his face to stay with the TF franchise.)
But if Bay (and LaBeouf) does not return, where’s that leave things for Transformers 4 and beyond? Here’s a roundup of some of the most recent Transformers rumors:
- Transformers producer Don Murphy said on his own site’s message board that the fourth film will not completely reboot the series, nor will it be (as some T-Formers fans have clamored for) an all-’bot affair set on Cybertron. There will still be human stars, wrote Murphy, though the new movies will veer off into a new story arc.
- This next one you can file under Industry and Fanboy/girl Wishful Thinking: That Transformers executive producer Steven Spielberg might step up and direct the new movie himself. The root of the Beard rumor is a MovieWeb interview with TF actor Tyrese Gibson who merely speculated on the idea. (As I’ve noted before, actors say lots of things in press tours, much of it born of their own wishful thinking and PR-stirring.) Spielberg’s slate is always triple-booked: Right now he’s finishing up Tin-Tin and War Horse, is getting ready to shoot Lincoln, and has his own Battlin’ Robots Movie (Robopocalypse) to direct for 2013.
- Finally there’s been lots of “speculation” and rumors that Paramount is looking at Jason Statham (The Mechanic) to replace LaBeouf, which might move the franchise in a slightly edgier, more grown-up action direction. (Plus, Statham currently dates Dark of the Moon model/co-star Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.) It sounds intriguing, but most likely again more the product of Wish Lists than actual studio plans. However, Paramount surely doesn’t mind such loosely sourced media musings, as they keep the attention where the studio wants it–on Transformers–and gets fans hopeful for a new movie instead of bemoaning the possible loss of Bay.
So what say you all? Would you be excited about a new Transformers movie even if Michael Bay wasn’t involved? Maybe more so? If Bay doesn’t come back, who would you like to see direct TF4? Spielberg? And would Statham make a solid human addition to the cast?
Vote in the poll, and then explain your “yay,” “nay,” or “maybe” in the comments below
More Transformers fun from redbox:
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon video game on XBox 360, Wii, and PS3