Well that was fast. Earlier today we reported that Paramount was eyeing a 2014 release date for Transformers 4. It wasn’t exactly shocking news, as we new the studio was keen on continuing the Transformers franchise, but there was no update on whether or not Michael Bay would be returning to direct or what the story would entail. What a difference a few hours makes, as producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has now not only confirmed that Bay will be returning to direct, but Transformers 4 is going to be a reboot of the franchise. Hit the jump for much more.
[Update: Paramount has confirmed in a press release that Bay will return. Additionally, they've scheduled the movie for June 29, 2014. The press release is added to the bottom of the post after the original story.]
Bay previously stated that he would vacate the franchise after Dark of the Moon, but back in December rumors started swirling that Bay was in fact considering directing Transformers 4. It’s not a huge surprise, as the series is a ginormous money-maker for Bay and both he and Paramount would benefit greatly from his return. Bay responded to the rumors by saying he hadn’t solidified what movies he was directing in the future beyond Pain and Gain, and then news went quiet. Until today. Speaking with MTV’s Josh Horowitz, di Bonaventura had this to say regarding Bay’s involvement:
“Yeah Michael’s gonna direct and it’ll be releasing in the summer of 2014. We’re excited and I think the challenge there is we really are gonna do a reboot, and what that’s gonna be we don’t even know yet.”
I’m heavily in favor of the reboot approach to the franchise, as I think Transformers is definitely in need of some freshness. Today’s earlier report likened the follow-up to G.I. Joe: Retaliation in that a couple characters from the original may carry over, but it’ll be a new story with new characters. Di Bonaventura clarified what kind of reboot we’re looking at:
“Well I mean again it’s hybrid. It’s not the way—I’m not involved with Spider-Man but what I perceive Spider-Man to be is a redoing of the whole thing, [Transformers 4] is not. It’s an evolution. There’s still continuity that’s going on, and yet there’ll be a lot of new cast. Whether there’s anybody from the [original] cast, we don’t even know yet. But the truth is, it’s gonna be a whole new story. The characters that would certainly come along would be Optimus and Bumblebee I’m sure.”
Horowitz asked whether or not any of the earlier casting rumors were true, including Jason Statham, which di Bonaventura flat out denied:
“No, it’s so silly. We’ve gotta get a story first. You can’t pick characters until you have a story.”
It’ll be interesting to see who’s handling script duties on the follow-up, and what characters (if any) they bring back. Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox are definitely done with the series, but I could see them using John Turturro’s character as the bridge between the first three films and the “new” Transformers. Nevertheless, we should hear more soon. Bay will next shoot his passion project Pain and Gain this April with Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, after which one assumes he’ll dive back into Transformers full-time. You can watch Horowitz’s full interview with di Bonaventura below:
FIRST UP FOR THE PROLIFIC FILMMAKER IS “PAIN AND GAIN” STARRING MARK WAHLBERG AND DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON, FOLLOWED BY A NEW INSTALLMENT IN THE HUGELY POPULAR “TRANSFORMERS ” FRANCHISE, TO BE RELEASED ON JUNE 29TH, 2014
HOLLYWOOD, CA (February 13, 2012) – Paramount Pictures announced today that director Michael Bay has signed a two-picture deal with the studio, which will commence this spring with the filming of “Pain and Gain,” and will be followed by the next installment in the hit “Transformers” franchise.
Based on a true story, “Pain and Gain” follows a group of bodybuilders who engaged in a campaign of kidnapping, extortion and murder in Florida. First told in an article from the Miami New Times, “Pain and Gain,” will be directed by Bay and will star Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Expected to begin production in early spring, the movie’s producers include Bay, Donald De Line and Ian Bryce.
Following “Pain and Gain,” Bay will bring audiences a new take on the “Transformers” franchise as he begins production on the fourth installment in the hit series of movies based on the best-selling Hasbro toyline. The third, and most recent installment of the franchise, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” is the fourth highest global grossing film of all time with 1.24 billion dollars of worldwide box office success. Directed by Bay, the movie will re-unite the filmmaking team from the hit franchise, including producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto and Ian Bryce; and executive producers Steven Spielberg, Bay, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. Paramount Pictures will release the film on June 29th, 2014.
“Michael has been working on PAIN AND GAIN for a number of years but has patiently waited for the perfect casting to trigger a start,” said Adam Goodman, President of Paramount’s Film Group. “Clearly his patience has paid off as we couldn’t be more excited about this combo. His passion for this project is just awesome.”