Michael Bay has directed so many Transformers movies that he managed to reboot his own franchise with Transformers: Age of Extinction, and yet he just can’t seem to quit the Autobots, Decepticons, and the many buildings they destroy. His name has become synonymous with the franchise, and people wondered if he would really stick to his promise to leave after Age of Extinction since he had already threatened to depart following Dark of the Moon.
Back in September, Bay tweeted that reports of him signing on to helm Transformers 5 were premature:
Re: directing TF5. No, it’s not official. I have not committed to any idea as of yet. Just met with Steven and we are discussing.
— Michael Bay (@michaelbay) September 17, 2015
But with his new movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Solders of Benghazi about to hit theaters, he’s inevitably getting asked about gearing up for more Transformers nuttiness. Speaking with Rolling Stone, he confirmed that he’ll be back and promises that this is truly his swan song for the franchise:
“Transformers, I still have a great time. It’s fun to do a movie that 100 million people will see. But this is the last one. I have to pass the reins to someone else.”
I remind Bay that he said the same thing before each of the last two Transformers movies. “I know,” he says. “J.J. [Abrams] told me, ‘You’re the only guy that could do this.’ But it’s time to move on. One more.”
The interviewer doesn’t ask why Bay wants to keep coming back to a franchise that’s defined not by its narrative breadth but by making different things explode, which is a shame because what’s left that needs to be said for a franchise that doesn’t say anything at all? What does Bay need to express with a fifth movie that he didn’t get out in the bloated previous installments?
My best guess is maybe Bay wants to create a link to the new Transformers universe that Paramount is brewing. He may not be a key player in the writer’s room, but at least he’ll get to build the bridge from his previous movies to whatever prequels, animated spinoffs, and sequels Paramount wants to create. Personally, I’m just surprised he hasn’t burnt out on such a vapid franchise, but then again, Bay has always been a singular filmmaker, both for good and ill.