Michael Bay Returning to Direct TRANSFORMERS 4; Could Start Filming in Winter 2012 [UPDATED]

     December 6, 2011

Well that didn’t take long at all. Surrounding the release of Tranformers: Dark of the Moon was Michael Bay’s assurance that after helming all three flicks in the trilogy, he was done with the franchise. Cut to Dark of the Moon making a kajillion dollars for Paramount, and rumors began swirling that Bay might come back. The director denied any involvement and maintained that he was focused on making his “smaller” movie Pain and Gain. Just yesterday we reported that Bay is in talks with Dwayne Johnson to star in the $20 million dark comedy, and Bay seemed on track to move away from the robot series. Cut to today and now comes word that Bay will indeed be returning for the fourth Transformers film. Hit the jump for more.

[Update: Bay has commented on this report.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.]

transformers-dark-of-the-moon-set-photo-michael-bay-01It appears that the key to Paramount getting Bay to commit to Transformers 4 is Pain and Gain. Vulture reports that the studio is in final negotiations with the director to return to the Transformers franchise, with the understanding that Paramount will greenlight Pain and Gain and let Bay film that first. It goes without saying that Bay could finance Pain and Gain himself if he had to, but the easy greenlight combined with the Tranformers payday may be too good to pass up. If the deal closes (I don’t even want to think about how much money they’re throwing at him to blow up robots for a fourth time), the plan is to shoot Pain and Gain in early Spring, do prep work on Transformers 4 simultaneously, and move right into shooting the fourth installment of the explosions action franchise as soon as next winter.

There’s no word yet on the plot of the fourth film, but the report says that it’s definitely not a prequel and producers are looking to delve deeper into the Transformers canon for new characters. Whatever story they decide upon, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Shia LaBeouf definitely won’t be returning.

After literally shooting three Transformers movies in a row one would think the guy would be exhausted, but apparently Bay doesn’t mind. Although I’m basically indifferent about the franchise at this point, I was intrigued by the idea of seeing someone else take over. You can only watch so many Bay-directed robot fights before it starts to get tedious. The deal has still yet to close and Bay could still change his mind, but even producer Steven Spielberg weighed in recently, expressing his desire to see Bay return to the franchise. All signs point to Michael Bay exploding your eyeballs in 3D once more.

UPDATE: On his official website, Bay posted the following response to this report:

Studio’s are passing rumors but I’m not sure what I’m doing? I know I’m going to do Pain and Gain early spring but that’s it for right now. I’m leaving all my options on the table. I’ve got several Studio meetings in the next two weeks.

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