Michael Bay has announced that he plans to return to the Transformers franchise, in order to direct the fourth installment in the sci-fi action series.

Michael Bay transformers 4 Megan Fox Shia LaBeouf Rosie Huntington-Whitely director

Despite the fact that Michael Bay’s previous Transformers film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, was heavily criticised – for everything from being ugly, to incoherent, to soulless – it seems that the director has been given the opportunity to return for another film. This Monday Bay revealed that he had signed a two-part deal with Paramount to take on two more films, the first of which will be black comedy titled Pain and Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), followed by a brand new Transformers film.

The decision may also come as a surprise since Bay himself reportedly admitted that Transformers 2 had been ‘crap’ and Megan Fox, the female lead from the first two films, likened working with the director to being like working with Hitler – resulting in her subsequent absence from Dark of the Moon.

However, Bay appears to be keen to give the series something of an overhaul – despite being somewhat vague as to exactly what this might entail. Bay has said that the next film will be “a whole new re-imagining of Transformers,” while producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said “the challenge there is we really are gonna do a reboot, and what that’s gonna be we don’t even know yet.” Riveting stuff, we’re sure…

All this seems particularly baffling in relation to Transformers star Tyrese Gibson’s confident comments last summer, in which he is reported to have said “There are no concepts, no direction, no nothing for Transformers 4, because everyone has been so focused on Transformers: Dark of the Moon. But here is the safety net…There is always Steven Spielberg!… it is a beautiful safety net to know that one of the biggest, most respected directors in the world happens to be an executive producer on Transformers…he could easily step in and direct Transformers 4 if he decided to.” Assuming Spielberg is willing to continue his association with this franchise by reprising his role as executive producer, we can only assume that he has turned down the opportunity to take over as director.

Shia LaBeouf, on the other hand, appears to be rather less tolerant, and is currently standing by his vow not to return to the franchise in his role as the male lead. It is thought that Jason Statham could be lined up as his replacement, meaning that he would star alongside his real-life girlfriend Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who took over from Fox as the female lead in the last film.

While Bay’s return doesn’t mean that the film won’t be financially successful (Dark of the Moon grossed $1.12 billion worldwide), it may disappoint fans of the original Transformers toys and the cartoons. Many had undoubtedly been hoping that their favourite shape-shifting robots might fare a rather better on-screen fate this time around, especially since Bay was still maintaining that Dark of the Moon would be his final Transformers film this time last year.

Transformers 4 is expected to be released in the summer of 2014 – we’ll keep you posted…

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