When the stated “trilogy” of Michael Bay’s ended with Transformers: Dark of the Moon the widespread assumption was that the franchise would continue, or reboot, with someone else directing. When the film topped the previous two and reached over $1.1 billion worldwide in grosses that became inevitable. The surprising thing now though is the latest word has Bay possibly returning to direct the next two entries in the franchise which would be filmed back-to-back in the same manner that other franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings have done in the past.
Yesterday Variety broke the news regarding the current plan being concocted by Hasbro and Bay, Steven Spielberg, and Paramount. The thought is that Bay could be attached to the project as only an executive producer but more likely will take the directing chair again. By filming back-to-back the studio will save a great deal of money on production, avoid the stress of re-upping contracts, and there will be less in the way of time pressure to complete the special effects – of which has basically come down to the wire in previous releases.
Shia LeBeouf is not expected to return – by his own previous statements he wanted to move on anyway. What is really interesting is that the current casting preference for the lead in Transformers 4 and 5 is Jason Statham. As a proven action star he would provide more of a physical presence than LeBeouf and hopefully also reduce the opportunity for Bay to slip in juvenile jokes playing off the character. Coincidentally Statham is also rumored to be sought after for Fast Six and Seven which also plans a back-to-back filming schedule. It’s unlikely then he would be able to join both projects – if he ends up involved with either one of them.