Michael Bay indicated that he was done with the Transformers franchise after he directed the third live-action movie installment (subtitled Dark of the Moon) – only to turn about-face and serve as helmsman on Transformers: Age of Extinction. That film has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and guaranteed that Transformers 5 will happen, though Bay is again saying he’s probably done with shooting movies that feature robots in disguise.

Question is, do you believe he’ll follow through on the claim his time? Well the 49-year old filmmaker has been name-dropped as the potential director on a few non-Transformers projects over the past year, including a film adaptation of the Ghost Recon video game property and a WW II thriller currently titled Sabotage. Meanwhile, a script for Bad Boys 3 continues to be developed, should Bay decide that he wants to return to that action/comedy well.

However, in an article recently published by USA Today (hat tip to /Film), it’s suggested that Bay wants to “pass the baton” to another director on Transformers 5. The article in question contains a direct quote from Bay where he says that he’s not interested in retreading familiar territory and instead wants to tackle something beyond his customary spectacle-driven action entertainment, on his next venture as director.

“There’s kind of a new chapter, a new direction in movies I want to make,” says Bay, who is eyeing a passion project, a documentary on elephant poaching. “I have a lot of stories to tell. And it’s about flexing new muscles.”

It’s not clear right now just how far along development is on the fifth live-action Transformers movie. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, when we interviewed him for Age of Extinction back in June, indicated that the film won’t necessarily be ready to make a 2016 release date. More relevant to this discussion, however, are his comments about the old claims that Bay will be replaced by someone else as director on the Transformers series, post AoE.

“I think it’s one of those classic things where somebody reported that and suddenly it became our plan. We have never discussed the idea of how to hand it off, honestly. It’s not like we don’t think, well what happens if Michael doesn’t do it, of course you do. But we want to keep Michael on this, so we’re not spending any time worrying about who could come in. We’re trying to figure out how to keep him going and keep him excited.”

As we’ve mentioned in the past, Bay could always go off to make his latest passion project, before he directs Transformers 5 – like how he made Pain & Gain, before he called the shots on Age of Extinction. Another plausible scenario is that Bay passes off the reins on the next Transformers installment to a trusted graduate from his Platinum Dunes – like Jonathan Liebesman. The latter just directed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot for Bay’s production banner, but isn’t confirmed to return for the Ninja Turtles sequel coming in 2016 (yet).

How about it, Transformers fans – do you want to see Bay back at the helm for Transformers 5? Would someone like Liebesman (or another candidate altogether) be a step up, as a director for this property?

Source: USA Today [via /Film]