Michael Bay is leaving the Transformers franchise and it sounds like his frequent collaborator, Mark Wahlberg, will be stepping away with him. Wahlberg played Cade Yeager in both 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction and the newly-released Transformers: The Last Knight, but has already made it known that he's not really interested in continuing to appear in these robotic blockbusters if Bay isn't part of them.
As such, The Last Knight looks to be both Wahlberg's second robot-blockbuster and his final Transformers movie alike. And although Paramount is seeking to create something of a Transformers Cinematic Universe, it's likely the studio will have to find a new human hero for audiences to follow, given Wahlberg's dismissive nature if Bay isn't involved. It does give the series' writers an option to explore a whole range of different characters, especially if they decide to go down a historical route with a future Transformers movie, like Ancient Rome for example.
During an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Wahlberg discussed his partnership with Bay (which began with 2013's Pain & Gain) and his eagerness to work with him again, when he was initially approached to appear in Age of Extinction. During the course of our discussion (see below), it became clear that now that Bay is done with the franchise, Wahlberg probably is too:
Screen Rant: Can we expect to see Cade again in the future, maybe the next mainline Transformers movie?
Mark Wahlberg: I have no idea.
Screen Rant: Where do you think he would go? Because he’s hit a few highs in his life and his career as a Transformers sidekick.
Mark Wahlberg: Yeah, I don’t know. That would be up to the powers that be when they go into the think tank and figure it out. But I really just signed on to work with Michael. We had a great experience in Pain & Gain, so you know… if there’s no Michael there’s probably no me.
The think tank Wahlberg is referring to is the writers room that Paramount set up when they announced their intentions for expanding the Transformers universe. It's certainly plausible that if The Last Knight makes a significant profit, Paramount will attempt to bring back Cade Yeager for a future film. Hence, whether or not Wahlberg changes his mind might depend on the size of Paramount's offer, though it doesn't look likely either way.
Since Transformers: The Last Knight isn't gaining fantastic reviews from critics, there is a possibility that it might not achieve the type of success that Paramount was looking for. This might even dial down their plans for an expansive universe like Marvel have successfully done. However, since they're going ahead with the Bumblebee spin-off movie next year, The Last Knight won't mark the last that we see the Autobots and Decepticons on the big screen.
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