Big things are happening in the Transformers franchise. The fifth live-action film, The Last Knight, is shaping up to be one of 2017's most bankable hits and a new, moody TV spot suggests director Michael Bay is trying out some new things with the characters and story.
It's also the first movie in the series since Paramount decided to expand Transformers into a Marvel-esque cinematic universe. In addition to more entries in the main series, an illustrious writer's room has been hard at work finding ways to expand the Autobot/Decepticon conflict; a Bumblebee standalone is set for 2018 and there's talk of a G.I. Joe crossover. However, while the future of the series is sprawling, it sounds like it could be forging forward without the man who first brought it to life.
In a piece on his own website talking about how Transformers is now segueing into a shared universe, Bay confirmed that he intends The Last Knight to be his last:
"It’s bittersweet for me. With every Transformers film, I’ve said it would be my last. I see the 120 million fans around the world who see these movies, the huge theme park lines to the ride and the amazing Make- A-Wish kids who visit my sets, and it somehow keeps drawing me back. I love doing these movies. This film was especially fun to shoot. But, this time might really be it. So I’m blowing this one out."
As Bay points out in the quote itself, this isn't the first time the director's said he's done with the robots in disguise. A similar claim was made with trilogy-ender Dark of the Moon, but he was coaxed back for Age of Extinction, although even before cameras had started rolling he'd claimed that too would be his last. He's previously talked about how a "one for me, one for them" situation with Paramount has kept making him return, with the studio allowing him to make passion projects Pain & Gain and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi in exchange for some robotic carnage. The latest comments highlight another side to that; Bay sounds incredibly appreciative of the franchise's many fans.
It's worth noting the director's careful wording; he makes very sure to say it "might" be his final entry, possibly to avoid criticisms of his constant flip-flopping if does come back for a later film. However, given that he spends so much time talking about how the Transformers franchise is evolving, going as far as calling The Last Knight "a final chapter and a new beginning", there's seem to be more sincerity in his word than previous cases. Transformers is changing and it may be that the direction Paramount are taking it in doesn't quite fit with his vision.
Bay was already unlikely to helm the in-development Bumblebee flick, but in addition to finding someone to direct Christina Hodson's script, it sounds like Paramount might need to get searching for someone to helm Transformers 6, due in theaters in 2019.
Source: Michael Bay
- Transformers 5/Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) release date: Jun 21, 2017
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018