With his dark comedy ‘Pain and Gain’ now in post-production, Michael Bay has been talking a lot about the next project on his docket: ‘Transformers 4.’  He recently stated that this would be his last film in the franchise but in his latest interview with The L.A. Times, Bay was a little more forthcoming about the film.

In a bit of a surprise comment, Bay contradicted Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s earlier announcement that the movie would be a reboot hybrid.  “It’s not a reboot, that’s maybe the wrong word,” Bay said. “I don’t want to say reboot because then people will think we’re doing a Spider-Man and starting from the beginning. We’re not. We’re taking the story that you’ve seen — the story we’ve told in three movies already — and we’re taking it in a new direction. But we’re leaving those three as the history. It all still counts. “

He did, however, confirm that the film will have a new cast and have a new story arc:

“It’s a new cast. We’ve moving on to something different… I met with the writer before I went off to do ‘Pain and Gain’ and we talked about a bunch of ideas. We let that simmer for a bit. He’s been thinking about stuff and now we’re getting back together next week to see what we’ve got and to see if it gels.”

I guess the writer he’s talking about is Ehren Kruger (‘The Ring’) who has also said in the past that the story will be more serious. Many fans are hoping this new direction for ‘Transformers 4’ would mean a possible setting in space. Maybe a visit to Cybertron, the home planet of the Transformers? Bay doesn’t discount this possibility. “I think so, yeah, a little,” Bay had said. “That feels like the way to go, doesn’t it? I want to go a little off but I don’t want to go too sci-fi. I still want to keep it grounded. That’s what works in these movies; that’s what makes it accessible.”

Of course one of the reasons he’d like to “keep it grounded” is that Paramount had informed him that his budget would be less than what he had to make ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon”… $30 million less. Considering the budget for the last film was an estimated $195 million to make, $165 million doesn’t seem like much of a reduction, but in the world of tent pole movies, that means cuts need to be made and may mean a limitation in the special effects department, especially in the area of CGI which this franchise heavily relies upon. Considering that ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ is the fifth highest grossing movie worldwide earning $1.124 billion, something tells me that Paramount might not quibble too hard if the movie starts going over budget.

With production soon to be gearing up, more news on casting, plot synopsis, etc. should be coming in. Asked if he could really just walk away from the ‘Transformers’ franchise now that he’s started a new trilogy, Bay replies, “Here’s the thing, it’s tough to find someone who’s done these kind of movies and to have the complication of creating the new stuff that needs to be in this movie – not just characters but a new type of action… that’s a lot for someone new to bite off. And so after this one, I will leave it in the best hands possible. That’s the plan.”

So what do you think of his plans for ‘Transformers’ and do you think Bay will really leave the ‘Transformers’ universe after this film?