Michael Bay’s two Transformers films have grossed over $1.5 billion dollars worldwide, and with the third installment – Dark of the Moon – due out later this month, that tally will only get bigger. It’s no stretch to imagine Paramount and Dreamworks (with dollar signs in their eyes) are already envisioning a fourth film in the franchise. There’s just one catch – that film will have to find a new leading man and possibly a director.
Star Shia LaBeouf spoke to MTV during their recent movie award ceremony and tells the channel this was his last go ‘round squaring off against “giant f***ing robots.” The actor, who plays main character Sam Witwicky, says “I'm not coming back to do another one.” He then goes on to add that he doesn’t think he’ll be the only departure – and that Paramount will probably have to find a new director too. “I don't think Mike will either. It still is a hot property, I think, especially coming out of the third one. So I imagine they'll reboot it at some point with someone else.”
We doubt they’ll reboot it. Why start over when they can just transform the story and move in a new narrative direction instead? It’s not like the tale told in the first two Transformers movies is some kind of canon that must be preserved at all costs – or that future films are following some kind of series bible that must be adhered to. Let’s be honest – not one person has ever gone to the ticket window and plunked down their hard earned cash for a Transformers ticket thinking “I really wanna see more of Sam Witwicky.” The real franchise-killing departure here would be the giant robots – and since they’re CGI and don’t have agents, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
As far as Bay leaving goes, no one really knows if that will come to pass. The filmmaker insisted he wasn’t going to do a third film after the last entry, but he came back anyway. LaBeouf, meanwhile, has no animosity toward the franchise that made him a star, saying he’d be at an opening night premiere for a fourth film even if he wasn’t in it. Instead, the actor seems to want to go out on top, saying Dark of the Moon is “our best movie.”
The potential departure of Bay and LaBeouf got us thinking – who would we replace them with for Transformers 4? There’s no shortage of directors we’d like to see do a Tranformers flick, but after a lot of consideration, it seems like it would be really cool to see a lesser known filmmaker tackle the next installment. Someone like Panic Attack director Fede Alvarez seems perfect for a Transformers flick. We could even see a director like Carl Erik Rinsch doing it. Maybe Monsters director Gareth Edwards would be a good choice? There are lots of interesting options.
Casting a new lead is even more wide-open. Producers could go out and find another young up-and-coming star, the next LaBeouf, if you will. That would be boring, though – if Transformers is going to change stars and directors, it should probably go in a slightly different direction story-wise, if only so the new creative talent can put their own spin on the franchise. Instead, why not go with a slightly older and established Hollywood leading man? Not someone super-serious, but someone like Chris Pine, perhaps? These are just my thinking out loud options – I’m betting you guys have some even better ideas. Swing by the comments section below and share your picks for the next Transformers movie.