Update: Bay has addressed the speculation on his official website:
Studio’s are passing rumors but I’m not sure what I’m doing? I know I’m going to do Pain and Gain early spring but that’s it for right now. I’m leaving all my options on the table. I’ve got several Studio meetings in the next two weeks.
While Michael Bay said earlier this year that Transformers: Dark of the Moon would be his last Transformers movie, it’s looking more likely that it won’t be. According to Vulture Bay is in final negotiations to direct a fourth film, but it won’t be the next movie he tackles.
Apparently Bay’s deal with Paramount will be on the condition that he gets to make his passion project Pain and Gain first. It’s a $20m budget thriller which focuses on extortion and abductions in the Florida criminal underworld, and over recent days there’s been speculation that Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg are circling the lead roles (although Wahlberg may have already passed). Bay has been trying to make the movie since 1999 (it’s based on a three-part New Times story) so it’ll give him an opportunity to take a break from robots.
Vulture says “while Paramount “does not have a closed deal” with Bay, the studio “is not far from closing” on one either, and that an announcement could come as early as next week”. Once/If a deal is struck Bay will shooting Pain and Gain early next year, and then enter production on Transformers 4 in late-2012. Pain and Gain, which has an original draft written by Captain America screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, isn’t too technically complex so Bay could prep T4 while finishing up P & G.
Shia LaBeouf has already said he doesn’t think he has “anything more to contribute” to the franchise so, assuming he doesn’t change his mind; we won’t be seeing Sam Witwicky in the next film. Personally I think it’s time a different director took over and gave us something new, but if Bay returns Paramount will happy knowing they have another billion dollar movie on the horizon.