What ‘Transformers’ Could Be Without Michael Bay

For over ten years, Michael Bay has been at the helm for one the most successful franchises of all-time, but all things come to an end.
By  · Published on June 27th, 2017

For over ten years, Michael Bay has been at the helm for one the most successful franchises of all-time, but all things come to an end.

Transformers has had four sequels since launching upon the world in 2007, and while the franchises’ Energon might be running low in America, it continues to crush box-office records abroad. Needless to say, the Transformers are probably not going away anytime soon.

If they are going to continue the franchise though, they will probably have to do so without the man who brought the previous five films to life. Michael Bay announced that The Last Knight will be the last Transformers film that he will helm, leaving the franchise to pursue other features. It’s doubtful we’ll be saying goodbye to the explosion-filled nonsense that has been the signature of the franchise for so long now. Also leaving the films will be Mark Wahlberg who has played the human hero in the last two films. Seems Wahlberg was only along for the ride as long as Bay was attached to direct meaning the next Transformers will bring new talent both onscreen and off.

Paramount Pictures

Transformers isn’t going anywhere of course as it’s the lynchpin of Hasbro’s entire cinematic universe plans with plenty of spin-offs already in motion. A Bumblebee stand-alone is set to release in June of 2018 with Hailee Steinfeld. According to i09, she will be playing “a tomboy who also holds a job as a mechanic after school.” She will then probably befriend a Transformer and save the world from imminent destruction. That’s just how these films work and don’t expect them to change all that much since China is still in love with them. China remains the most compelling reason to make more Transformers films as it continues to break box-office records.

Where exactly does the main Transformers film line go from here? If the end credits of The Last Knight signal anything it is a continuation of the Quintessa/Unicron story arc. Who are some of the directors who could continue the franchise for Hasbro?

Paramount Pictures

One of the first directors that would come to mind would be Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon, Patriot’s Day). Not only does he have the predisposition towards high-octane action films, but he’s also besties with Wahlberg. If Wahlberg won’t stay in the Transformers franchise because Bay is leaving, he might be convinced to stay for Berg. Given the success of Berg’s previous two movies (not that good), he would be looking to invigorate his own failings with a dose of Transformers success. The only issue is that at the end of March, Wahlberg and Berg announced that are embarking on a new action franchise entitled Mile 22. That means Wahlberg and Berg are not going to be doing Transformers any time soon.

It has become apparent that China is all-in for Transformers so why not hire a Chinese director for the next entry? Director Yimou Zhang (The Great Wall) would be an excellent choice for a number of reasons if Hasbro was able to convince him. He is one of China’s most prestigious directors and has shown a film aesthetic all his own. With Zhang at the helm of the Transformers, they would be able to redefine the series for the next decade and simultaneously please their target audience. Win-win all around for Hasbro.

The most likely event though is that they pick a one-film indie director to continue the formula for the franchise up to this point. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, and it would be similar to what happened to franchises like Kong: Skull Island or Jurassic Park. There are a lot of hardcore Transformers fans who grew up with the cartoon show and still collect the action figures, regardless of the quality of the recent movies. These fans don’t want to see Sam Witwicky or Cade Yeager save the day. They most fondly remember The Transformers Movie of the 80s that for all its faults, was an absolute blast. It is nice to imagine that the Transformers movies as they are today will change with Bay leaving, but more likely they will just continue the status-quo.

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News Writer/Columnist for Film School Rejects. It’s the Pictures Co-host. Bylines Playboy, ZAM, Paste Magazine and more.