In a letter released on his official website, filmmaker Michael Bay has announced that the forthcoming Transformers sequel (The Last Knight) will be his swansong from the franchise.
"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 that 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."
Michael Bay quitting the Transformers franchise has become something of a long-running joke. As he points out himself, Bay has claimed he was leaving Transformers behind after every sequel, but a decade on and he has directed all five movies in the series. That's set to change with next year's Bumblebee spin-off, and if Bay's comments turn out to be true, then 2018's Transformers 6 will be in need of a new director.
So far, Transformers has taken the classic idiom 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' literally and has stuck to the same frustrating formula for four movies. Arguably, you could say that the ongoing success of the franchise is proof enough that Bay's way translates to billions of dollars, but is it too much to ask for a Transformers movie to be both good and successful?
As a child of the 80s, I have a lot of love for the original Transformers Animated movie, an infectious mix of 80s rock n roll, thrilling action and a voice cast that featured Leonard Nimoy, Judd Nelson, and Orson Welles. Bay's first entry in the franchise was a whole heap of fun, and it was exactly what you wanted from a Transformers movie. Regrettably, none of the three proceeding sequels managed to recapture the fun of the first, but they made a whole lot of money disappointing fans time and time again.
It remains to be seen if The Last Knight will be Bay's final visit to the world of Transformers, but the movie arrives in UK cinemas on June 23.