Transformers fans assumed that 2011's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" was the end of an era. The film seemed to be the finale of Michael Bay's reign as robot king, but it turns out that the blockbuster director still has at least one more round of mayhem in him. And thus "Transformers 4" was born.
The film starts shooting this summer, and Paramount has wasted no time in getting fans hyped up for the next installment in the billion-dollar franchise by releasing photos of two new Autobots. The first is a 1,200-horsepower Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse, which sources have pegged as the Autobot swordsman Drift. The other is a C7 Corvette Stingray that is most likely the Autobot Slingshot.
Drift made his debut just a few years ago within the pages of IDW Publishing's Transformers comics. Initially loyal to Megatron, the robot formerly known as Deadlock changed his ways to fight alongside the good guys as the sword-slinging Drift. If this Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse is, in fact, Drift, then the character has undergone a makeover, taking the character away from his signature white paint job with red accents.
The C7 Corvette Stingray could be the vehicle form of a G1 Transformer from the '80s cartoon, although longtime fans wouldn't initially know it. Slingshot's been a member of the Autobot combiner team known as the Aerialbots, and therefore an airplane, for his entire existence. But the abrasive Autobot was left out of the Aerialbots when they appeared in 2009's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," and it looks like he'll be making his big screen debut as a sleek automobile.
Even though the film promises to introduce a totally new human cast, director Michael Bay reassures fans that it's not a reboot. A newly released photo of Optimus Prime seems to confirm this.
"It's not a reboot; that's maybe the wrong word," Bay told the Los Angeles Times. "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."
Leading the new cast is Mark Wahlberg, who agreed to join the franchise while working with Michael Bay on "Pain & Gain."
"One day he was just like, 'Hey, do you want to do another movie?' and I said yes," Wahlberg recalled to correspondent Josh Horowitz. "He goes, 'You wanna know what it is?' [I replied] 'Well if you want to tell me, but I want to do it." That film turned out to be "Transformers 4," a project that Wahlberg jumped at the chance without even knowing the role he would play. "[Michael Bay asked] 'Do you want to know what the part is or what the story is?' I go, 'Whatever you want to tell me, tell me, but I'm in.' "
The new human cast also includes Nicola Peltz as Wahlberg's daughter, Jack Reynor as her racecar-driving boyfriend, T.J. Miller as Wahlberg's best friend, Kelsey Grammer as the film's primary human antagonist and Stanley Tucci. This casting shake-up was deliberate, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told MTV News, and fans shouldn't expect a cameo from original trilogy star Shia LaBeouf.
"The intention is this is a new world, with new characters, with Mark Wahlberg leading us," di Bonaventura said. "It's a different movie, but a lot of the things that you love about the other ones are joining the ride."
"Transformers 4" is set for release on June 29, 2014.