Everything was so much simpler in 2007, back when J.K. Rowling published the final Harry Potter book, Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man didn't even exist yet, and Michael Bay made his first Transformers movie. Now the director known for his affinity for fast cars and explosions (not to mention exploding cars) is about to release Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth installment of the global franchise about alien robots who transform into cars and protect the planet from other, more dangerous alien robots.
But five movies and one decade later, and Bay is finally saying goodbye to the popular franchise — or so he says. After all, this is something he's said several times before, like after Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Still, executive producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirmed to MTV News that plans for a sixth film are underway, so can we really trust Bay when he says The Last Knight is his swan song?
MTV News caught up with Bay and the cast of Transformers: The Last Knight at the global premiere of the film in London, where the director seemed less than certain. When asked if The Last Knight was going to be his fifth and final film in the franchise, Bay said, "I think so. It's hard to say goodbye. But it's been a fun run. It's time to do other stuff."
OK. That's not the most convincing response.
There's only one problem: Franchise star Mark Wahlberg says if Bay's out of the franchise, then he's out too. "If he doesn't do it, I'm not doing it," he said. "I've been very clear about that. Listen, Michael is the brains behind this operation. He's been with it since its inception, and he continues to grow the franchise and expand it, so he's going to do whatever he wants to do."
"But the one thing I will say is that he's said it was his last one a number of films ago," Wahlberg astutely added. "He's so passionate about it. It's his brainchild. So he may come back."
Either way, Transformers will go on — with or without Bay. Not only are there plans for a sixth movie (and many, many more after that), but a Bumblebee spin-off movie starring Hailee Steinfeld is currently in the works with Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight at the helm. Bay will serve as an executive producer on the film.
Meanwhile, di Bonaventura confirmed to MTV News that the Bumblebee movie will be set in 1985 and will be a much "smaller" film. "People are going to get to known Bumblebee in a way because it's really his movie," he said. "We get the opportunity to dive deeper into the character." And yes, we'll definitely see a Volkswagen Beetle.
As for the future of the franchise, di Bonaventura admits that Bay has "probably had a little too much of the robots at this point," but he expects Transformers 6 to be just as explosive as the others. "I expect it to be action-packed, but it will have its own personality," he said. "But with Transformers, there's always going to be plenty of action."
It's not like anyone expects a Transformers movie to be quiet.