Michael Bay is confirmed to be back in the director’s chair for the fourth live-action Transformers film, as part of a deal between him and Paramount to secure him for the next entry in the franchise by agreeing to fund his upcoming film Pain & Gain (which will feature Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).
No cast or characters have been selected for the film yet, though obviously Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are expected to be major characters. Producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura says he expects it will be “an evolution” of the franchise, not a re-doing of it. Which really doesn’t explain a whole lot… if they’re not doing a reboot, there are only a few places they can go with the story; to wit, Galvatron and/or Unicron or a new story featuring either villains nobody’s heard of or that were so minor before that nobody will care (since they already kind of blew it with Shockwave.)
Of course, no characters or cast have been selected because the story hasn’t been selected yet; they’re still waiting on a script. The film already has a release date set, at June 29, 2014. This means they have almost exactly the same amount of lead time that gave us Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon (possibly less, as they might very well have started on the scripts for those before the preceding movie was released in each case.) That… isn’t encouraging, especially for those of us who were hoping for a Bay-free franchise reboot.