With or without Bay, producer says Transformers 4 on track for ...

Word on the street is that Paramount Pictures wants to release a fourth Transformers movie in 2014 ... whether Michael Bay is directing or not.

Things have been relatively quiet on the Transformers front since the third film, Dark of the Moon, raked in $1.1 billion at the box office last summer. But with those kind of numbers, you can rest assured that the studio is very interested in making movie number four. Sure enough, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura told Coming Soon today that the next Transformers film will be there "in the summer of 2014."

One major question, of course, is whether Michael Bay will return to direct for a fourth time. Bay expressed his desire to make a small movie next, and as a matter of fact, that's what he's doing: His crime thriller Pain and Gain starts shooting in April with stars Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg.

Once that's done, however, Di Bonaventura expressed confidence that Bay will return:

"Michael had a debate because he sort of felt at first that he'd done three. Michael and I are both the same in that we always like to top ourselves. That doesn't necessarily mean bigger. It can be bigger in places, it just means different, but we're going to push really hard as fresh and new as we can be."

Hmm ... that doesn't exactly sound like Bay's officially coming back, does it? Whether he signs up or not, however, star Shia LaBeouf is definitely done after his three-movie stint, and Di Bonaventura was vague about who else from the cast may or may not be coming back:

"We're going to try to do a hybrid there where there will be some characters that come forward—we think, we're still in the process of figuring it out—and some characters that don't, but it will definitely be a different story."

The producer shied away from using the ever-popular word "reboot," but it sounds like whatever the Transformers team comes up with two years from now, there will at least be some new faces on the screen.

So lots to ponder here. First and foremost, do you want to see a fourth Transformers film, or should they give the franchise a rest? And would you want to see it with a new cast and possibly a new director?

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