With shooting underway on a third movie and plans to debut next summer, Michael Bay and Co. acknowledge missteps with the last one and aim to upgrade the shape-shifting robot franchise with a more coherent story, less goofball humor and a pledge that characters who die will stay dead. It will also be in 3-D.To summarize the information:
"I'll take some of the criticism," says Bay, standing at a set built to resemble a dilapidated nuclear reactor. "It was very hard to put (the sequel) together that quickly after the writers' strike (of 2007-08)."
"This one really builds to a final crescendo. It's not three multiple endings," the director says.
Bay calls the second film's villain, The Fallen, "kind of a (expletive) character." The new movie's foe is certain to make fans of the original '80s incarnation smile: Shockwave, the robot cyclops-turned-laser-cannon, who became dictator of their home world of Cybertron after the other Autobots and Decepticons journeyed to Earth.
"One thing we're getting rid of is what I call the dorky comedy," Bay adds. So the twins, the two bumbling, slang-spewing robots? "They're basically gone," he says, though John Turturro returns for comic relief.
The new film features Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) taking his first tenuous steps into adulthood while remaining a reluctant human ally of Optimus Prime. "Shia has this great line: 'You know, I've saved the world twice, but I can't get a job,' " di Bonaventura says.
"I love Megan and I miss the girl," LaBeouf says, flecked with fake blood and dirt during a break between shooting. "But Sam and Mikaela became one character, and here ... you have discovery again from a new perspective."
Plot details are under wraps, but it delves into the space race between the U.S.S.R. and the USA, suggesting there was a hidden Transformers role in it all that remains one of the planet's most dangerous secrets. "The movie is more of a mystery," Bay says. "It ties in what we know as history growing up as kids with what really happened."
While Optimus Prime, Megatron and even Sam all have died and been resurrected, di Bonaventura says this film will have no do-overs: Die, and that's it.
Bay hints that there may be a lot of that. "As a trilogy, it really ends," he says. "It could be rebooted again, but I think it has a really killer ending."
- The movie is in 3D, no official word if shot in 3D or converted but likely the latter
- Big bad is Shockwave. Alt mode unknown, in G1 cartoons it was a laser gun and in later incarnations it was a Cybertronian tank.
- John Turturro returns and Agent Simmons
- Twins "basically gone", which I read as they come and probably go violently from the movie early on
- Plot focuses on the "hidden" story behind the space race of the 60s through 80s.