Just how “new” is Michael Bay‘s fourth Transformers movie going to be? The third film in the franchise was the biggest movie Bay has made, but he followed that with Pain & Gain, a true crime story set in Miami that he has referred to as a much smaller movie. The trailer for Pain & Gain makes it out to look like a film from Bay’s early days as a feature director, and a new interview suggests that Bay was energized by working on a smaller scale than is typical for the Transformers movies.

Mark Wahlberg is carrying over from Pain & Gain to the cast of Transformers 4, and is part of a movement to assemble a new cast for T4 to lead a new set of films. We know that Bay wants to do a few new things with the fourth installment, and that same interview that talks about being influenced by the working scale of Pain & Gain the director says that “we’ve redesigned everything from top to bottom” for the latest sequel.

Speaking to Forbes, Bay was asked about making Pain & Gain on a small scale, which led him to speak about working with a younger, smaller crew. He says,

I keep analyzing the film business and there’s so much waste. We’d do a scene with eight or nine people around and I wouldn’t want more people to be there. It wouldn’t be any better.

And that leads into comments about how he wants to shoot Transformers 4:

We’re going to start off smaller. There’s a brand new cast. To freshen the franchise we’ve redesigned everything from top to bottom. The history of the first three movies is still there, we start four years later and there’s a reason why we’re meeting a new cast. Mark is really excited about it and it’s a great redesign. I said that 3 [which grossed $1.1 billion] was going to be my last one. Paramount was letting me do Pain & Gain and the Transformers ride was opening at Universal and it was bittersweet to think of passing it off. I wanted to set it up on a really sure footing and to bring someone else in on that, it would have been overwhelming.

Asked if the fourth film is a reboot, Bay says no, and elaborates:

We keep the Transformers the way they were, it’s just four years later. There’s a reason the Transformers are redesigned. We’re trying to broaden the franchise and give it more places to go.

But still: that last suggests that we will see new robot designs as well as a new template of sorts for the movie. So will we see more “classic” versions of the characters rather the riot of metal that dominated the first three films?

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