UPDATE: Deadline is reporting that the fourth "Transformers" installment has been slated for release on June 29, 2014, and that contrary to previous reports, the film will not be shot back-to-back with a fifth movie.

ORIGINAL STORY: The "Transformers" franchise has been a success in large part thanks to director Michael Bay, whose "bigger + faster = better" mentality was well-suited for the task of bringing films about giant fighting extraterrestrial robots to the big screen. Which is why Dreamworks is surely relieved that the director will indeed be returning for the fourth installment - news spilled by producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura when MTV caught up with him recently at Toy Fair 2012.

"Michael's going to direct," di Bonaventura confirmed, before adding: "And it'll be in the summer of 2014. We'll be releasing then."
 
As we reported back in December, Bay was already in talks to direct the next installment but hadn't yet been locked down for the job. It now appears that the studio's ploy of luring him back by agreeing to bankroll his lower-budgeted pet project, a thriller set in the world of bodybuilding entitled "Pain or Gain", was a successful one that may just have been the deciding factor in Bay agreeing to return.
 
Di Bonaventura also indicated that though "Transformers 4" will indeed be a reboot of the franchise, it won't be looking backward so much (i.e. "Amazing Spider-Man") as presenting what he termed an "evolution" of the saga.
 
"Again, it's a hybrid because it's a funny thing. I'm not involved with 'Spider-Man,' but what I perceive 'Spider-Man' to be is just a redoing of the whole thing. ['Transformers 4' is] not. It's an evolution. There's still continuity that's going on, yet there will be a lot of new cast," he said. "Whether there's anybody from the first cast, we don't even know yet. The trust is it's going to be a whole new story. The characters that would certainly come along are Optimus and Bumblebee, I'm sure."
 
All of that aside, the producer made sure to stress that they haven't even come up with a story yet, and that recent rumors that Jason Statham was being eyed to star in the reboot were completely unfounded.
 
"No, it's so silly. We have to get a story first," said di Bonaventura of the Statham talk. "You can't pick characters if you don't have a story."
 
Bay had previously claimed that "Transformers 3" would be his last outing in the franchise, which may well have been nothing more than a clever negotiating tactic. In any case, he'll likely shoot "Pain or Gain" first before embarking on his next "Transformers" expedition.
 
Are you happy Bay will be coming back, or were you hoping for a completely fresh start for the "Transformers" franchise? Let us know what you think in the comments!