It may boast all new characters, but Michael Bay insists "Transformers 4" isn't a reboot - at least, not technically speaking.

"That’s maybe the wrong word,” Bay told the LA Times' Hero Complex in an interview published earlier today. “I don’t want to say reboot because then people will think we’re doing a Spider-Man and starting from the beginning. We’re not. We’re taking the story that you’ve seen — the story we’ve told in three movies already — and we’re taking it in a new direction. But we’re leaving those three as the history. It all still counts. I met with the writer before I went off to do ‘Pain and Gain’ and we talked about a bunch of ideas. We let that simmer for a bit. He’s been thinking about stuff and now we’re getting back together next week to see what we’ve got and to see if it gels.”

Though the script isn't finished, obviously, Bay said that the story may well take the warring robots beyond Earth's atmosphere - something that's been endlessly speculated since the release of the third movie, "Dark of the Moon." That said, don't expect a level of science-fiction anywhere near, say, the "Star Trek" series.

“That feels like the way to go, doesn’t it?" said the director. "I want to go a little off [Earth] but I don’t want to go too sci-fi. I still want to keep it grounded. That’s what works in these movies, that’s what makes it accessible.”

Indeed, "accessible" may be the way to go considering that the studio has scaled back the budget from that of the third film, which came in at a whopping $195 mil. Said Bay: “Our mandate is to cut about $30 million.”

That's right, "Transformers" fans - Michael Bay only has $165 million to spend on his next movie. Good god, what's next? The arthouse? (Actually no, but getting warmer: Bay completed principal photography on his $20 million passion project "Pain and Gain" starring Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg earlier this month.)

Are you excited for "Transformers 4," or would you rather a new director had come on board to steer the franchise in an entirely new direction? Sound off in the comments!