Michael Bay Decided to Do Transformers 4 After a Lot of Soul Explosions — er, I mean, Soul Searching

Michael BayI gotta admit, when Michael Bay said he was done with the “Transformers” franchise I sort of believe him, even though he’s gone back on his word before. But hey, who hasn’t? Then again, after three movies and annihilating most of the United States in robot mayhem, what exactly is there left to do? So it made perfect sense for the explosion master to move on to other, bigger explosions. Then he changed his mind and he’s now set to direct the fourth “Transformers” movie, tentatively scheduled for 2014.

So what prompted the change of heart? Universal Studios Hollywood and the Transformers theme ride, as it turns out. The director tells Huffpo (while promoting something relating to Doritos, apparently):

I thought I was done. Then the ride came out [at Universal Studios Hollywood] and the two-and-a-half-hour lines. And then you’re thinking, Oh my God, someone’s going to take this over. And you start doing a lot of soul-searching. Like, OK, I’m about to do a little movie, “Pain & Gain” … and the studio says they want to restart the franchise. And someone could come in here and screw it up, you know? So I’m thinking that if I do this last one, we set it on a new footing, we change a lot of things — but we keep the history of the three in place. But we broaden it so it can be set up and be carried on — it would have a better chance for survival, I guess. You know?

I know, Michael, I know. He goes on:

So it was just one of those things. It’s like, when you look what’s going on in the film business with the franchise frenzy right now, why is Cameron doing two more “Avatar” movies? Why is Peter Jackson doing three more “Hobbit” movies that are in the same world as “Lord of the Rings”? When you have a franchise, it’s very hard to give it up.

Of course, the franchise making gazillions of dollars doesn’t hurt, either. Besides the salary, I’m sure Bay also makes a nice chunk of change in back-end profits, too.

And oh, when prompted about Peter Cullen, the man behind Optimus Prime’s impossible to replace voice, recent inference of the Autobot leader’s demise (or at least, absence) from the fourth movie is wrong. Bay confirms that Cullen will indeed return for the fourth “Transformers” movie, replying to a question about Cullen’s possible return with an emphatic, “Of course! Of course.”

So there you have it, kids. Why did Michael Bay come back to direct “Transformers 4″? You can thank Universal Studios Hollywood’s 2-hour line wait. And don’t forget: