[UPDATED] After Transformers: Dark of the Moon was released last summer, Michael Bay and leading man Shia LeBeouf both said that if there were to be a sequel, they wouldn’t be returning for it.

But then in December last year, we heard news that Michael Bay was in talks to make his return, but still hadn’t decided one way or the other.

Collider are now reporting that not only is Transformers 4 (sub-title forthcoming) eyeing a Summer 2014 release, but producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has officially confirmed in an interview with MTV that Bay will be returning for the fourth time around for a film that will reboot the franchise:

“Yeah Michael’s gonna direct and it’ll be releasing in the summer of 2014. We’re excited and I think the challenge there is we really are gonna do a reboot, and what that’s gonna be we don’t even know yet.”

Definitely sounds like a step in the right direction to me. Di Bonaventura’s been a producer for all three Transformers films so far, so you can assume that he knows what he’s talking about, even when he says that they don’t yet know exactly what the film will be like:

“Well I mean again it’s hybrid. It’s not the way—I’m not involved with Spider-Man but what I perceive Spider-Man to be is a redoing of the whole thing, [Transformers 4] is not. It’s an evolution. There’s still continuity that’s going on, and yet there’ll be a lot of new cast. Whether there’s anybody from the [original] cast, we don’t even know yet. But the truth is, it’s gonna be a whole new story. The characters that would certainly come along would be Optimus and Bumblebee I’m sure.”

As long as they bring back Optimus and Bumblebee, I think most people will be happy, and with Bay behind the camera, clearly knowing what he’s doing with the big blockbusters like these, that should comfortably convert into a healthy box office taking. Dark of the Moon went on to take more than a billion dollars at the international box office, as well as three Oscar nominations in this month’s awards to boot, and it will be interesting to see how a fourth film compares in two years’ time.

MTV’s Josh Horowitz asked the producer about the rumours of Jason Statham taking on the lead for the reboot, which di Bonaventura completely put to bed:

“No, it’s so silly. We’ve gotta get a story first. You can’t pick characters until you have a story.”

Still no word yet on who’ll be penning the script, and as you can tell from di Bonaventura’s comments, there’s no way to know exactly what we can expect from this new reboot. Needless to say, though, the effects will be immense, and if you’ve been a fan of Bay’s first three films, then this is good news for Summer 2014.

What is clear is that Bay will first be making his smaller project, Pain and Gain, with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson this spring, and likely move on to direct the fourth Transformers from there. More news as we get it.

[Update:] And more news has now arrived! With thanks to ComingSoon.net for the heads up, Michael Bay has confirmed through his own site that he’ll be returning for Transformers 4 and the release date is currently set at 29th June, 2014.

“There has been a lot of speculation about what I’m going to do next and when or if I will do another Transformers. So let me set the record straight.

I have just concluded a deal with Paramount to do two movies, but it won’t be two Transformers.

I will first do ‘Pain & Gain’ with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Then I will do the next Transformers for release on June 29, 2014.

– Michael Bay”

So we should be seeing more from Optimus and Bumblebee in less than two and a half years. As you can no doubt tell, I’m already pretty excited.