class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-22676″ style=”margin: 10px” src=”×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”220″ height=”150″ />The big news a few weeks ago was the departure of Megan Fox from the Transformers franchise. At first she was pushed, then her ‘people’ claimed she did, in fact, jump. So which is it? And what does it mean, if anything, for the success of Transformers 3?

Paramount’s official line was that Fox’s option for the third film simply hadn’t been picked up, that director Michael Bay wanted to look at a different choice for the love interest for Sam Whitwicky, as played by Shia LaBeouf. A spokesperson for Fox then came out and said Fox had walked due to ‘abusive and offensive behaviour’ aimed towards her by director Bay. I’m not really in a position to sort the wheat from the chafe as regards the true story, but my job does involve a little speculation.

Bay’s supposed attitude would be reason enough for either these options. He clearly used Fox as the ‘hot girl’ to draw in the teenage boy audience. Therefore, she would be seen as interchangeable with any other gorgeous female star. This was evidenced by the possible replacements that were immediately named. The first name mentioned was Gemma Arterton, who can be considered a natural beauty, and she has shown some talent for acting. After that, however, a parade of ‘actresses’ names were thrown around, many models with no previous experience. Then last week it was finally officially revealed that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a Victoria’s Secret model no less, had been given the role. This backs both arguments.

Firstly, it is clear that Bay’s first priority is looks over talent, which certainly supports the idea that he felt Fox was easily replaceable. It also speaks for his attitude towards female actresses in general. If he is happy to pick a model with no history of acting, then Fox’s claims of misogynistic treatment can also be believed. If he had so little regard for her abilities as an actress that she could be replaced by a catwalk model, it isn’t a stretch to believe he tried to push her around.

Thinking outside the box, i originally thought that it could be that neither of these explanations were true. A string of respected actors have been added to the cast of Transformers 3, including the likes of John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. I was considering the possibility that Michael Bay had had an epiphany, and decided that he wanted to fill his next movie with outstanding actors, resulting in the culling of one of the weaker performers from the franchise. This looked to be proven completely off the mark immediately, however, considering the list of names we heard linked to the part. If Bay had really been interested in great casting, someone like Carey Mulligan, or an equally talented young actress would have won the role.

Regardless of the reasons behind Fox’s departure, it leaves a bit of a gap in her schedule, and nothing has rushed to fill it so far. Jonah Hex is released this month, and all indications are that it is a disaster. Fox’s next movie to be released after that, Passion Play, stars Mickey Rourke and Bill Murray, and then there is a bit of a question mark. In an interview with MTV last week, Fox spoke a little bit about the Fathom adaptation she has been linked with, and though she didn’t say much, she intimated it might well go ahead without her presence. Aside from modelling for some Armani ads, it looks like Megan Fox may be fading from the spotlight.

Whatever the real story behind Fox’s departure, the big question is, does it make any difference to Transformers 3’s quality, or chances of box office success? I rather glibly pointed out in an article the other week that Megan Fox has shown no bankability in her career to date, with her only big film since joining the Transformers set-up, Jennifer’s Body, showing no real chops at the box office. I do stand by my statement, but at the same time, i think those that say the Transformers franchise made her career are being a little unfair. Fox was a huge selling point for both movies, they were sold to a large extent on her sex appeal, and i do think that she had some influence on Transformers’ huge gross, particularly the second film.

Having said that, i’m not sure that her absence will have a noticeable effect on the third movie’s numbers.She has a distinctive look and personality, and there is a generation of teenage boys that have fallen in love with her. But the boys that were teenagers when the first film was released have now reached an age where they are able to be a bit more discerning with respect to acting ability, and whilst that doesn’t necessarily bode well for their interest in her replacement, there is now a new batch of horny teenage boys ready to be entranced by whoever does end up filling her boots. I’m not a fan of Fox, and having paid full price to see the atrocity that was Transformers 2, at the Imax no less, i have very little interest in the next installment. Part of me however would like to think that there are fans of Fox, and her character, that will not go to see the next film because of her absence. It’ll be impossible to really measure this, though, as i can’t help but think the poor quality of Revenge of the Fallen will itself have an adverse impact on the success of the third film.

I think ultimately, filmmaking is both the winner and loser here. Megan Fox has yet to show a great talent in any of the parts she has played so far, so from an acting standpoint it doesn’t look to be any great loss. Hopefully, as a result of this she will get the opportunity to prove me wrong my taking on a much better part in a much better movie. A third stint as Mikaela Banes was never going to do her credibility as a serious actress any favours, and being cut free of the franchise, whatever the reason, may allow her to show that she can do a whole lot better.

Whoever had been chosen to replace her was not going to bring the Transformers series down any lower in stature, and with the greatest will in the world, even someone with the great acting ability of a Kate Winslet would be hard pressed to elevate Michael Bay’s movies to any great emotional or intellectual level. The Transformers films are popcorn, action heavy effects movies at best, and to expect any more than that is to hold yourself up to nothing but disappointment. To be honest, that casting rumours for Transformers 3 are the biggest news story of any week is a sad affair indeed, and here i am adding fuel to the fire. Ho hum.

Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at