The Shia LaBeouf Transformers role saw him play the human hero Sam Witwicky in the first three installments of the franchise, however, there was no chance for a Shia LaBeouf Transformers 4 return. Although he left the franchise in 2011, the Transformers films are still among LaBeouf’s best performances at the box office — but the movie’s commercial success has not been enough to keep him interested in returning to the franchise. Sam does not feature in the later sequels, which naturally raised plenty of questions as to where the character had ended up.
This seemed especially weird to some audiences, as he had gone from the main character in the series to a figure who is only briefly alluded to in Transformers 5 — and even then, only to suggest Sam Witwicky died off-screen sometime between the films. Put simply, the Shia LaBeouf Transformers 4 return didn’t happen because he felt Sam’s story was over with the completion of the initial trilogy. While promoting Dark of The Moon, LaBeouf confirmed (via MTV) that he was leaving the franchise, saying “I just don’t think there’s anywhere to take it with Sam.”
Labeouf Thought The Transformers Movies Lacked Purpose
The Shia LaBeouf Transformers role has led the actor to call out the film’s lack of purpose. In a 2018 interview (via Esquire) he described the films as “irrelevant” compared to more grounded stories. LaBeouf’s acting credits following his departure from Transformers 4 prove that he is motivated to be part of more relatable stories which do not rely on CGI effects and roles that grant him creative freedom, such as LaBeouf’s performance in the acclaimed Honey Boy. As for Transformers, the franchise has continued to be a success without Shia LaBeouf. Transformers 4, the series’ highest-grossing film, replaces Sam with Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager.
Cade teams up with the Autobots to defeat Lockdown, a bounty hunting Transformer chasing Optimus Prime. The series also introduced a Bumblebee spin-off that shares similarities to the original Transformers and is considered the best Transformers film by many critics. The franchise is set to continue to grow without LaBeouf, with a Bumblebee sequel in development. While he didn’t appear in Transformers 4, given Shia LaBeouf’s star power and his importance to the series, he’s not entirely out of the running for future installments — though the franchise would have to qualify why he isn’t dead should he appear any time after Transformers 5.
Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager vs. LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky: Who’s Better?
Both the Shia LeBeouf and Mark Wahlberg Transformers characters have strengths and weaknesses — but which character is better? A key criticism of the Transformers franchise is its lack of intelligent and dynamic female characters, as well as Witwicky and Yeager’s treatment of them. After the first Transformers, the quality of the writing arguably took a downward turn, adding legitimacy to LaBeouf’s excuse for leaving. While Sam Witwicky was a great character, he was worse whenever he had a love interest. Starting in Transformers 2, Witwicky became cockier, more arrogant, and more inclined to take people for granted, especially when it came to his treatment of Carly.
Cade Yeager faced similar problems in his treatment of his daughter, who spends most of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction occupying a damsel-in-distress role. His character did manage to poke fun at Witwicky’s machismo as displayed in the previous three movies, but it wasn’t really enough to strike up a favorable comparison. Ultimately, the complaints Yeager was the same as Sam Witwicky, but older, held weight – the main Transformers movies never had a lead to match the stature and impact of the Autobots, and neither Witwicky nor Yeager had the long-term charisma the franchise needed. Shia LaBeouf was justified in making good his escape from the character and franchise.
Could Shia LaBeouf Ever Return To Transformers?
Anyone who wanted to see a Shia LaBeouf Transformers 4 ended up disappointed. On top of feeling that Sam’s story was finished, LaBeough also said that the heart was missing from the franchise and the human element was gone from the story. To top it off, LaBeouf didn’t even seem to care about the money involved in starring in a franchise like this, backing out and moving on to smaller, more dramatic roles. It is hard to see LaBeouf in any big-budget franchise in 2023. There is also the problem that LeBeouf has nothing but bad memories of the entire time in the franchise.
LeBeouf was 20 when he joined the Transformers franchise, and he had since revealed the downside to appearing in a franchise this large. When picked to star in the role, LeBeouf had some smaller roles in his past and a successful TV show, but he has since said he was plagued by insecurity since he earned that role. This is because, while the movies were hugely successful, they also had detractors and many of them focused on LeBeouf, who said that he took the complaints that he was a bad blockbuster actor personally. He said he was trying to find his confidence and skill set, and the Transformers movies made it very hard.
“I was 23, 24. I was a scared actor who thought he was sh*t. The world thought I was sh*t. It was sort of like, ‘Hey, he’s the Transformers kid trying to be a real actor over here.’ So I was bucking against my insecurity, I was desperate to prove myself.”
The next Transformers movies have nothing to do with the Sam Witwicky story. This tale takes place in the past, a prequel to the series LaBeouf appeared in. However, the door is not closed on Michael Bay returning to the franchise in the future for a different direction, possibly taking his series of movies and moving them forward. LaBeouf has even said he loves working with Bay and would return to anything he wanted to do, but he doesn’t see it going anywhere with Sam (via The Guardian). Possibly, if Michael Bay made a movie similar to Honey Boy, LaBeouf might re-team with the director – not with Transformers.