After wrapping up Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which he had intended to be his final entry in the series, Bay filmed his longtime passion project, Pain & Gain. A dark action-comedy inspired by a real Florida kidnapping gone awry, that film stars Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as a pair of bodybuilders who end up in an extortion scheme with no small amount of grisly violence.
While finishing up work on that "small little movie" scheduled for April 26, 2013, Bay is developing Transformers 4. Since Shia LaBeouf fulfilled his contract on the third film, it was clear that the next Transformers would need a new human lead to replace Sam Witwicky. In early November, a rumor emerged that Wahlberg might join the sequel, and though Bay initially denied Wahberg's involvement, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro announced that he joined the movie mere days later.
While promoting his new drama Broken City, Wahlberg shared that his children are enthusiastic about his involvement, saying, "It’s the first time that they are excited for me to go do a movie and they demand to be in it!"
Asked what he could say about Transformers 4, the actor replied,
"Just that I had a great experience working with Michael. We really hit it off. We complement each other so well on set and we took something that was really good and I think we made something special with Pain and Gain. He said to me (on set), 'What do you think about doing a Transformers movie with me?' I said, 'Well, what do you want me to do? He told me and I said, 'Absolutely!' I think it will be the most challenging role that I’ve played and it’s an opportunity for me to do something extremely different. It’s going to be very different from what the first ones were. I’m excited about it. I talked to Steven Spielberg and I talked to Brian Grazer and I said, 'Don’t worry guys, this is not me taking a paycheck and running with it. This is me trying to … I liked what the guys did with like The Avengers, for instance. When I watched that movie I was not interested in seeing it at all but it was entertaining for me as well as for my kids. I think they did a really good job and we want to do something special with it, so I’m excited about it."
Ehren Kruger, who contributed to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and has sole credit on the Transformers: Dark of the Moon script, is currently writing the sequel. It's said that Transformers 4 won't be a reboot, but it will introduce new Earthling characters. Familiar Transformers like Optimus Prime will also be joined by new robots in disguise so as to ensure robust toy sales.
After returning to the property for this new sequel, Bay has stated emphatically that Transformers 4 will "absolutely" be his final Transformers movie, and it's unknown whether or not Wahlberg's character is meant to return for the pretty much guaranteed Transformers 5.
The fourth entry in the Transformers franchise is scheduled to arrive in theaters nationwide on June 29, 2014. Given the success of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, it's almost guaranteed to be in 3D, so make sure you've got your Rogue 3D Eyewear ready well in advance.