When I was in Russia this summer for the international press day for "Transformers 3," there was a good deal of conversation about how this was the end of the franchise for Michael Bay and for Shia LaBeouf.

Turns out, that talk may have been a bit premature.

The last story I published, about the "Micronauts" deal, was based in part on information revealed in the Hasbro Q3 earnings call that happened this morning.  During the call, another surprising bit of information was revealed, and now it looks like Paramount, Hasbro, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Bay are all in discussions to continue the franchise.

Duh.

When you make a part three in a series and it makes a billion dollars worldwide, you don't stop making those films.  Not if you're a Hollywood studio.  And so the conversations are underway now, and it looks like Bay is still in the mix despite some of the conversations he had in Moscow about having finally finished with the giant f'ing robots.

I can't say I'm surprised by the idea that they're considering making "Transformers 4" and "Transformers 5" back to back.  It's the same reason Disney is still talking about doing "Pirates Of The Caribbean 5" and "Pirates Of The Caribbean 6" back to back.  It's simply easier on a logistical level for the studio to pay for one giant shoot that they can then break into two movies with two separate post-production schedules.  It's also easier to schedule, because even if it's a long shoot, once it's done, you've got it all in the can, and the cast can go do other things.

I hope they keep Rosie Huntington-Whitely, especially if they really do cast Jason Statham in the lead this time.  I also hope that they just hire Statham to play Sam Witwicky and don't explain the difference in any way.

Right now, Ehren Kruger, who had sole screenplay credit on the third film, is said to be developing the dual sequels, but there's no start date at the moment, nor have they negotiated deals to bring everyone back.  I'm sure we'll here more in the near future as Paramount gets their ducks in a row to keep the giant robots fighting for at least two more movies.