The biggest news to come out since Transformers 3 began production three weeks ago was the announcement that Megan Fox was out and Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was in as the film’s eye candy female lead.

There are now some photos from the Transformers 3 set that provide – among other things – an early look at the new vehicle design of Autobots Rachet and Ironhide, as well as Huntington-Whiteley on set.  In addition, we have the scoop on the current status of Michael Bay and Co.’s plans to film part of the third giant robots flick in Washington D.C.

Transformers 3 will see Shia LaBeouf return as the young Sam Witwicky, who will undoubtedly spend most of his screen time either running for his life while giant CGI robots wreck havoc around him, or flirting awkwardly with his new love interest, played by Huntington-Whiteley.  Will the two young leads be able to recreate the (*cough*) sizzling chemistry that LaBeouf and Fox had in the first two Transformers movies?  Only time will tell, my fellow Screen Rant readers.

You can take a first look at Huntington-Whiteley on the set of Transformers 3 below:

Those less interested in the human characters of Transformers 3 – no matter how good they look in flimsy lingerie – can enjoy these new vehicle photos which include (in order) the new design for emergency vehicle Ratchet, pickup truck Ironhide (next to a largely covered Optimus Prime), and the U.S. Army Sky Warrior planes that will appear in the film as well.

Check out these new pics below:

Finally, the Washington Post has reported that Paramount and Dreamworks officials are working out plans to film a portion of Transformers 3 on location in the city of Washington D.C.  Despite the obvious business the $200 + million project would (temporarily) bring in, the issue of just how long Michael Bay and his crew will be working there is up in the air for now.

Here’s the official word on that matter:

A dispute with the [D.C.] Park Service, however, over where and what the film crew [of Transformers 3] will be allowed to shoot has producers from Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks scaling back their plans for the city.  The companies had planned a colossal number of filming days — about 14 — in addition to an expected month or more of time in D.C. for other production needs.  Now that period of “principal photography” might be whittled down to less than a week, despite the project having director Michael Bay and producer Steven Spielberg at the helm.

Part of the problem is related to just what Bay and his Transformers crew want to do in the city – the likes of which includes staging an elaborate “car race” at the National Mall and “simulated explosions and pyrotechnics at locations along Pennsylvania and Independence avenues.” As D.C. Park Service spokesman Bill Line puts it,“[the filmmakers] have asked to do some things that simply are not done…”

What do you make of this?  Are you confused as to how Washington D.C. officials might’ve expected anything else from Bay and his Transformers crew?  Does Transformers 3 sound and look like it’ll be an even bigger version of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in terms of, well, everything?

Transformers 3 will arrive in theaters in the U.S. on July 1st, 2011.

Source: Flickr, Washington Post (via SuperHeroHype)