2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction was meant to be a clean break for the critically-beleaguered-but-financially-lucrative Transformers franchise. It more than ably did its job, paving the way not only for a direct sequel – now officially titled Transformers: The Last Knight – but for Hasbro Studios’s plans to create a fully-fleshed-out Transformers cinematic universe.

Details on The Last Knight have proven scarce thus far, but as production begins to ramp up for the start of principal photography next month, we’re starting to get more and more details.

In a tweet by the official Transformers account (see below), we now have one more piece of the still-emerging puzzle: Josh Duhamel (Misconduct, Bravetown) will be returning as NEST commander – and stunt-defying – Colonel Will “Wild Bill” Lennox in The Last Knight. The tweet was short and sweet, but it’s obviously meant to rile up the fan base, as the venerable military man, who was featured in each of the first three Transformers films, was nowhere to be seen in Age of Extinction.

While it’s unknown if this particular development will foreshadow a number of other previous narrative elements – characters, locations, or, of course, the Transformers themselves – popping back up in the fifth installment, the odds are looking increasingly good for audiences to expect a reunion to some degree or another. Given that director Michael Bay has claimed that The Last Knight will be his last Transformers movie – yes, for real this time – it’s likely that he’ll want to make it as memorable as possible while also touching upon as many story threads as he realistically can.

Here’s a more interesting angle to consider: while it’s entirely possible that Colonel Lennox will be trotted out to simply have one further adventure with his Autobot allies, it could very well be that Bay has specifically included him in order to provide a more final – and, of course, dramatic – touch to the film, something to mark it as being bigger and (in theory) better than the four chapters that have come before. Perhaps Lennox will be added to the mix in order to continue the franchise’s occasional forays with death – and, perhaps, this will only be the first of several such resolutions of various character arcs or plot threads.

Then again, this is a meta-franchise now, one that has already been announced to contain two further sequels, along with the whole slew of spinoffs and prequels (such as the Bumblee one). Killing off characters just may not be in the cards in the same way that Marvel Studios refuses to off one of its central superheroes – there are far too many additional stories that have yet to be told.

NEXT: Transformers 5 Gets a Poster & Official Title

Transformers: The Last Knight opens in U.S. theaters on June 23rd, 2017, followed by the Bumblebee spinoff on June 8th, 2018, and Transformers 6 on June 28th, 2019.

Source: Paramount Pictures