After weeks of rumors linking Mark Wahlberg to the planned sequel/reboot Transformers 4, and less than a day since director Michael Bay claimed those were just rumors - rumors that had gotten him thinking about casting the Oscar-nominated actor - it's official. Mark Wahlberg will star in Transformers 4.
The plot of the movie is still largely unknown, but if Optimus Prime is going to appear, his mother should probably prepare to be said 'hello' to.
This isn't the first time that Bay has made some big decisions with the franchise on the fly, after he previously claimed that Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon would be his last. It was a ride on a Universal Studios roller coaster that convinced him the fourth time would be the charm, so perhaps decisions like this sudden casting should've been expected.
The pair just worked together on Bay's upcoming 'smaller' film Pain and Gain, alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. The production must have gone particularly well between the actor and director, since the Internet fervor over Wahlberg's possible involvement in the Hasbro franchise partially convinced Bay to make the offer.
Bay's official comment on Wahlberg's casting follows, promising ambitious things for the future of the brand:
"Mark is awesome. We had a blast working on 'Pain and Gain' and I’m so fired up to be back working with him. An actor of his caliber is the perfect guy to re-invigorate the franchise and carry on the 'Transformers’ legacy."
Now that the next chapter in the Transformers franchise has a star around which to build itself, the 'legacy' can go in any number of directions. With an Academy Award-nominated actor front and center, as opposed to Shia Lebouf's permanently-flustered Sam Witwicky, the reports of Transformers 4 telling a darker story carry a bit more water.
Along with the casting announcement comes a reveal of the film's logo treatment, though it's still missing a subtitle. Whether or not Paramount will stick with the '4' or come up with a catchy rider remains to be seen. Check the logo out below:
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Some may have hoped that a leading man being cast in the film would give some sense of the direction the writers might take with the story, but with Wahlberg, it's not so easy to discern. Considering the actor's most recent roles - The Fighter and Ted - it could go any number of ways. Given Michael Bay's track record, it's most likely that the film will land somewhere between action and comedy, in which case Wahlberg's casting makes perfect sense.
It's hard to believe that a Transformers movie will trade laughs for tears, since that seems out of character for both the source material and director's strengths. The darker sections of Transformers: Dark of the Moon were the source of its biggest problems for some people, so hopefully Bay and company have learned a few lessons.
Wahlberg marks just the first member of the apparently completely new cast of humans and robots, and all things considered, will go a long way toward giving T4 a notably different tone than those that preceded it. The film itself will have to deliver genuine quality, but at least this casting news will pique people's curiosity. When we're talking about the fourth installment of a hotly-debated series, that in itself is an accomplishment.
What's your take on Wahlberg's casting? Think he's right for the franchise going forward? If he is, would you rather see a role closer to Ted or The Departed?
Transformers 4 opens in theaters on June 27th, 2014.
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