Director Michael Bay makes it official in an announcement on his personal website

Mark Wahlberg has signed up to star in Transformers 4.

Earlier this week, director Michael Bay hinted that Wahlberg was in the frame after rumours began circulating online. The pair recently worked together on an action comedy called Pain And Gain, which is due for release early next year (2013).

Now Bay has confirmed Wahlberg’s casting in a post on his personal website. He said in a statement: “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 calibre is the perfect guy to re-invigorate the franchise and carry on the Transformers legacy.”

The fourth Transformers movie will be the first without Shia LaBeouf, who declined to reprise his role as franchise hero Sam Witwicky. Last month (September 4), it was revealed that the sequel will introduce a new cast of robot characters in a bid to boost toy sales.

Speaking this June (2012), Bay hinted that Transformers 4 will take the franchise in a “new direction”, and suggested that it could involve a departure from planet Earth. He said at the time: “I want to go a little off but I don’t want to go too sci-fi. I still want to keep it grounded.”

Transformers 4 is set to begin shooting next spring (2013) for a June 2014 release. The previous three Transformers movies have grossed a collective $2.6 billion (£1.7 billion) at the box office worldwide.