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New Transformers sequel slated for 2017, as the franchise’s universe sets for expansion

It came to light last month that Paramount Pictures had big plans for the Transformers franchise — plans that involved hiring a team of writers to map out a cinematic universe for Hasbro’s famous shape-shifting robots. Now it looks like we might see the fruits of the studio’s labors in the very near future, with the next film in the franchise expected to premiere in 2017.

During Hasbro’s recent 2015 Q1 Earnings Conference Call, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner not only confirmed the existence of the Transformers “writing room,” shepherded by Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful MindI Am Legend), but also indicated that the company wants to see the follow-up to Transformers: Age of Extinction arrive in theaters at some point in 2017.

Related: Paramount plans cinematic universe around Transformers franchise

“Our plan right now with the studio and filmmakers, you may have read something about some writers being hired,” said Goldner during the conference call (as reported by TFW2005). “We have in fact brought in [Akiva Goldsman] to lead a group of writers to really create a strategic plan around Transformers. We think there’s any number of stories to be told. It’s a brand that’s been around for 30 years with amazing canon and mythology. We would expect the sequel to the Transformers movie to happen in 2017.”

Little is known about the company’s specific plans for the franchise, but there’s been mention of spin-offs and standalone movies in the works akin to Disney’s approach to the Star Wars franchise.

Goldsman is reportedly leading a group of writers along with franchise director Michael Bay and producers Steven Spielberg and Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Goldsman isn’t expected to write any of the films himself, though, and will instead oversee their development and the evolution of the narrative elements of the franchise.

Mark Wahlberg, who starred in the recent Age Of Extinction has confirmed that he signed a multi-movie deal with Paramount to star in potential sequels to the film.

While it earned mixed reviews, Transformers: Age of Extinction was the only film to cross the $1 billion mark globally last year and was the seventh highest-grossing film of the year in the U.S. The four films in the franchise so far have earned more than $3.7 billion together, with 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon tallying the highest worldwide box office of all the installments in the series so far with $1.12 billion in ticket sales.