It's official: Say hello to Mark Wahlberg as the new "Transformers" star. Director Michael Bay confirmed that the 41-year-old "Ted" actor will replace the 26-year-old Shia LaBeouf for the fourth movie in the franchise based on the Hasbro toys. And fans on the Web seemed to have had a role in the decision.
After first denying rumors that he was working with Wahlberg on a different film project, director Michael Bay appeared to reconsider. He wrote on his website, "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."
Bay added a hat tip to fans on the Web: "Let's say that very internet chatter gave me some ideas…so I'm here to say thanks internet chatter."
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Predictably, there was plenty of Internet chatter on the Wahlberg news.
Total Film opined, "Perhaps now all those Shia-haters will have a leading man to rally behind."
Tart comments on Entertainment Weekly included Gerry's "You're welcome, Michael Bay. Now please, stop making these." Heather added, "I don't even like these movies but I'll go see this one just for Mark!"
Over on IMDb, BVictor1 wrote: "Bay called Wahlberg the 'perfect guy to re-invigorate the franchise and carry on the Transformers' legacy' How about a decent story line." Marc Valenzuela posted, "I'm OFFICIALLY game! Let's see Mark Wahlberg take the robot reigns in which Shia LaBeouf stepped down from. I have the utmost respect for both of them." But Judy Thompson was disappointed at the switch in stars. She wrote, "No more Shia? I probably won't be seeing the next one, then!"
Ricardo Cardoza imagined Wahlberg's dialogue in the movie (inspired by Andy Samberg's impression from "Saturday Night Live"): "Hey Bumblebee, so you don't talk huh? I like that! You're made of steel huh? Yeah, so are my biceps! Say hi to your mutha for me!"
Screen Rant added a thought on plot: "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." Ted Consolacion on IMDb added, "Maybe Wahlberg is the older Witwicky."
Whatever the direction of the next film, Bay has good reason to keep the sci-fi franchise going. The last movie, which opened in 2011 — "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" — made over a billion dollars worldwide and became the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time. The fourth movie will hit theaters on June 27, 2014.
Watch trailers for 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon':