In the quest for link bait, Variety has posted the theory claiming that Paramount and Hasbro are looking to shoot Transformers 4 and 5 back to back (like the Hobbit films) to save on production costs. They also resurrected the rumor that Jason Statham is being considered for the lead role. They cite sources close to planning but no specifics on why the sources are credible.
It is equally plausible for me to cite imaginary sources claiming the next movie will be all CGI on the planet Cybertron, using filming techniques and technology pioneered by Avatar. I have nothing to back this up, but it is just as plausible a scenario with the complete lack of information currently available. The speculation itself doesn't bother me. It is the framing of the article that fails to make this clear while citing various reasons why this manufactured theory is possible to give it credibility.
Long story short, the news remains the same - Hasbro and Paramount want tohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif make Transformers 4 with Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay. In general, the path to a green light on TF4 and the hypothetical TF5 will work out something like this. Hasbro and Paramount work out a deal with Spielberg and Bay. Bay chooses to direct or not direct. If not direct, then the hunt for a director begins. Meanwhile, they will probably begin looking for a writer(s). Once these two elements are hired, then an outline will be developed with an eye to sequels.
If the outline is strong enough and lends itself to a fifth movie (or trilogy), then Paramount will make the budget decisions like how much money they want to spend and if a back to back shoot is best. Until they have the core team in place with at least a seed of an idea of the story, decisions like cast, budget, and filming schedule tend to be very hard to nail down. Feasible, but difficult. Considering the costs of the franchise ($200 million plus) and how lucrative they are ($1.1 billion plus), there really is no point in jumping ahead of the process when there is no meaningful benefit in doing so.