Despite recent comments from producer Don Murphy and director Michael Bay, it appears Paramount has set a release date for Transformers 2 -- June 26, 2009. It's still a long while off, which means anything can happen, but Paramount doesn't seem concerned about the impending Hollywood strike, and wants everyone to know they're moving ahead with a sequel to one of this year's top grossing films. As it sits right now, its only competition will be coming from the animated Ice Age III, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters over the July 4th weekend in 2009.

From here, your guess is as good as ours regarding the involvement of Transformers director Michael Bay. Earlier this month, Bay told fans via his message boards that he was "itching to work pre-strike," and that he might "jump ship and come back a year or so later cause people at the studio have been dragging for two months." With a release date of June 26, 2009, Bay should have plenty of time to fit in another movie or two (he did want to shoot a smaller pic about a bunch of guys at a gym -- no idea what that's about), and the film he could take on in the meantime is 2012, which we told you about earlier today. But, with a strike and all, would Bay even have time to complete 2012 for summer 2008? I mean, that's in, like, a few months from now -- and there's no cast, no start date and tons of special effects work to be done, I imagine. Regardless, fans can finally start anticipating a Transformers sequel. Which robots will return? Will new robots would you like to see show up? And will they once again try to convince us that Shia LaBeouf could, in fact, land a girl that looks like Megan Fox? I mean, c'mon ...

Edited to change release date.

[via Coming Soon]