As a preemptive measure, DreamWorks and Paramount announced a July 1, 2011 release date in IMAX 3-D for a third Transformers film before completion of Revenge of the Fallen. Director Michael Bay responded, "I said I was taking off a year from Transformers. Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers 3—they asked me on the phone—I said yes to July 1—but for 2012—whoops! Not 2011! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots."
On October 1, 2009, Bay revealed that Transformers: The Dark of the Moon had already gone into pre-production, and its planned release was back to its originally intended date of July 1, 2011 rather than 2012. Filming started in May 2010, with shooting locations including Chicago, Florida, and Moscow. Due to the revived interest in 3-D technology brought in by the success of Avatar, talks between Paramount, Industrial Light & Magic and Bay have considered the possibility of the next Transformers film to be filmed in 3-D and testing is being performed in bringing the technology into Bay's work. Later it was revealed Bay does not want to go in that direction. Michael Bay is reluctant to film with 3-D cameras since in test he's found them to be too clunky for his filming style, but he doesn't want to implement the technology in post production either since he is not pleased with the results.
In a hidden extra for the Blu-ray version of Revenge of the Fallen, Bay expressed his intention to make Transformers 3 not necessarily larger than Revenge of the Fallen, but instead go deeper into the mythos, give it more character development, and make it darker and more emotional. Shortly after the release of Revenge of the Fallen, Orci said he would like to introduce Unicron "for scale's sake", and Unicron is seen during the Transformers: The Dark of the Moon preview video in the Revenge of the Fallen Blu-ray edition, but no comment is made on the subject.
Having been called Transformers 3 up to that point, the film's final title was revealed to be The Dark of the Moon in October 2010.
As of March 19, 2010, the script was said to be finished, and pre-shoots began on April 7, 2010 in Indiana, which will portray Ukraine and Los Angeles. Filming began on May 18. First six weeks are in Los Angeles. Filming locations of LA are including Sherman Oaks, Fourth Avenue and 5. Main. Next four weeks take place to Chicago. Filming locations of Chicago are including LaSalle Street, Michigan Avenue, Bacino's of Lincoln Park at 2204 North Lincoln Avenue and around the "Sears Tower". The Michigan Ave scene is filled with crashing and explosions. Filming in Detroit was planned at August. But filming Chicago was extended until 1st Setpember. In late September filming is going to Washington, D.C. and Florida, just before the launch of Space Shuttle mission STS-133. The Washington filming is on the National Mall. Michael Bay says 'We will have a car race on the National Mall. There are two announced locations, the Milwaukee Art Museum and an old factory location of Tower Automotive, currently under redevelopment as mixed use including City of Milwaukee equipment yard, where filming will take place after Chicago. On September 23, filming was taking place at the former city hall in Detroit, MI. In October 16, filming takes place to Johnson Space Center in Texas with meaning to shoot haircuts from the late 1960s. Other planned filming locations included Africa, Moscow, and China. The film will be shot entirely with the Alexa Pace 3D Camera system rather than converting the footage into 3D during post-production.
Filming was temporarily delayed on September 2, 2010 in Hammond, Indiana, when an extra was seriously injured during a stunt. The extra, identified as Gabriella Cedillo, had to undergo brain surgery after her car was struck by a flying metal object. Cedillo was not part of the stunt crew and she was 500 feet away from the stunt scene. The injury has left her permanently brain-damaged, paralyzed on her left side and her left eye stitched shut. As a result, Paramount took responsibility for the accident and decided to cover all medical costs incurred by Cedillo. In spite of this, on October 5, Cedillo's family filed a lawsuit, which cites seven counts of negligence against Paramount, D.W. Studios and several other defendants (not including Bay), with total damages sought in excess of US$350,000.
Then, on October 11, while filming a chase scene at 3rd Street and Maryland Avenue, SW, a Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police K9 Unit SUV struck the Camaro that portrays Bumblebee in the film. The area had been closed off by the DC police, and it is not clear why the SUV got in it. Both drivers were uninjured, but the Camaro was severely damaged. The crash will reportedly be added into the script.
According to representatives for Paramount, Megan Fox will not appear in the film because Bay ultimately chose not to renew Fox's role, although representatives for the actress said that it was her decision to leave the film franchise. With Fox not reprising her role, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was chosen to play Sam's new love interest. Ken Jeong will have an undisclosed role in the film, and Kym Whitley has declared being involved in the shoots. A casting call for extras for the film has been said to call for actors to play Iranian military men for scenes to be filmed in Los Angeles, and reportedly the Ukrainian army will be involved as well.
Some of the Autobots have undergone some minor visual modifications for the third film in the series.
It has been said that two robot assassins that will appear and murder humans in a scene to be filmed in Sherman Oaks. A black Dodge Charger SRT-8 is rumoured to appear as a Decepticon. There will be a scene which will involve a huge Decepticon tipping over a building which Sam is in.
A red Chevrolet Silverado, was spotted with tinted windows but it is unknown if they are Transformers. Also another Peterbilt truck attached with a Cement Trailer and a Volvo truck were spotted being used in a chase sequence and are believed to be Transformers. A Maybach 62 Landaulet, a JetTrain, a Black/Orange Chevrolet Impala were spotted and are believed to be Transformers. A red Chevrolet Camaro was also spotted on set.