EXCLUSIVE: Two months after Paramount and the Transformers brain trust of Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg and Lorenzo di Bonaventura picked Akiva Goldsman to incubate ideas for a multi-part sequel and spinoff films based on the billion-dollar franchise, they have finalized their “writers room.” And it’s a doozy.

Goldsman’s four-team roster features some of the top names in sci-fi, I’ve learned: Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Iron Man scribes Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, Pacific Rim 2‘s Zak Penn and Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Lost‘s Jeff Pinkner. I’m hearing the ink isn’t even dry on the deals, but that is a major-league lineup to join Goldsman, who is spearheading it all for the studio, Hasbro, Spielberg and Bay (Bay and Goldsman were college buddies at Wesleyan). More writers will be added.

This is a major priority for new Zak Penn Jeff Pinkner 2Motion Picture Group President Marc Evans, who’s tasked with getting more movies made. It marks an intriguing new step as studios put even more of a premium on the care and feeding of tentpole franchises, as is the case with James Cameron’s Avatar sequels and Disney’s process for developing its Marvel tentpoles.

Transformers certainly falls into the category of being worth the time and effort. Age Of Extinction grossed nearly $1.1 billion when it was released last summer and became the top-grossing release ever in China. And despite gross payouts that included Bay and the film’s star Mark Wahlberg, the film still generated $250 million in net profits.