With the Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall being the biggest movie in the James Bond franchise, grossing $1.1 billion worldwide, there were a lot of hopes that the Oscar-winning filmmaker might return for the follow-up being written by John Logan.
Alas, that's not to be, as in an exclusive interview with Empire Magazine, Mendes revealed his decision not to return citing his theatrical obligations to stage "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "King Lear":
“It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond."
He went on to tell them:
"I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future."
Empire also got a response from producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who are also hopeful we'll see another Mendes-directed Bond movie in the future:
"We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again."
So there you have it, Mendes has passed and EON Productions are looking for a director to follow in his footsteps and carry on with Daniel Craig's fourth movie with a number of new supporting characters played by Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw presumably in the mix.