Despite an ambiguous couple of months in which it appeared as though Skyfall director Sam Mendes would return to helm the yet untitled Bond 24, it was announced today that, nope, he won’t be back in charge for the next phase of 007 adventures. Speaking to British film magazine Empire in a recent interview, the American Beauty director had this to say on the matter:

“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.”

Despite these commitments, Mendes has stated that he would be keen to return to the Bond franchise at some point in the near future:

“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.”

The interview also managed to nab opinions from producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, both of whom are looking forward to the possibility of another Sam Mendes Bond movie. Here’s what they said:

“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, yes, after months of speculation and with fans and producers alike trying to convince Mendes back into the hot-seat, we can confirm that – for now, at least – the director won’t be taking on Bond 24. Which leaves us with one exciting question: who the heck will nab themselves the elusive gig?

Are you disappointed or relieved that Mendes won’t be returning? What did you make of Skyfall? Who should direct Bond 24? Let us know in the comments section below.

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This article was first posted on March 6, 2013