While fans of the James Bond franchise continue to wonder whether Daniel Craig will return to the role of 007 or if another actor will replace him, Skyfall and Spectre director Sam Mendes, a key contributor to the revitalization of Bond, has firmly announced that he won’t helm the next film in the spy series. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters,” Mendes told The Associated Press.
“It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it,” the Academy Award-winning American Beauty director added of working on the Bond series. “But I think it’s time for somebody else.”
Craig has similarly made comments in the wake of Spectre about his desire to move on from the 007 role, and while his departure has not yet been confirmed, actors like Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Jamie Bell are reportedly vying for the role.
Mendes didn’t offer whether Craig will follow him out of the franchise, but the director noted, “It’s not a democracy… [longtime Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli decides who is going to be the next Bond, end of story.”
However, this isn’t the first time Mendes has promised to step away from the Bond series, only to return again. In 2013, following the success of commercial and critical success of Skyfall, Mendes said in a statement that he had made “a very difficult decision not to accept” the producers’ offer “to direct the next Bond movie.”
“Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theater and other commitments… that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond,” Mendes said at the time. Four months later, it was revealed that Mendes would indeed direct the follow-up to Skyfall, Spectre.