Mendes not returning to Bond, and that's a good thing
Sam Mendes has announced that he's not returning to direct the next Bond film and it seems that most people are unhappy about that. Why not? After all he did direct one of the best new Bond films we've seen.
However, I'm rather happy about it and that's even though I enjoyed Skyfall.
Let's first put this in perspective. There have been three Bond films with the new Bond, and I don't just mean Daniel Craig at the helm, I mean the whole reboot and restyled version of Bond. Just three films one of which was success in Casino Royale (Filmstalker review), one which was not such a success in Quantum of Solace (Filmstalker review) and ended the trilogy that was planned, and a third film, the final film, which was a success with Skyfall (Filmstalker review).
That's three films, two successful, and three different directors.
If you look back at the entire franchise directors have popped in and out again and again, it's all about Bond, not even the leading actor really matters. Bond prevails above all.
So why should we be concerned that Sam Mendes is not returning for another film, at least not just yet anyway?
Speaking to Empire Magazine, from a story found through The Hollywood Reporter, he said:
"It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael [Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli'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 theater 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 did go on to say that he hoped to work with them again in the future, and who wouldn't, after all you know that the franchise is going to outlive your career regardless of whoever is involved.
Mind you there's a big step here. Bond retains the leading man of Daniel Craig, loses the director and the two main writers on the franchise of late, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade who have written for two non-Craig Bond films as well, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. Mind you, they were also writing on Quantum of Solace.
The story points out that Skyfall has been the most successful Bond film to date but that doesn't mean that Mendes could do it again and looking back on the history of Bond it has been the changes that have kept it alive, kept it growing, and kept making more successful film after more successful film, albeit with plenty of drops on the way.
Meanwhile John Logan who is writing the next Bond film has revealed to the BBC that the script is going well but isn't revealing a thing. He has some big shoes to fill too but remember they've had their downs as well as ups.
Mendes has other jobs to work on and who knows if his calendar was free maybe he would tackle the film, but even if he was free surely it's better to move onto a new director. It's not as if there's a trilogy to destroy nor will the franchise be harmed by a bad film, and that holds true for the leading actor as well, just look how well they bounced back from Quantum of Solace.