'Bond 25' Loses Director Danny Boyle Over "Creative Differences" [Updated]

In news that is somehow simultaneously shocking and not-at-all surprising, director Danny Boyle has departed Bond 25. The untitled 007 adventure, the 25th entry in the long-running espionage and action series, was set to go before cameras later this year. No replacement has been announced.

The news was announced, of all places, on the official James Bond Twitter account. Boyle's departure is chalked up to "creative differences," which is the catch-all Hollywood term for any kind of behind-the-scenes drama. This could be an amicable split or it could mask some serious behind-the-scenes disagreements. In either case, it's back to the drawing board for the next movie, which is intended to be the swan song for Daniel Craig's take on the iconic super-spy.

The Changing Shape of Bond Directors

Boyle was a left-field choice to direct the film, but he also seemed to make sense when you consider the direction the Bond films have been heading for the past decade. The position of director on a James Bond set was once tertiary to the producers – the director called the shots on set, but the producers (the keepers of the Bond legacy) were the real creative overseers.

That began to change in the Craig era, which updated Agent 007 for modern times and turned the focus inward. Which a renewed interest in character, filmmakers like Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and Sam Mendes (Skyfall and Spectre) stepped behind the camera and lent their entries just enough of an arthouse touch to make their presence known. Boyle, a filmmaker with an established style, felt like the next logical step.

While we cannot say for certain what Boyle and the producers clashed over, this story confirms that even Oscar-winning filmmakers can't overrule Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who have shepherded the Bond franchise since the '90s. Maybe Boyle's take was too extreme, too personal. After all, following the muted reaction to Spectre, the Bond producers clearly need Bond 25 to be a success on every level and a return to something a bit more traditional may be in order.

Who Takes Over?

So, start your speculation engines, ladies and gentlemen. Who takes over Bond 25 now? And don't say Christopher Nolan. While he's the popular choice on every single internet list, it's unlikely that the Bond producers will go to another big name. Expect the director to be someone capable and respected, but not too expensive and not known for having a truly distinctive style.

I'd put money on Martin Campbell entering the conversation. The versatile journeyman helmed 1995's GoldenEye and 2006's Casino Royale, so he has experience on not just Bond movies, but pretty damn good Bond movies. Plus, he has a knack for delivering what's asked of him and his presence will bookend the Daniel Craig era. However, whether that hypothetical conversation would go anywhere is the question, as Campbell has been iffy about returning to the series (not to mention the tabloid-y buzz about him and Craig not getting along).

Or maybe the Bond producers will pick someone from their previously revealed shortlist.

So, could Bond 25 still begin filming later this year? It's possible, but the departure of Boyle almost surely means the departure of screenwriter John Hodge, so the script is probably going to need a lot of work and a fresh face or three. In any case, I'd still expect the film to hit its previously announced October 25, 2019 release date in the U.K. and November 8, 2019 in the United States.

Update: Variety reporter Justin Kroll took to Twitter to note that Mission: Impossible – Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie could be in the running for the Bond 25 job. However, it is not clear if he actually wants the job.