'Paddington 3' Will Happen, But Not With Director Paul King

Few thought that a children's series about a marmalade-loving bear could earn the critical acclaim that Paddington has, but writer-director Paul King elevated a silly premise into some of the best and most heartwarming films of the decade. And in unprecedented times like these, we need Paddington more than ever. And we may be getting it, as King confirmed that Paddington 3 is still happening — just without him.

What are the Paddington movies without Paul King's magic touch? We'll have to find out, as King revealed that he is handing the marmalade-making duties to a new director for Paddington 3. The British filmmaker told Empire Magazine (via Yahoo) that, although the movies have been "one of the great treats of my life," he will have to hand the treat of directing Paddington 3 to someone else:

"At some point, you just have to stop. It might be time for somebody else to do a twist on it. I'm trying not to do a third bear movie, which is a huge, huge mistake."

Yes, King, it is a mistake because I can't imagine the Paddington movies without your whimsical directorial style and lighthearted touch that gave the beloved bear a Buster Keaton-esque edge. The Paddington movies are far better than they should be because of King, who directed and co-wrote both the first and second Paddington movies, the latter of which transcends expectations of the family film and delivers a lovely, visually dazzling and socially conscious story with a gonzo performance from Hugh Grant as the villain.

But King, who will remain on board as executive producer for Paddington 3, assures that, "It's not like Paddington dies at the end. He doesn't ascend into the sky on a rocket-powered marmalade jar." King's hand remains in the jar too with the script, which he confirmed has already been written, though he was not clear on whether he co-wrote it as he did with Paddington, which he penned with Hamish McColl, or Paddington 2, which Simon Farnaby co-wrote. King also hints that the franchise could even go beyond Paddington 3 giving us more of the good-natured bear for years to come.

Maybe if we're kind and polite enough, the world will right itself and King will return to the director's chair for Paddington 3. But the filmmaker admitted to Empire Magazine that he's working on "far too much" other material, which includes a new collaboration with Paddington 2 co-writer Farnaby and a long-gestating movie about Willy Wonka. Still, it's hard to imagine who could take King's place.