Sam Mendes decision not to direct the sequel to James Bond film Skyfall has reportedly shocked the franchise’s producers, with Michael G Wilson admitting “We’re devastated.”

Mendes and Bond star Daniel Craig together combined to make Skyfall the most critically and commercially successful Bond film in it history, and there were high hopes that the pair would continue the union. The movie won the top award at the South Bank Sky Arts awards in London this week. However, in a statement reported by Empire Online, Mendes wrote “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."

Speaking at the South Bank awards to the Daily Telegraph, Wilson said “We didn’t expect it, so I have no idea who will replace him. We’re still reeling. We only found out a day before the announcement. I think he feels like he’s done it now, but hopefully we can tempt him back.” Fellow producer Barbara Broccoli added: ”It’s a ------, isn’t’ it? We’re very sad he’s decided not to do it as we really wanted him on board.” Mendes had left the door open for a return to the film in the future.

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes won't be back for new Bond

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig and Mendes combined for the most successful Bond ever