We’ve spent the last two months waiting to find out if Skyfall director Sam Mendes would return to helm the currently-untitled 24th installment in the James Bond franchise. The filmmaker admitted to still being undecided a couple weeks ago, but today we can confirm that he is, in fact, going to oversee Daniel Craig’s next outing as secret agent 007 on the big screen.

Bond franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were reported to have spent the past several months considering other candidates who might direct Bond 24, when it seemed that Mendes’ theater commitments would prevent him from being able to deliver the film within the original desired time frame (i.e. to make a Fall 2014 release date). Ultimately, though, the pair decided to wait for Mendes’ schedule to clear up instead.

Here is the official statement from Mendes, confirming as much to be true:

“I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct ‘Bond 24.’ I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time,” said Mendes.

Skyfall co-writer John Logan has been working on the Bond 24 script for the past eight months (at least), so development on the project has been chugging along at a healthy pace even as Mendes debated whether or not to head back into the fray on a second international romp (featuring Craig as 007). Similarly, it shouldn’t be long until Skyfall cast members Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw are formally confirmed as returning for the new Bond movie; not to mention, we should be getting an update on whether or not Penélope Cruz is onboard to play the next “Bond girl.”

Bond 24 is set to open in U.K. theaters on October 23rd, 2015, followed a couple weeks later by the film’s premiere in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015. That means filming on the big-budget project will get underway by the first half of 2014, so we should be hearing some official new casting announcements before this year draws to a close.

Interestingly, the U.S. release date for Bond 24 is the same day that Marvel previously claimed for Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, which is expected to be a covert agent espionage-thriller along the lines of the Bond franchise (albeit, delivered in Wright’s tongue-in-cheek fashion). That is to say, there’s a reasonable chance that Marvel will move Wright’s superhero flick to a different date – even if only a week or two later – rather than try and compete directly against Mr. Bond during opening weekend.

Let us know in the comments section how you feel about Mendes returning to direct the 24th James Bond installment.

James Bond 24 (not the film’s official title, obviously) opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.

Source: Columbia Pictures