Sam Mendes’ Skyfall had the biggest box office opening in James Bond history – not adjusted for inflation, of course – and is one of the most well-reviewed Bond films of the past two decades (read our review). So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some fans would want to see Mendes return for directing duties on James Bond 24.

After initially indicating that he would probably not direct subsequent Bond films, Sam Mendes has now walked back his reluctance. Plus, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade – co-writers for the Bond franchise going back to The World is Not Enough – have officially confirmed that they won’t be returning for Bond 24.Sam Mendes recently told Time Out (via Contact Music):

“I’ve enjoyed it enough to do it again. I think the choice is in the audience’s hands. If people love the movie and they want to see another one from the same people who brought you ‘Skyfall,’ then that would mean a lot to me. I would feel like, ‘Well, actually there are people who really want to see it’.”

The last time Mendes spoke about possibly returning to direct future Bond installments, he was seemingly much less keen on the idea. Here’s what he said in October:

“It’s been a fantastic experience, but it’s been completely exhausting. Do I want to do another one? I’m a shadow of my former self. [laughs] No, I don’t know. I felt like everything I wanted to with a Bond movie, I put into this film. So I would have to be convinced that I could do something that I loved and cared about as much if I was to do it again. I think the great risk of repeating oneself is that one doesn’t have the great store of ideas that you have when you first tackle a project.”

Obviously, he wasn’t totally sure that he wouldn’t be directing James Bond at the time – just like he’s not totally sure he’d be willing to return for the next one now – but it’s interesting to see how far his position has moved in just a few short weeks. If the decision to direct the film is wholly dependent on whether or not people have enjoyed Skyfall, then there’s a very good chance he’ll be directing the film.

Meanwhile, five-time Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have officially declared that they’re departing the James Bond franchise for good. James Bond 24 (and possibly 25, if rumors are to be believed) will be written by John Logan, co-writer of Skyfall.

Here’s what Wade had to say about it:

“We’re very happy to have done five Bond movies, I think we’ve gotten it to a good place. I know that John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with a plot for another one, which takes the pressure off because these films take up a lot of time.”

The buried lead there seems to be that, yes, Sam Mendes is working on the next Bond film, even if he’s not officially signed on to direct it yet.

It’s worth noting that Skyfall was only the second Bond film co-written by Purvis and Wade that has been mostly well-received, the other one being Casino Royale. And both Casino Royale and Skyfall had other writers working on them (Paul Haggis and Logan, respectively). Everything else Purvis and Wade had a hand in writing – from The World is Not Enough to Die Another Day to Quantum of Solace – was pretty much universally panned. In short, the Bond franchise will probably survive without them.

But what of the next Bond film’s plot? Will it be the first part of a two-part film, as has been rumored? Will some variation of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (possibly Quantum) play a role? And will an updated version of Blofeld make an appearance, as writer John Logan has hinted at, time and again?

As much as I enjoyed Skyfall, I have to say I was a tad disappointed we didn’t get a follow-up that explored the lingering threads left by Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Sure, Solace was an extremely forgettable Bond movie, but not because of the evil organization that was first established in Royale. Perhaps we’ll see more of that mysterious criminal syndicate in the next film – or even the next two films.

Would you like to see Sam Mendes return to direct James Bond 24, Screen Ranters? Let us know in the comments.

Skyfall is currently in theaters. James Bond 24 is expected to hit theaters in fall 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Sources: Time Out [via Contact Music] & Coming Soon