Paddington 3 is in the works according to producer David Heyman, but director Paul King is unlikely to helm the project. Michael Bond's iconic Peruvian bear made his way to the big screen in 2014 and, voiced by Ben Whishaw, charmed his way to financial success, critical acclaim and BAFTA nominations. The movie featured a bona fide who's who of British acting talent including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi and Jim Broadbent and proved to be a hit with children and adults alike.
While sequels are all too often thought of as inferior to their predecessors, 2017's Paddington 2 gloriously bucked the trend and was received with ever louder and wider acclaim than the original. Adding Hugh Grant to the cast in a villainous role, the second Paddington movie saw the titular bear wind up behind bars for a crime he did not commit. While Andy Dufresne won over his fellow inmates with financial know-how, Paddington survived his stint in jail thanks to an uncanny ability to concoct delicious marmalade sandwiches and the film romped to awards success.
Related: Screen Rant's Paddington 2 Review
It was previously reported that StudioCanal were signed up to a trilogy of Paddington movies and last year, producer David Heyman confirmed that discussions regarding a third installment had taken place. While promoting Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Heyman provided an update on Paddington 3 to Collider, claiming:
“I don’t think Paul King will direct the third. He did the first two—he and I are working on another project together… He’s very special, Paul. We’re developing a third Paddington. We haven’t got a script yet, we’ve got a treatment which we’re still working on. Paul is involved in it, I wanted him to be involved in it because I think he’s such a significant voice, but I don’t think he’ll direct it. He worked on the idea… he comes up with the idea with Simon Farnaby and Mark Burton and then they develop it and come back for more, back and forth, and then it’ll get written and Paul will come in and stir it up a little bit."
While news of progress on Paddington 3 will certainly be hugely welcome to anyone who saw the first two movies, the possibility that King won't be directing is somewhat of a disappointment. King's direction has elevated the Paddington series far above the usual standard of a family movie and always ensured a perfect balance between the CG and live-action elements. King is a significant part of the reason Paddington feels so much like a real, human character and he also delivered such memorable sequences as Paddington 2's train chase sequence and the mid-credits prison dance sequence.
Considering the five-year gap between the first two Paddington movies, it might be worth waiting for King and Heyman to finish their 'other' project so that the duo can both return for Paddington 3. If this proves impossible however, there are a number of other interesting options that come to mind as potential replacements. After working on Shakespeare early in his directing career, Kenneth Branagh has diversified into more family-orientated material in recent times, with Cinderella and the forthcoming Artemis Fowl. David Yates worked with Heyman on the Harry Potter franchise and would undoubtedly be a safe pair of hands for the franchise. And finally, Rachel Talalay has been a prolific and varied director on the small screen for many years and could certainly be in line to helm a big franchise release.
Paddington 3 is currently without a release date. More news as it arrives.