Most film directors have a short shelf life. Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are the exceptions that prove the rule. Your average director successfully completes a limited number of feature films over the course of his or her career – mainly because mounting a film takes time, money and valuable resources. David Fincher’s Gone Girl, which opens in theaters on Friday, is the director’s tenth movie. But because we are greedy Fincher fans, we immediately want to know what film he’s working on next. Well, I have some bad news.

As we reported in our TV section, Fincher has agreed to helm the entire season of HBO’s upcoming series Utopia. That’s a win for cable television subscribers, but a huge loss for those of us who adore Fincher’s films. You would have to assume that overseeing an entire season of an HBO program would take Fincher, 52, out of the production cycle for at least a year… if not longer. Even if he starts to mount a production halfway through his time on Utopia, it could be two or three years until we see another Fincher film in theaters following Gone Girl.

There are at least two feature films that appear to be directly affected by David Fincher’s decision to shift his attention over to HBO. The director’s long-gestating adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Disney now seems to be years away… if it ever happens. When last we heard, an inability to secure proper funding for an Australian shoot pumped the brakes on Fincher’s 20,000 League project – and possibly opened the door for Johnny Depp to do Pirates of the Caribbean 5.

The other film was David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl Who Played with Fire -- the second chapter of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy which Fincher started to remake with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. That project, also, suffered more than a few fits and starts, with the director saying a few weeks back that he believed Sony would push forward on the project because they had sunk a good deal of cash into the pre-production. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo made $232 million worldwide, but the passion for the remake wasn’t quite there. Fincher has said he wants to continue with the story, but HBO’s Utopia could be just enough of a distraction to keep him off of Lisbeth’s trail.

The bottom line is this, sadly: Taking over an entire season of an HBO show likely means we are now years away from seeing a new David Fincher movie. And given how incredible Gone Girl is – and how fantastic almost all of Fincher’s movies have been – this is about as depressing a story as I could possibly share. Sorry.

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