Daniel Craig as James Bond in Spectre

The next James Bond movie finally seems to be building some momentum. James Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been working on the script since spring, a release date has been assigned and reportedly Daniel Craig will be back for his fifth time as 007. Now the biggest question plastered on the next James Bond movie is who will direct it. After helming Skyfall and Spectre, Sam Mendes will not be returning to direct James Bond 25, and currently the word is that the three directors who are at the top of the short list to succeed him are Denis Villeneuve, David Mackenzie and Yann Demange.

While EON Productions and MGM have yet to offer any official information on the James Bond 25 director search, Deadline has heard that Denis Villeneuve, David Mackenzie and Yann Demange are the frontrunners for the job. All three of the men have had meetings with the production company, but Variety is reporting that Demange is currently the one who is likeliest to snag the director's chair. Since James Bond 25 is slated to come out in late 2019, EON will need to figure out who will take over for Sam Mendes within the next few months in order to stay on schedule.

Of these three directors, Denis Villeneuve is the most well known in Hollywood thanks to his work on Sicario and Arrival. Villeneuve's next movie is October's Blade Runner 2049, and after that, he's set to helm the Dune reboot, which could potentially prevent him from overseeing James Bond 25 if there's a scheduling conflict. Yann Demange's theatrical credits include 2014's '71 and next year's White Boy Rick, while David Mackenzie is notable for directing 2003's Young Adam, 2011's Perfect Sense and 2016's Hell or High Water and the upcoming Outlaw King, among others. Each of these three men would bring a unique touch to the James Bond franchise, though Demange stands to benefit the most from coming aboard in terms of raising his profile for a wider audience.

Despite the lack of specific details about James Bond 25, the movie is set to be a big one. Assuming the news about Daniel Craig is true, then this will likely be his last time playing 007 after it was previously implied he was done with the series following Spectre. Additionally, EON and MGM have been searching for a studio to keep the franchise going. Sony Pictures is still in the mix to keep James Bond on their turf, where he's been since 2006's Casino Royale, but Warner Bros, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Annapurna have also been pitching for the distribution rights.

James Bond 25 will be released in theaters on November 8, 2019, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more news about how the next installment is progressing, including who scores the directing job.

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