Focus Features

The 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Sequel Officially Needs A New Director

Laters, baby...

"Fifty Shades of Grey" director Sam Taylor-Johnson is walking away from the Red Room of Pain.

Confirming what most onlookers already saw coming, Deadline reports that Taylor-Johnson won't be back for the "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequels, which will once again star Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele. The filmmaker confirmed the news herself in an official statement:

"Directing 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful. I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota and Jamie. While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three."

Fans might be disappointed over Taylor-Johnson's departure from the "Fifty Shades" franchise, but certainly not shocked. In the lead up to the film's opening weekend and even through the release, reports mounted about friction between Taylor-Johnson and author E.L. James over creative control of the movie. Given reports that James is seeking to write "Fifty Shades Darker" herself, it's really no wonder that Taylor-Johnson has parted ways with the series.

Now, with Taylor-Johnson out, the question centers on who will step up to replace her. There were some top-notch candidates in the mix for the original movie before Universal moved forward with Taylor-Johnson — directors like Patty Jenkins, Bill Condon, Bennett Miller, and Steven Soderbergh. But are they particularly likely to flirt with "Fifty Shades" again? Probably not, given that the level of creative control James is said to be exercising doesn't exactly jive with any one of those directors' styles.

Really, the best course of action might be to find an up-and-comer who doesn't mind stepping in and working within the boundaries of James' specific vision. In fact, why not James herself? "Fifty Shades" is her (laters) baby, after all. Why not take a crack at the big job?

But what do you think? With Taylor-Johnson out, who do you think should step in to direct the "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequel?