About three weeks ago came news that 'Skyfall' director Sam Mendes was close to finalizing a deal to return for 'Bond 24,' the next film in the 007 series. Well in the weeks since, something changed and Mendes has confirmed that we won't be returning for the next James Bond film. Find out why below and let's figure out who could possibly replace him.

Mendes issued a statement to Empire Magazine on his decision saying:

It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.

So Sam Mendes isn't directing 'Bond 24' because he wants to direct a theater version of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?' Hey, it wouldn't be our choice but you have to give Mendes credit for following his heart and not the "generous offer" to direct 'Bond 24' (and given that 'Skyfall' has made over $1 billion, you can guarantee that it was a very generous offer).

With Mendes moving on to other projects, who could follow in his footsteps? After the last great Bond film ('Casino Royale') the franchise took a step back with the disappointing 'Quantum of Solace.' Will they be able to avoid that misstep again?

One name that many will focus on is Danny Boyle. The Oscar-winning 'Slumdog Millionaire' and '127 Hours' director has frequently been a name in the discussions to direct a Bond film for years and with his latest film, 'Trance,' about to hit theaters, Boyle is available. Plus, he has experience in the world of James Bond, directing the 007 short that aired during the opening ceremony of the London Olympics (and featured a cameo from the Queen Mum).

Who else do you think could (or should) direct a Bond film?