Sam Mendes left the James Bond franchise after directing the most successful Bond film yet, “Skyfall.” With Daniel Craig on board for the 24th James Bond Film, Eon Productions has begun the search for a new director, and the candidates include Shane Black, Ang Lee and Tom Hooper.

Eon and Sony Pictures have Craig signed to two more Bond films, and, with “Skyfall” earning $1.1 billion at the box office, the next movie is on a short list of highly anticipated upcoming films. Variety reports that Eon has begun interviewing potential candidates to helm the new Bond film but notes that fans should not expect an announcement any time soon. While Craig is signed up, there are minor details left to work out on his deal, and Variety speculates that his contract may include a clause that grants director approval.

The success of “Iron Man 3” may have vaulted Black’s name to the top of many Hollywood wish lists. Black’s name is synonymous with the action genre of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Black’s writing credits include “Lethal Weapon,” “Lethal Weapon 2” and “The Last Boy Scout.” Prior to “Iron Man 3,” Black directed Robert Downey Jr. in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.”

Black took over the “Iron Man” franchise from Jon Favreau, writing and directing “Iron Man 3,” and it has been announced that he will next tackle another popular comic franchise, “Doc Savage.” Black signed the “Doc Savage” deal with Sony Pictures, so there could be some rearranging of schedules if Eon wants Black as the next Bond director.

With the hiring, and subsequent success, of Mendes, who directed the very successful “Quantum of Solace” prior to “Skyfall,” the next director may not be one who is traditionally associated with the action genre. According to, “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn may have had some contact about the “Bond” role, but the director did not reveal much more other than a smile during an interview at the Cannes Film Festival.

While Refn has worked on films with much smaller budgets than any of the Bond films, Lee, Black and Hooper all have experience working on big budget films. Lee is coming off the success of “Life of Pi” and could bring plenty of style to “Bond 24.” Hooper is known more his dramas, including 2012’s “Les Miserables” and 2010’s “The King’s Speech,” but Eon may believe he could prove as successful as Mendes, who prior to Bond directed “American Beauty,” in regards to handling an action movie.

Variety also mentions David Yates as a possible candidate to land the gig. While Yates may not be a household name, he directed the last four films of the “Harry Potter” franchise and could be trusted to handle an expensive movie while navigating the pressure that comes from directing such a highly anticipated film.

In addition to Lee, Refn, Black and Yates, the Hollywood Reporter notes Christopher Nolan could be a potential candidate. Nolan directed the “Batman” trilogy starring Christian Bale and could combine strong action sequences with quality storytelling.  

Though there are plenty of names for just one job, Deadline is reporting that Mendes may wind up directing the franchise’s next film. After stepping away from the Bond franchise to focus on stage productions in London, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Mendes was believed to be out of the running, but Deadline believes strongly that the director of “Skyfall” will direct “Bond 24.”