James Bond
Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall' Wikia

MGM executives said the next James Bond movie will happen within the next three years. The studio is ready to capitalize off the success of “Skyfall” but the search for a director continues with no front-runner.

As previously reported by IBTimes, Gary Barber, MGM chairman and chief executive officer, broke the news during a call with investors on Tuesday. MGM announced that a screenplay for the 24th James Bond movie is currently being developed. With a screenplay in progress, the next step for the new Bond film will be finding a director after the departure of Sam Mendes.

Daniel Craig will return as Bond, but the loss of Mendes has the studio looking for a replacement. As previously reported by IBTimes, Mendes decided not to direct another Bond movie despite the success of “Skyfall,” both commercially and critically. Mendes has theatrical obligations in London throughout the next year, which would make developing a new Bond movie impossible.

With the pressure of following up the $1 billion worldwide gross of “Skyfall,” the next Bond director will be under intense scrutiny. One person who will not be a part of the vetting process will be Danny Boyle.

The British director has had an eclectic directorial career that includes being the creative director of the London Olympics, “Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “127 Hours,” “Sunshine” and the upcoming “Trance.” Boyle’s versatility would be an asset to the next Bond movie, but the director already ruled himself out for the role. In a red carpet interview with ITN Boyle said, “I'm not the guy to make Bond movies,” even though he loves the Ian Fleming novels and enjoys watching the movies.

Bookmakers, not surprisingly, have already placed odds on who will direct the next Bond movie. William Hill has established betting odds and “Snatch.” and “Sherlock Holmes” series director Guy Ritchie is the favorite with 4/1 odd, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Ritchie does make sense after the success of the first two “Sherlock Holmes” movies, but the upcoming “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” may rule him out of the gig.

Two highly respected directors, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, are pegged with 10/1 and 9/1 odds, respectively, but they are longshots to take over the next Bond movie. Quentin Tarantino and James Cameron are longshots, with 33/1 odds, considering Tarantino’s history and Cameron’s dedication to the world of Pandora, chances are neither will be in the director’s chair of the next Bond movie.

History shows that Bond movies tend to be helmed by British directors and being well-versed in action is not a requirement, as Mendes’ success has shown. Entertainment Weekly pegs Matthew Vaughn, who previously dropped out of directing a Bond movie, as a potential candidate. Vaughn has plenty of experience, has directed action films and worked with Craig in “Layer Cake.” Other dark horse candidates include Joe Wright, director of “Atonement” and “Hanna” as well as Gareth Evans (“The Raid”). With Barber saying a new director will be announced soon, expect plenty of new names to be attached to the next Bond movie.