By Darren Franich
Updated March 20, 2013 at 07:05 PM EDT
Credit: Francois Duhamel

You might think that everyone involved with the James Bond franchise would be racing to produce a new 007 adventure, considering that 2012’s Skyfall grossed over a billion dollars and earned critical raves and won two Oscars and did all that while making the bold and lucrative argument that Bond really enjoys drinking Heineken. But don’t expect a follow-up anytime soon. Two weeks after Skyfall director Sam Mendes announced he wouldn’t return for the next Bond film, MGM CEO Gary Barber has announced in a conference call that the 24th official Bond movie could be long years away.

According to Reuters, Barber told investors that MGM is planning to announce a new director soon — pleasepleasepleaseMatthewVaughnpleasepleaseplease — but with regards to an actual release date, he said vaguely, “We are hoping within the next three years it will be released.” Some prognosticators are interpreting that “three years” comment to mean that the next Bond film won’t hit until 2016 — which, if it follows the franchise’s usual November release strategy, would mean a full four years after Skyfall. But it’s equally possible that “within three years” would mean a target date of Thanksgiving 2015. The Bond franchise has usually released a new edition every two years, with a six-year break between the Dalton and Brosnan eras and a four-year pause between Quantum of Solace and Skyfall due to MGM’s bankruptcy woes.

Still, three years isn’t necessarily a long time between installments in major franchises. And the extra time may do the franchise good. Mendes told EW that he worked on Skyfall for an extra year during MGM’s bankruptcy, and the extra time may have been good for the end product. Certainly, the four years after Quantum of Solace made Skyfall feel like even more of an event…and given what a tremendous success Skyfall turned into, it may be a good idea to let the next film gestate for awhile longer.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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