By Gerrad Hall
Updated May 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage

Sam Mendes, the British director of the two most recent movies in the James Bond franchise, 2012’s Skyfall and 2015’s Spectre, says his days directing 007 are over.

Speaking Saturday at the Hay Festival in Wales, Mendes ended speculation about whether he will return to direct the next movie in the series. “It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it,” the 50-year-old told an audience at the festival. “But I think it’s time for somebody else.”

Time for somebody else behind the camera…and in front of it. Daniel Craig has said he does not not want to play the famous spy again now that he’s made four movies, starting with 2006’s Casino Royale. Whether that happens is still to be seen, though it hasn’t stopped fans from making their case for Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston, even The X-Files star Gillian Anderson, to fill those shoes. Mendes assured he has no influence over who should replace Craig if it comes to that. That decision, he said, belongs to long-time franchise producer Barbara Broccoli.

“It’s not a democracy,” he said. Barbara Broccoli decides who is going to be the next Bond, end of story.”

Hoping the five-decade-old series, which started with 1962’s Dr. No and Sean Connery as the M16 agent, would go in an “unexpected direction” for its next director, Mendes says, per the Associated Press, he’s ready to work on something new. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.”

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The 2000 Best Director Oscar winner for American Beauty — his directing credits also include Road to Perdition, Jarhead, and Revolutionary Road — recently signed on to direct and produce The Voyeur’s Hotel for DreamWorks, with Steven Spielberg also producing.

Mendes’ first Bond effort, Skyfall, earned nearly $1.11 billion worldwide, with Spectre taking in $880 million globally. Both films won the Best Original Song Oscar — Adele took home honors for her enormously popular track “Skyfall,” and Sam Smith hit the stage of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre earlier this year to accept the trophy for “Writing’s On The Wall.”