Rupert Wyatt turned in a hell of a dark horse blockbuster last year, as a film many were sure was going to be a shit show turned out to be a refreshing, nuanced action flick. Hell, it’d be best of the year material if released this summer. Seems we’ll have to hope that accomplishment wasn’t entirely dependent on the vision of Rupert Wyatt, as the director appears to be backing out of the sequel he’s been developing to avoid the crunch production Fox is planning.

Earlier this year Gary Ross left the firstĀ Hunger Games sequel citing similar concerns, though there are some that will tell you that was more of a convenient excuse for him to play hardball on his quote. Who knows if that’s the case with Wyatt here, but Fox has a hard date of May 14th, 2014 for the film which… seems entirely reasonable? Granted, this is a particularly heavy effects film in an industry full of them, but that’s still almost two years out from their announcement, and supposedly a solid screenplay is already complete.

As for Wyatt, he’s been on every major short list for action and scifi projects in the last year, and he’s already attached to several projects. The dude’s going to be just fine. And while we geeks certainly appreciate his efforts, this isn’t the kind of director change that’s going to merit many headlines. Even the rabid Hunger Games fans didn’t break a sweat with that franchise’s mid-stream horse change, so I’m not sure who will shed tears here- at least until they hire a hack.

This could be a great chance for another developing science fiction director to do something refreshing though, while Wyatt moves on and applies his talents to new material.

This is as-yet unconfirmed by the way, so maybe Mike Fleming over at Deadline is jumping the gun.