After directing “Skyfall”; and “Spectre”;, Sam Mendes is confirming he’s exiting the James Bond franchise, saying it’s time to pass the baton to someone else.

Speaking at the Hay Festival, reports The Telegraph, Mendes said that leaving the franchise is “not a negative. I’m a storyteller and at the end of the day I want to make stories with new characters. I also believe there are directors out there who can do the job every bit as well as me. And like me with “Skyfall’, it should come from a slightly unexpected direction… I think it’s time for somebody else to do a great job.”;

He also addressed scuttlebutt about who’s going to be cast as the next Bond if current 007 Daniel Craig doesn’t return, and said that public opinion carries zero weight when it comes to the final decision.

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“There’s this constant debate about who’s going to be the next Bond,”; said Mendes. “The truth is – and here’s the headline: it’s not a democracy. It’s not “The X Factor;, it’s not the EU referendum, it’s not a public vote. [Producer] Barbara Broccoli chooses who’s going to be the next Bond: end of story.”;

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As for who will eventually take over for Craig, he added: “I can guarantee whatever happens with it, it will not be what you expect. That’s what she’s been brilliant at, and that’s how it’ll survive.”;