Breaking news: Darren Aronofsky exits The Wolverine

The Wrap and Deadline Hollywood just broke the news that Oscar nominated director Darren Aronofsky has just left the Wolverine sequel for personal reasons.

Per a statement released by the director of Black Swan:

“As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of ‘The Wolverine’ would keep me out of the country for almost a year. I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time.”

“I am sad that I won’t be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again.”

This is a HUGE development as Aronofsky was supposed to be the director to take the Wolverine franchise in a new (and better) direction. Now Fox is in a bit of limbo as they have to find someone FAST to step in to keep the project on pace.

After X-Men Origins: Wolverine was panned nearly universally, but making over $370 million worldwide on an estimated $150 million budget, original director Gavin Hood was replaced with the auteur of The Wrestler in hopes it would be a better film and thus elevate its box office grosses. This seemed to be a perfect choice, especially with Aronofsky coming off the amazing success of Black Swan. He and Jackman had remained friends since The Fountain, as well, thus giving a tremendous setup to reinvigorate a franchise that started off quite poorly.

Choosing his family, and his young child, over 12 months in Japan with what’s supposed to be a great shooting script is commendable. You can’t question his decision to do so but it puts Fox in a bind now.

The question now is can Fox find a director to step in and keep the film on track for a 2012 release. It seems quite hard, especially with so many good ones already either circling projects or in the middle of them. This can’t be good.

Who do you think should step in and take over the project? Or is it doomed now?

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Source: The Wrap.com