Paddington is not only one of the unlikeliest film franchises around, it’s also one of the best. The first film—an adaptation of the beloved bear, directed with a heaping dose of compassion and manners by Paul King—was unceremoniously dumped here in the U.S. in January 2015 by The Weinstein Company, but it still went on to gross $268 million off a wave of glowing reviews. The Warner Bros.-released 2018 sequel, Paddington 2, is still sitting pretty with a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, as King returned to helm an absolutely perfect (and delightful, obviously) follow-up. So fans of the franchise are no doubt curious: will there be a Paddington 3?
That question is complicated by the popularity of King, who has now been courted for some big projects as a direct result of his stellar work on the Paddington films. He’s next set to helm a live-action Pinocchio movie for Disney and is also tentatively attached to direct a Willy Wonka movie for Warner Bros. But is there a Paddington without King?
Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke with producer David Heyman in anticipation of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, who confirmed that Paddington 3 is indeed in the works, but unfortunately King mostly likely won’t be in the director’s chair.
“I don’t think Paul King will direct the third. He did the first two—he and I are working on another project together… He’s very special, Paul. We’re developing a third Paddington. We haven’t got a script yet, we’ve got a treatment which we’re still working on.”
However, while King likely won’t direct Paddington 3, he’ll still be intimately involved if the sequel moves forward:
“Paul is involved in it, I wanted him to be involved in it because I think he’s such a significant voice, but I don’t think he’ll direct it. He worked on the idea… he comes up with the idea with Simon Farnaby and Mark Burton and then they develop it and come back for more, back and forth, and then it’ll get written and Paul will come in and stir it up a little bit. But he’s an incredible collaborator, Paul. Very positive, very supportive.”
Heyman cautioned, however, that Paddington 3 won’t get made unless they all agree it can be on the same level of quality as the first two films:
“I hope we get to make it. It’s really fun, it’s a fun idea. I don’t know yet. I don’t want to do it if I don’t think it’s gonna be good.”
So there you have it. Paddington 3 may or may not happen, but if it does, Paul King most likely won’t be in the director’s chair.