Director Rupert Wyatt has caused a bit of a stir by pulling out of 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apesafter seemingly coming down with a case of cold feet – and Wyatt may even be dropping out of the series altogether. Read on for more.

It’s not entirely unheard of for film franchises to switch directors between installments, but it is a bit disappointing, since Wyatt’s sharp direction was a major contributor towards Rise of the Planet of the Apes being one of the most unexpected successes of last summer. In fact, it’s been considered an “all-round smash”.

So the initial reaction from studio execs and fans alike was excitement when Wyatt agreed to return for the follow-up, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Now he’s left them high and dry, and on the hunt for a new director.

Deadline first reported Wyatt’s exit, though it should be noted that even they don’t sound 100% positive about the details at this point, according to /Film. Nothing’s been confirmed from Fox, either, and they’ve declined to comment on the story. Apparently the website’s spies have reported that Wyatt’s reason for leaving is similar to Gary Ross’ for dropping out of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire earlier this year, and that reason seems to be scheduling.

Fox announced earlier this year that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes would hit theaters May 23, 2014, and apparently even then Wyatt felt uneasy about that timetable. Now things have well and truly been shaken up, but the studio’s plan to move forward with a new director shouldn’t be too difficult to implement; after all, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a big hit critically and commercially, so hopefully another filmmaker willing to tackle such a well-regarded franchise should come out of the woodwork fairly soon. Stay tuned, folks!

The script has already been written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and at this point the film still looks on track to hit its spring 2014 release date.

And what’s Wyatt up to? Well, apparently he’s already been eying up a couple of other projects, and he seems to be in a pretty good position right now. As of last year, he was signed on to the KGB drama Londongrad, but was forced to drop out to work on Apes. That project still seems to be open, so there’s a chance Wyatt could go back to that. He’s also attached to Agent 13, a sci-fi project starring Charlize Theron.

Who would you like to see direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?