Deadline is reporting that the director will be leaving the sequel over concerns that the studio’s announced release date of May 23, 2014 does not leave him enough room to comfortably make the film. (You’ll recall that Gary Ross left the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire over similar concerns.)
But does two years seem like an unusually short time to make a feature film? I would say not really, filmmakers do it all the time, even effects heavy pictures like Dawn will certainly be. Remember that from the time that he was signed to direct The Avengers to its release date, Joss Whedon had only 25 months to assemble that picture. However, with only one other feature film on his resume prior to directing Rise, it is possible that it may in part be his relative inexperience as a director that is fueling his misgivings about his dealines for the film’s delivery.
Here’s my take on it. Rise was in development at Fox long before Wyatt was attached and its script was pretty much in the shape that it was in the movie when he was hired. Sure, he does get some of the credit for the film’s ultimate success, but can we really say that the film is his unique artistic vision? No disrespect to him, but probably not. That title much more applies to screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver who wrote Rise and have done the first draft on Dawn.
It should be noted, though, that the Deadline report states that Wyatt “will be” leaving, not “has left.” This could be a story floated by Wyatt’s people to gain some leverage from Fox to move that release date back. I expect that we’ll see more of this play out over the next couple of weeks.