'World War Z' Sequel Needs A New Director As J.A. Bayona Exits

World War Z became a $500M hit for Brad Pitt and Paramount Pictures, despite months of production problems, reshoots, and script changes that threatened to derail it. That level of success in the face of so many challenges had them anxious to get moving on a sequel, J.A. Bayona, the sought-after director behind The Orphanage and The Impossible, was brought on to make it happen. But now the sequel has just hit a major setback as Bayona has abruptly left.

Bayona has exited World War Z 2 because of prior commitments directing A Monster Calls, the dark fantasy film opening later this year and starring Liam Neeson. Although wrapped, Bayona reportedly still has "pre-existing" commitments that will keep him from taking on the zombie sequel which Paramount wants to get moving on quickly. Here's the official statement released by the studio...

[Juan Antonio] Bayona is no longer able to make World War Z 2 this year, and it is our ambition to do so. He is a wonderful director and we hope to work with him soon.

But is that the only reason he left? A few months ago Bayona was the favorite to direct Jurassic World 2, but couldn't because of scheduling on A Monster Calls. If the timing can be worked out that is a likely destination for Bayona's next film. 

As for World War Z 2, Paramount needs to find a replacement quickly if they intend to hit the June 2017 release date. [Deadline]