Darren Aronofsky has officially pulled out of directing the Wolverine sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A joint statement issued by Fox and Aronofsky read: "As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, who have been totally supportive throughout my work on the movie, 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." The film was due to shoot in Japan, for what would've been close to a year - Aronofsky is reportedly readying himself for a possible custody battle with ex-wife, Rachel Weisz. For their part an understanding Fox said, "While we are of course disappointed that Darren can’t do The Wolverine, we also understand and respect his reasons. Having done both The Wrestler and Black Swan with Darren, we know he is an extraordinary talent and we look forward to working with him on other projects in the future. Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making The Wolverine. We will regroup and move forward aggressively." There's no word on if Japan is still a viable location given the current tragic circumstances in the country. 

Internet speculation has already turned to who will replace the extremely talented helmer, who would've surely delivered an interesting blockbuster. Brick and (the soon to be seen) Looper director Rian Johnson has been mentioned, as has the brilliant and very funny writer/director James Gunn. I'd love to see Gunn helming, and he'll soon be hot off mental vigilante movie, Super - which has been going down a storm at film festivals all over the world. If it's a big name they need, throw some money at Michael Mann - that I would love to see.