Sam Taylor-Johnson steps down from 'Fifty Shades' sequel

Sam Taylor-Johnson has announced that she will not be returning to direct the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel. The director, who is rumoured to have clashed with Fifty Shades author EL James over creative control, has explained in a statement that despite being "hugely grateful" to have been given the chance to be part of the hugely popular franchise, she will not be returning for Fifty Shades Darker. Dornan "While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three," Taylor-Johnson said in a statement. "Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful. I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota and Jamie," she added. Also departing from the film series is screenwriter Kelly Marcel, who has declined to be involved in future projects. All is not lost however, as both Jaime Dornan and Dakota Johnson are currently on-board to reprise their roles in the sequel, which is due to be released at some point in 2016. Since they were first published in 2011, the three Fifty Shades novels by EL James – aka Erika Leonard, a former TV executive from west London – have collectively sold over 100 million copies worldwide. More stories: James Franco on his sexuality: ‘I guess it depends how you define gay’ One Direction’s Liam: ‘I ended up kissing Zayn once’