In devastating news for fans of Britain’s most famous ursine marmalade lover, Paddington 2 co-writer Simon Farnaby has confirmed he will not be returning to script Paddington 3.
The Horrible Histories veteran stepped up to co-write the 2017 movie with director Paul King, after appearing as a security guard in the first film.
King announced earlier this year that he will not be returning as director for the upcoming third movie, and now Farnaby has joined him in stepping aside.
“It was just too much to bear,” he told The Telegraph in an interview to promote the return of BBC sitcom Ghosts.
“Paul King and I worked really hard to make Paddington 2 better than the original, and it was a success, so everyone said ‘let’s do another’. But we just can’t do three.”
Paddington 2 received extraordinary critical acclaim and currently sits as the highest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes by virtue of maintaining a 100% approval score with more reviews than any other movie with a perfect rating.
Watch: ‘The Gentlemen’ interview - Hugh Grant on the joy of playing villains
It brought home an impressive $228m (£176m) at the worldwide box office too, making a third movie pretty much a dead cert for Studiocanal.
Read more: King on Paddington 2 and kindness
Farnaby said: “The books are all about kindness and good deeds and not judging people.
“As Aunt Lucy says: ‘Look for the good in people and you’ll find it’. We wanted that philosophy.”
One of the most memorable delights of Paddington 2 was Hugh Grant’s villainous turn as the slimy actor Phoenix Buchanan.
Farnaby revealed in the interview that he and King referred to the character as Hugh Grant when they were writing the script.
He added: “We wanted a villain – someone famous on Paddington’s street whom people would believe over Paddington. British and well-thought-of, but devious. So we thought an actor would be perfect.
“When we sent Hugh the script, we thought we’d better change the character’s name, because he might not find it very flattering.”
The script for Paddington 3 is currently being written, as confirmed by King earlier this year when he announced his departure.
Ben Whishaw will likely return to provide the voice of the titular bear, having reprised the role for Nickelodeon animated series The Adventures of Paddington.
Other than that, little is known about future movie outings for Paddington, but it seems unlikely Phoenix Buchanan will make his return.
Grant told Yahoo Movies UK in January that there won’t be a prison break for Phoenix and added that “he's loving it, he's dancing away with the other inmates”.