Will The 'Fifty Shades' Sequels Be Delayed?!

I should start this off with a kind warning to Fifty Shades Of Grey fans who are still on a total high from seeing the movie in theaters this past weekend after it was released on Feb. 13: If you're not sitting down as you're reading this, you may want to. According to Variety, it looks like those Fifty Shades Of Grey sequels we've all already been promised may be delayed due to behind-the-scenes issues — specifically, between Fifty Shades book author E.L. James, and the film adaptation's studio, Universal. Say it with me now: Nooooooooo!

At this point, it's worth noting that this is all coming from "insiders" in the biz, so it's absolutely possible that it's just rumors — but, still, it's troubling news nonetheless. So, what's the hold up, exactly? Apparently, James may want to write the script for Fifty Shades' next sequel, Fifty Shades Darker , herself, and, considering she's never written a script before, there may be some behind-the-scenes issues going on here. From Variety:

If James does write the screenplay for “Fifty Shades Darker,” it could mean a later release date for the sequel. James has never written a film before, and the studio may need to factor in extra time for revisions. But as in the case of Gillian Flynn, who wrote both the book and screenplay for “Gone Girl,” the project could potentially benefit from an author adapting her own characters.

Because of this uncertainty, production on “Fifty Shades Darker” likely won’t get under way until the first quarter of 2016. That would mean the sequel wouldn’t arrive until late 2016 or the first quarter of 2017. Without a shooting script or start date, having the movie ready for next year’s Valentine’s Day is highly unlikely.

Variety continues:

“The studio had always intended to sit down with the author after the film opened and discuss next steps, and that has not yet happened,” said a Universal spokesman.

Considering there've also been reports that Fifty Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson won't be returning for the already confirmed sequels to the film, a release date delay would make sense — especially if this rumor turns out to be true as well.

However, as troubling as that news may sound to fans, it's time to take a deep breath and think about things calmly for a moment: 1) These rumors are not confirmed, so it's entirely possible that this is just industry chatter, and 2) Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have already signed on for both sequels, and, considering the fact that Fifty Shades is now the top-grossing February film release of all time, Universal isn't going to let this franchise go. The films will happen at some point — right now, it's just a matter of when.

Image: Giphy, Giphy