There's still a whole lot of confusion over when Fifty Shades Darker is going to start production, in fact there's been very little news on that front since last month when James Foley (House of Cards, Glengarry Glen Ross) was officially confirmed to be directing.
Foley's appointment was met with a mainly positive reception, though Forbes criticised the choice to cast a male director in the wake of Sam Taylor-Johnson's departure from the franchise due to the stresses of working with E. L. James.
It's been well reported from behind the scenes of the first film that the whole thing was a production nightmare, with E.L. James using her unprecedented degree of creative control to run roughshod over director Taylor-Johnson and the other writers and executives, fighting them over the tiniest changes, even those that were necessary to adapt this glorified fan-fiction to the big screen.
The whole production was apparently such a mess that Taylor-Johnson declined to return to the sequel and Universal Pictures had a bit of difficulty pinning down another director. I guess James' reputation preceded her.
Additionally, James' husband, Niall Leonard, will be writing the screenplay for Fifty Shades Darker so - good luck James Foley I guess?
Anyway despite this big step forward with the appointment of the new director, there's been little movement on the production front so far. The newest of new news that we have right now is the speculation that Foley may continue on with the franchise to direct Fifty Shades Freed, the final instalment in the trilogy.
E. L. James' instagram sparked said rumours with a photo of Foley, James and Leonard, tagged with #FSD (Fifty Shades Darker) and #FSF (Fifty Shades Freed). This seems to suggest that Foley may also be attached as director for the Fifty Shades Darker sequel, set to be released in 2018.
There's also been some chatter around Fifty Shades Darker being filmed back-to-back with the Fifty Shades Freed sequel in order to save time and money, Showbiz 411 cited "budget constraints" for this possibility. Whilst this is still unconfirmed, the rumour that Fifty Shades Freed would be split into two parts, a finale release tactic made popular by Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games film franchises, has been confirmed to be false by IMDB.
Fifty Shades Darker is due out February 10, 2017 and Fifty Shades Freed on February 9, 2018. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan will reprise their lead roles as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.