Bad Boys II
Joe Carnahan has walked away from sequel Bad Boys For Life... who else could direct the third instalment in the action comedy franchise? Columbia Pictures

Bad Boys 3 aka Bad Boys For Life is a project that Columbia Pictures has been trying to get off the ground for over ten years now, and it finally looked like the sequel was getting somewhere when writer-director Joe Carnahan came aboard back in 2015. But now, The Grey filmmaker has exited the project (despite having penned the early script)... things aren't looking so promising!

It's unclear whether Carnahan stepped away from the movie due to scheduling conflicts or creative differences, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is now looking for a new director and writer which indicates that its not quite satisfied with the latest draft.

So who could replace Carnahan as director on the Martin Lawrence/Will Smith-led movie? IBTimes UK offers up a few suggestions...

Michael Bay

Okay, so this suggestion might be leaning towards more "wishful-thinking" than a realistic possibility but it's safe to say that fans of the first two instalments in the Bad Boys franchise would be happy for director Michael Bay to return. He knows the characters and he knows what kind of tone is expected but unfortunately, it doesn't seem like he's too keen on taking on the sequel having previously told HeyUGuys: "They just can't get it together. There's a point when... life's too short."

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Christopher Miller and Phil Lord
Christopher Miller (L) and Phil Lord might be too busy directing upcoming Star Wars spin-off, the young Han Solo movie, but they would be a great fit for the Bad Boys franchise too meh Akpanudosen / Getty

Directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are hot property when it comes to Hollywood right now, having impressed audiences with animation The Lego Movie and its sequel The Lego Batman movie. Not only that, but they've also taken on the task of helming the upcoming Star Wars spin-off centred on young Han Solo.

Basically, these guys have filmmaking guts and know how to adapt to an already existing franchise making them very worthy candidates. But if that's not enough to convince you, they're also the brains behind both instalments of buddy-cop comedy 21 Jump Street...

Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Jordan Vogt-Roberts has impressed critics with his treatment of action in Kong: Skull Island so he'd undoubtedly nail the more thrilling sequences in Bad Boys For Life Justin Tallis / Getty

Indie director Vogt-Roberts is just getting to grips with large-scale blockbusters, but it certainly doesn't seem he's struggling to make the transition what with his latest outing, Kong: Skull Island, proving pretty popular with critics. The general consensus on that picture is that it's fun, vibrant and action-packed... exactly what fans want from future Bad Boys movies right?

Justin Simien

Justin Simien
Dear White People filmmaker Justin Simien is young, fresh and can direct and write... what more evidence is needed? Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Not only is Dear White People's Justin Simien a director, he's also a dab-hand at writing for screen too, so could easily take over from Carnahan when it comes to both duties. Unlike the other directors on this suggestions list, Simien – while having critical success with previous outings – hasn't really received his deserved big break yet either, could this be it?

Doug Liman

Doug Liman
Edge Of Tomorrow proved that director Doug Liman knows a thing or two about thrills Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty

He proved himself to be a master of action movies with his 2014 outing Edge Of Tomorrow, but what really impressed cinema-goers about that film was how well it juggled comedy and more emotion-filled sequences along with its thrills. The Bad Boys franchise has always featured similar moments so it seems like Liman would be a good fit.

Matthew Vaughn

Matthew Vaughn
Best known for Kick-Ass and Kingsman, Vaughn is certainly a maestro in all things action-comedy Gabriel Bouys / Getty

The reasons why Vaughn would be a great choice for Bad Boys For Life would be similar to those that have us championing Liman. Known best for helming Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service, the English filmmaker is an expert at getting the balance between action and comedy just right and latelast year, he finished production on sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle... The timing couldn't have worked out better.