Catherine Hardwicke

New Moon means a new director for the Twilight sequel.

Catherine Hardwicke, who scored the biggest opening ever for a female director, will not return to helm the sequel to the vampire flick due to time constraints, Variety reports.

"I am sorry that due to timing I will not have the opportunity to direct New Moon," Hardwicke said. "Directing Twilight has been one of the great experiences of my life, and I am grateful to the fans for their passionate support of the film. I wish everyone at Summit [Entertainment] the best with the sequel — it is a great story."

Summit has not yet named a replacement director for New Moon, which is targeted for a late 2009 or early 2010 release. The film was greenlit Nov. 22 — during Twilight's opening weekend — and Hardwicke's name was noticeably missing from the returning roster. Negotiations stalled when the director and Summit disagreed over how to adapt New Moon for the screen as the goal is to feature more of Robert Pattinson, according to Variety.

"Catherine did an incredible job in helping us to launch the Twilight franchise, and we thank her for all of her efforts and we very much hope to work with her on future Summit projects," Erik Feig, Summit production president, said. "We as a studio have a mandate to bring the next installment in the franchise to the big screen in a timely fashion so that fans can get more of Edward, Bella and all of the characters that Stephenie Meyer has created. We are able to pursue an aggressive time frame as we have the luxury of only adapting the novels into screenplays as opposed to having to create a storyline from scratch."

Though Hardwicke won't be returning, stars Pattinson and Kristen Stewart will be, as will screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg.

Twilight has nabbed $139 million in three weeks of release.

Are you surprised by Hardwicke's departure? Who would you like to see helm New Moon, and perhaps the rest of the franchise as well?