In his statement, Aronofsky says:
"As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of The Wolverine would keep me out of the country for almost a year,...I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again.”
“While we are of course disappointed that Darren can’t do The Wolverine, we also understand and respect his reasons. Having done both The Wrestler and Black Swan with Darren, we know he is an extraordinary talent and we look forward to working with him on other projects in the future. Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making The Wolverine. We will regroup and move forward aggressively.”
While it's possible that the strong, indie-minded director (whose previous Fox films were picked up and released by specialty subsidiary Searchlight) clashed creatively with an equally controlling studio, Aronofsky is dealing with sensitive custody issues surrounding his break-up with actress Rachel Weisz, reports Deadine. Shooting in Japan for too long would have been an issue. Matthew Vaughn is another indie director who bailed on the X-Men: The Last Stand iteration eventually directed by the more malleable Brett Ratner, who was eager to earn some action-movie cred. But Vaughn returned to the franchise, with more directing under his belt, to do X-Men: First Class, which has been filming for a year and is finally due this summer.
Wolverine was scheduled to start shooting next month for a 2012 release, but that will likely change. Who should take over? Variety posits one possibility:
One possible scenario would be for the re-emergence of David Slade, who was a contender to take the helm on "Wolverine," but lost out to Aronofsky. Slade was just announced as the director of Fox's "Daredevil" reboot, but could easily shift over.
Here's ThePlaylist's take.