EDITORIAL — The Future of James Bond: Spectre Spoilers, Bond 25 Theories and Recasting 007
Daniel Craig does not want to play James Bond anymore, and after watching his performance in Spectre, I’m convinced everyone will soon feel the same way. Both the star and series are ready for a change, but Craig has one more film on his contract. Perhaps the only way to pump new blood into this franchise is to spill some.
STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT THE EVENTS OF SPECTRE SPOILED FOR YOU.
Sam Mendes’ Spectre is the culmination of Daniel Craig’s previous 007 films (2006’s Casino Royale, 2008’s Quantum of Solace, 2012’s Skyfall) and offers a proper sendoff for Craig’s tenure as Bond. Which is good, because it is evident from his performance and interviews that Craig has grown disinterested with the role and is ready to move on.
Craig comes off as emotionless and disconnected in his latest outing as James Bond. His character is dangerously over-confident, even reckless compared to other films in the series. It’s almost as if he’s aware he cannot be fatally harmed. Because of this, no real threat of danger exists in Spectre and the film suffers for it.
In the opening scene, Bond chases a man into a helicopter and starts a brawl with both the man and the pilot – all while zooming over thousands of Mexico City pedestrians. It’s a tense scene, but at no time did I think Bond was in any danger, and neither did he. Of course he’d make it out unscathed.
Has the Bond series really become so predictable and unsurprising that even its star would rather “slash his wrists” than make another?
After four films and a grueling Spectre shoot, who can blame Craig for feeling that way? A man can only have so many martinis before the hangover and fatigue sets in. It’s time to move on.
Recasting the role of James Bond with a new actor has become an inevitable and expected tradition of the series. Currently, A-list names such as, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy and Hugh Jackman are being tossed around as possible successors. However, it seems the producers have painted themselves into a corner when it comes to recasting the role.
Beginning with Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s Bond series was intended as a rebooted origin story. The film starts at the character’s beginning by opening with his first licensed kill. In this new universe, Daniel Craig’s character is not only the first 007, he is the real James Bond – a fact confirmed in Skyfall when his father’s headstone at their titular estate revealed the name, “Andrew Bond.”
Before Craig’s era, the other films never confirmed whether 007’s real name was James Bond or if it was just a code name. Were we to believe that all of the on-screen Bonds (Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan) were the same man, or did they simply share the same job and alias?
Think about it. Spies are supposed to be stealth, covert professionals with various covers. What kind of secret agent would not only drop their LEGAL BIRTH NAME while on a mission, but repeat it?!? “Bond. James Bond… in case you want to look up my address later.” It would make sense if the name “James Bond” was nothing more than an alias.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case when the most recent series of films goes out of its way to establish Craig’s character as the original James Bond.
If Casino Royale was a reset of the Bond timeline and the real name of Craig’s character is James Bond, then where do they go from here? How can they recast another actor to play James Bond without having to launch another reboot of the character? First, let’s consider where we leave our one, true James Bond.
SPECTRE SPOILERS ALERT!
At Spectre‘s end, Bond defeats his ultimate adversary (Blofeld) but spares his life and rides off into the sunset with Madeline in his signature Aston Martin.
All of his boxes have been checked, and yet, Daniel Craig still has one more Bond film to fulfill on his contract. At this point, there’s nothing left for Craig’s character to do… but die.
So, how does an aging franchise simultaneously pass the torch while reinvigorating a jaded fan-base that has grown weary of indestructible super-men and shallow threats?
It shows us that 007 is human and proves it by delivering the ultimate shock:
The Death of James Bond.
SERIOUS SPECTRE SPOILERS AND SUPER NERDY BOND 25 FAN-FICTION ALERT!!!
Aside from featuring more action, the next Bond entry should have heightened stakes and character development between Bond and Blofeld. I’d personally like to see the return of clever Q gadgets, but would avoid steering into Brosnan-era campiness. To achieve the correct tone, I’d nominate Sicario’s Denis Villeneuve to direct a gritty, revenge-fueled, action-packed finale for Daniel Craig’s Bond.
Here’s my fan-synopsis for the 25th Bond film I’m titling: Quartermaster.
Remaining in the same established universe, Quartermaster picks up two years after the events of Spectre. MI6 has reformed and recruited a new team of agents (several young, up-and-coming British thesps) that are training for Double-O status under the supervision of Moneypenny (Naomie Harris). During a foreign conference, M (Ralph Fiennes) is abducted by a mysterious terrorist group that threatens an imminent global attack. Clues reveal that the imprisoned Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) has ties to M’s captors, but he will only speak to one man: James Bond (Daniel Craig). This prompts Q (Ben Whishaw) to track the Aston Martin, locate Bond’s whereabouts and lure him out of retirement. Tragically, the terrorists piggyback the signal and murder Bond’s wife, Madeline (Lea Seydoux). Out for revenge, Bond interrogates Blofeld (assisting in a Hannibal Lecter-type capacity) and reluctantly accepts the demands of his nemesis for information on his wife’s murderers. Bond then leads a select team of Moneypenny’s agents (equipped with badass Q tech) on a guerilla mission to recover M and avert a devastating terrorist attack. One by one, each of the young agents are killed until two remain; one is a spy working for the duplicitous Blofeld, and the other is the franchise’s next 007. After rescuing M, Bond sacrifices himself to save the remaining agent – falling prey to Blofeld’s deadly cat-and-mouse game and passing the torch to his successor (John Boyega or Emily Blunt).
This solution would provide Craig the opportunity to go out with a bang, set up the series with a new 007, and help right the ship for future installments of the franchise.
But, wait! You can’t just have anyone be 007. James Bond is 007! They’re synonymous! You can’t have one without the other!
Then make them one and the same.
This is how you explain a new actor every five films. This is how you move the story forward without retconning what came before. As the original 007, Daniel Craig’s James Bond was an exemplary agent. In honor of his sacrifice, the name James Bond will now become a code name: a living legacy with a reputation that precedes itself. It is a name that carries weight and invokes fear: a mantle worn by all future 007s. They shall go by the name Bond. James Bond.
Problem solved, but just in case they want to leave a door open for Craig’s return…
After credits scene: Q receives that postcard.
Are you shaken? Are you stirred? Do you agree with my ideas or spit on my wild speculation? What would you like to happen in the next Bond film and who would you cast as the next James Bond? Let me know in the comments.