A SPECTRE reality check

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

Since the SPECTRE teaser trailer came out on March 27, many 007 fans have gotten excited about how the 24th James Bond film may tie together the Daniel Craig era.

It may turn out that way. But it was never planned that way, based on past comments by the filmmakers.

SPECTRE was passe: Here’s a quote from Barbara Broccoli in a 2012 interview with CRAVE ONLINE:

Barbara Broccoli: I mean, we’ve talked about Blofeld over the years. The thing is Blofeld was fantastic for the time but I think it’s about creating characters that are, villains that are more appropriate for the contemporary world. It’s more exciting for us to create somebody new. (emphasis added)

Quantum was better than SPECTRE: Here’s a summary by the JAMES BOND INTERNATIONAL FAN CLUB of an article that originally appeared in SPX magazine.

Interestingly, Wilson and Broccoli told SFX that they have not abandoned the Quantum organisation, but also confirmed that it is not used in ‘Skyfall’. Wilson also revealed that they have the rights to bring back Blofeld and SPECTRE. ‘We believe we can use them. They’re a little dated at the moment. We went for the Quantum organisation, which was more business oriented, trying to corner the market on scarce resources, rather than a criminal organisation that did blackmail and bank robberies…’.

But Wilson’s co-producer Barbara Broccoli added, cautiously, that they needed a little more time to pass before they could go back to ‘extortion and blackmail! The Quantunm organisation does seem far more realistic. (emphasis added)

In 2006’s Casino Royale, the mysterious organization that Bond battled didn’t have a name. In Quantum of Solace, we found out it called, surprise, Quantum. Now, Quantum’s Mr. White is in the SPECTRE teaser trailer. This suggests there’s a tie between Quantum and SPECTRE.

As Emily Litella used to say, “Never mind!”

More seriously, the 2013 settlement with the Kevin McClory estate that gave Eon Productions the ability to use SPECTRE was an opportunity. The success of SPECTRE, the film, will depend on how well Eon seizes upon that opportunity. Still, this was never part of a grand plan. It may still be entertaining, however.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here’s a reminder about Eon’s commitment to continuity. Michael G. Wilson said in 2008 that Quantum of Solace took place “literally an hour” after Casino Royale.

In that hour, a) Bond changed suits from a three piece to a two piece b) M redecorated her office c) Mathis went from being interrogated to moving into a villa that MI6 bought for him, complete with live-in girlfriend d) the year changed from 2006 to 2008. Not exactly much attention to detail. Do people really think Eon had a four-film plan in 2006?

15 Responses

  1. Ah . But what if the 2015 version of Spectre was , say , as faifthfull to the Fleming version as the ‘ new ‘ rebooted James Bond is to Fleming’s original hero ? Ever thought of that ?

  2. Kevin: Are you claiming Wilson and Broccoli didn’t say what they said? I realize you want to keep getting invited to press junkets, but they said what they said. Now, they’re saying something different.

  3. i’m ‘ not ‘ suggesting anything remotely attached to that idea . On the contrary , quite agree with your analysis . BUT take in consideration, for instance , that ( spoiler ahead ) there’s no character named Enrst Stravro Blofeld in the new movie . Not even a single mention …

  4. Let’s just say , for the sake of argument that the 2015 Spectre organisation is to its mythical namesake what U.N.C.L.E seems to be in the new upcoming Man From UNCLE movie …

  5. Damn! That’s a spoiler I didn’t want to read, Kevin! Though I’d kind of already guessed. Once my addled brain figured out a possible explanation for how the Aston Martin BMT216A complete with original gadgets could end up in Skyfall, it occurred to me they couldn’t reboot a certain villain, only his organisation. Because with the Aston Martin EON merged the rebooted Bond back with the original timeline. Bond might be a different person, with the same tastes, but it’s all part of the time same movie timeline again. A certain villain is history just like each former M is history. If anything it shows that EON are perhaps too concerned with continuity rather than not. (Though you’re right Bill about them always saying one thing and then doing the opposite; I mean in the 1980s they said that they would never use QOS for a movie title, for instance. Such examples are numerous.)

  6. Oh well I guess you REALLY have to jetison any real continuity storyline with the Spectre script , then, Craig . I won’t spoil anymore but suffice to say that it contains numerous winks ‘ à la DBV ‘ during the course of the story . I stopped trying to find logical explanations for them, ’cause it’s simply impossible . They’re just ‘ Easter Eggs ‘ as we say in the Video game world . You’ll be charmed to discover them but then, you’ll ask yourself ” why the hell does THIS appear in the story ” ? Except to please fan . I would say Mr Sam Mendès is truly the biggest 007 fan of us all in the end …

  7. I’m sorry to say this, but this is not true. Don’t forget that producers also have the ability NOT to spoil audiences. The settlement was years in the making. For Barbara and Michael it was important to have all rights back related to Bond. And the settlement with Columbia Pictures about the novel “Casino Royale” pumped up the creativeness again of the Bond producers.

    But no, during and shortly after the premiere of “Skyfall” Broccoli and Wilson were already hinting at using S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Here’s the article from Nov. 2012 that’s hinting to that:

    Hell, even screenplay writer John Logan came up with the idea back in Sep. 2011. According to him “Bond should always fight Blofeld”. Here’s the article hinting at that from November 2012:

    Also, there were already settlements with the Kevin McGlory estate back in 2007. In various videogames the Octopus-logo already showed up, which was a deliberate precedent from EON Productions, to see how far they could go with that.

    So in essence, the return of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and perhaps Blofeld was already in the making. I guess during “Quantum Of Solace” the ideas about how to return Blofeld and S.P.E.C.T.R.E. must have been flying around quite a lot at EON headquarters in London.

    And in order to come up with a settlement with the McGlory estate, one can NOT assume that this all was initiated and finalized in one year: 2013. Nono, contacts with BakerHostetler LLP (law firm from Kevin McGlory estate) were already initiated some years before 2013.

    So, in order to call this article a SPECTRE reality check, one needs to fully acquire all sources and information related to that.

  8. One last remark ;-). At times it seems that the writer of this wunderful blog deliberately wants to tone down the influence of the godfather spy franchise, in favour of all the offspring that came after Bond: Mission: Impossible, UNCLE, to name a few ;-).

  9. i like the comment’s by kevin & craig.
    but eon productions are probably playing things by ear.
    however put yourself in their shoe’s, would you really bring back
    Ernst stavro blofeld ?
    would he really fit into todays world of hi-tec organized crime ?
    bringing back the criminal organization which he led would be no
    problem reason’s being, the organization can be the same.but
    whose in control can be different.
    that’s the reason why i don’t think Christophe waltz’s character
    is ersnt stavro blofeld return in spectre.

  10. a reply to gert waterink if you read over the title of this blog
    it says james bond 007 & the other spies

  11. I agree Baldwin, using villains from the earlier films would not be a wise move in the present day. However, in the novel THUNDERBALL Blofeld’s backstory explains how he decided that the burgeoning field of communications was his opportunity to succeed – peddling signals intelligence to both sides. This would be even more relevant in the internet era; the Blofeld of today would be a Snowden-like figure except instead of whistle-blowing he would be using leaked SIGINT data to his advantage. So I see the character Fleming envisaged as even more relevant today.

  12. ‘Q o S’ did start ‘About an hour after ‘CR’, but how much time had elapsed AFTER bond killed Mitchell and showed up at his apartment? And how much time after Bond’s briefing with M in her office? This could easily be 1 week – too short for the new office but that’s artistic license… By the time he does meet up with Mathis – it could conceivable be 3 weeks time. Again not the most realistic time line but conceivable.

  13. David: There’s no way two years passed between those two events. Remember, Casino Royale took place in 2006 and Quantum in 2008.

  14. Gert: The fact remains that Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, for a time, were running down SPECTRE and saying Quantum was a superior idea. Essentially, you’re arguing they really didn’t mean it. Fine, then when do they mean what they say? When can you tell?

  15. […] 21st century, Eon’s brain trust talked about how SPECTRE was passe and how the new Quantum was more sophisticated. Then, Eon got all the rights that had been held by Kevin McClory. Suddenly, SPECTRE was the No. 1 […]

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