State of the Bond franchise: Mid-2022

I just did one of these posts in April. I really thought that would take care of things for a long time. I was wrong.

Comments from Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli, originally reported by Deadline, suggest the Bond movie franchise is adrift.

If Broccoli is to be believed, Eon doesn’t know who should play Bond following Daniel Craig. It hasn’t determined the direction of future 007 films after Craig has retired from the part with 2021’s No Time to Die.

The key Broccoli quotes from the Deadline story

“We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away.”

Eon has been adrift before. Following Die Another Day in 2002, the company that has made 007 films had no idea where to go.

The source of this? Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli’s half-brother in a 2005 New York Times story.

“I was desperately afraid, and Barbara was desperately afraid, we would go downhill,” said Michael G. Wilson, the producer of the new Bond film, “Casino Royale,” with Ms. Broccoli. He even told that to Pierce Brosnan, the suave James Bond who had a successful run of four films, he said.

“We are running out of energy, mental energy,” Mr. Wilson recalled saying. “We need to generate something new, for ourselves.”

In a 2012 speech, Wilson further described the period involved.

“We had been working on a new script for a year and getting absolutely nowhere,” he said then.

As told by Wilson, Eon got out of its funk at that time when he and Barbara Broccoli talked and each wanted to adapt Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, start the film series over and recast the Bond role. The result, 2006’s Casino Royale, was a highlight of the Eon series.

What is old is new again. Except, for now, there hasn’t been an attempt at a script. Also, there’s no complete Fleming novel to use. Eon didn’t get the rights to the Casino Royale novel until a few years before pre-production began on the 2006 movie.

Michael G. Wilson turned 80 earlier this year. Barbara Broccoli is 62. Wilson has been involved *full-time* with Eon for 50 years. Broccoli has been involved *full-time* with Eon for 40 years.

The movie business is in flux. It is being battered by streaming and new technology. Bond (created by Ian Fleming in 1952) and its movie makers (whose first movie came out 60 years ago this year) are anchored in the 20th century.

Eon has had a lot of time to ponder a post-Daniel Craig future. No Time to Die, Eon’s most recent effort, wrapped filming in fall 2019.

If you take Barbara Broccoli at her word, in mid-2022, the Bond filmmakers still haven’t figured out where to go.

To be sure, keeping a film franchise going for 60 years is a great achievement.

Yet, where does it go from here? We don’t know. And the answer won’t be known soon.

5 Responses

  1. I honestly would like to see an expanded TV universe featuring Felix Leiter, Ali Kerim Bey, and Valentin Zukovsky.

  2. Maybe they’ll be desperate enough to do the right thing and license the novels for a streaming series, a la The IPCRESS File.

  3. As long as they don’t kill off my hero Dir no apparent reason again – and do not make him a family father again.

    And if it’s truly that hard to come up with a good spy story, maybe it’s time to hand over the reigns to someone new? Don’t do any any origin stories, reboots, whatever; simply continue with a new actor where we left off with Brosnan. We will leave the Craig era as what it was, ab anomaly. Also don’t follow in the foot steps of an expanded universe a la Marvel or the multi-movie story arcs of Star Wars.

    Stick to the original Bond formula: give me 90 minutes of saving the world from some evil villain filled with action, exotic locations, etc.

  4. @socrates17
    That would be a fantastic idea ! On a related subject, I always felt that Timothy Dalton should have been Bond in a series of BBC TV adaptations of the novels. I honestly think Bond in TV could be a potentially interesting idea. I would like to see an extended universe TV series or a Bond TV series. I think the feature film format has run it’s course and now it’s time to change directions.

  5. […] Gray Man comes as the James Bond film series has entered a hiatus as it tries to decide where to go following the end of Daniel Craig’s five-film run as Bond. […]

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