Bond 26 questions: The lot of noise edition

Image that the official James Bond feed on Twitter has used in the past

As far as Bond 26 is concerned, there is more noise than light.

Some websites claim to know what’s going on. But the main tidbit from the powers that be is a Barbara Broccoli comment that filming on Bond 26 won’t occur until at least two years from now.

Still, nature abhors a vacuum. So there are questions out there, even if there aren’t real answers.

Who will be the next Bond actor?

Who knows? Supposedly, Eon wants a tall actor (after 15 years of Daniel Craig, who is shorter than six feet tall). Supposedly, Eon wants a young (say early 30s) actor who can hold the role for a while.

Craig was 38 when he started his tenure. The youngest Bond actor was George Lazenby (29 when On Her Majesty’s Secret Service started filming). Sean Connery was 31 when cameras rolled on Dr. No. Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were in their 40s.

Last week, a website called Giant Freakin Robot claimed it had sources that the next film Bond will be a person of color and a search was underway.

Whatever. As stated before, there’s more noise than light at this point.

Why is it taking so long?

In the “old days,” Eon Productions could recast the role and implement a major change in direction quickly.

Between A View to a Kill (1985) and The Living Daylights (1987), Eon went to a more serious creative direction. Eon also cast not one, but two, actors. Pierce Brosnan was initially cast but NBC renewed the TV series Remington Steele. Timothy Dalton then got the role.

Now, Barbara Broccoli says a serious rethink is taking place and a script can’t even be started. She has said Bond is being “reinvented.”

What should we expect?

In the near term, more noise. Bookies and tabloids in the U.K. have an interesting relationship when it comes to Bond.

The bookies change odds to generate more bets. That churn provides the tabloids the opportunity to publish clickbait articles.

And it’s not just the tabloids in the mix. Remember back in January when a reporter for Deadline: Hollywood tweeted that he had talked to someone that, “I think we here (sic) who it is after the Oscars.”

The Oscars have come and gone with no word.

To be fair, the Deadline writer then published a follow-up tweet: “Obviously taking this with a grain a salt as putting an ETA on these types of decisions never works out but interesting that some believe this won’t be an all year wait.”

From the standpoint of Bond fans, it will be a long, hard slog.

WB to distribute MGM movies internationally, Deadline says

MGM logo

Warner Bros. has agreed to distribute Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films internationally, Deadline: Hollywood reported.

The agreement begins with “with Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All in November and continuing with the 2023 slate and beyond; the second title under the pact being Creed III in March,” Deadline said.

However, Warner Bros., part of Warner Bros. Discovery, will not be involved with MGM’s James Bond series right away.

No Time to Die, the most recent Bond film, was distributed by Universal internationally. That will remain in effect for Bond 26, according to Deadline.

“The terms of the new Warner Bros. agreement with MGM include the foreign distribution of subsequent 007 films from Bond 27 onward,” according to the entertainment news website.

Barbara Broccoli, the head of Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films, has said it will be “at least two years” before Bond 26 begins filming. That would imply Bond 26 won’t be out until 2025 or so.

On the Warner Bros. side, the new agreement was hammered out by Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy. They were formerly film executives at MGM.

Eon spoke highly of De Luca and Abdy and said it hoped they’d be retained after Amazon completed its acquisition of MGM. Instead, De Luca and Abdy departed and landed at Warner Bros.

‘Code Name Theory’ continues

James Bond gunbarrel logo

Nature abhors a vacuum. With the James Bond film franchise, the “code name theory” (that each James Bond actor represents a different character) continues with the ending of No Time to Die.

Here is an excerpt of a Screenrant story published July 12:

Even so, there is a strong argument that Bond 26, and whoever takes over the role, would benefit from acknowledging the death of Daniel Craig’s incarnation of James Bond. This would also potentially allow for the acceptance of the long-held theory that 007/James Bond is a codename or honorific title given to spies over the years.

Right, you mean how the Elmo Lincoln, Johnny Weissmuller, Mike Henry, Ron Ely (and a lot of other actors) versions of Tarzan had code names? Or how Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Robert Pattinson were supposedly playing different characters who happened to named Bruce Wayne who was also Batman?

Give it a rest.

There is no strong argument for the next Bond actor to “acknowledge” the code name theory. Bond is like other long-lasting characters. Should there be a “code name theory” for Sherlock Holmes?

No. Let it go. Stop it. Stop it now.

Meanwhile, the public accepts all these different versions of Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan and Batman. For some reason, the “code name theory” lingers for Bond.

Yes, the Bond film series has one production company. But Eon said in 2005 it was *starting over* with Casino Royale. People (and entertainment websites hungry for clicks) won’t let this go.

Bond 26 questions: The how long (?) edition

Not coming to a theater near you anytime soon

So Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions, says (in remarks reported by Deadline) that James Bond is about to be reinvented and that filming of Bond 26 won’t take place for at least two years.

Also, she said, there’s no actor and no script. Neither will happen until the reinvention occurs.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

So when might Bond 26 come out? The MI6 James Bond website estimates “2025, possibly later.”

That makes sense. Two years from now is 2024. The film would then go into post-production and may not be out until 2025.

Are there potential complications? Amazon, the new owner of studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is yet to be heard from. Would Amazon try to pressure Eon to move faster? Or is the tech company satisfied with all the Bond programming Amazon Prime has?

Is this a surprise? No. Eon is not known for advanced planning.

Some Bond fans hoped it’d be different this time. No Time to Die completed filming in fall 2019. It then went on the shelf until fall 2021.

Eon had time to look to the future if it wanted to do so. But Barbara Broccoli said after No Time to Die came out she was celebrating the tenure of Daniel Craig as Bond. She didn’t sound as if she were in a hurry to deal with a post-Craig era.

What might take place because of this? No Time to Die stirred a strongly mixed reaction in the fanbase. For some, Craig/Bond’s death was a bold creative choice. Others strongly did not like it.

Now, that mixed atmosphere will linger, with at least a four-year gap between No Time to Die and Bond 26.

Anything else? It’s getting harder to imagine the likes of Idris Elba (who turns 50 in September), Henry Cavill, 39, or Tom Hardy (who turns 45 in September) being cast as Bond.

Yes, Roger Moore was in his mid-40s when he began his Bond run but that was a different era.

Yes, Craig was in his 50s when his run finally ended. But he’s a special case, given Broccoli’s strong admiration for the actor. She spoke more than once about being in denial that Craig’s time as Bond was ending.

Broccoli says Bond to be reinvented, Baz reports

Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions

Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli says Bond 26 will be “a reinvention of Bond,” Baz Bamigboye of Deadline: Hollywood reported.

Broccoli said it will be at least two years before Bond 26 starts filming, according to Bamigboye. The Eon chief said there is no script and a search for the next cinematic James Bond hasn’t begun.

Bamigboye formerly worked for the Daily Mail and scored some Bond scoops that proved correct.

Broccoli made the remarks “at a star-studded private event in central London to honor Broccoli and her brother Michael G. Wilson for their BFI Fellowships.”

Here’s an excerpt of the article:

“Nobody’s in the running,” she disclosed. “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.”

Last year’s No Time to Die ended Daniel Craig’s five-film run as Bond. The movie ended with the Craig version of Bond being killed. The end titles still proclaimed, “James Bond Will Return.” Craig’s first Bond, Casino Royale, started the series over.

Much of the article is a description of the event, including former Bond composer David Arnold playing the piano.

Broccoli: Decision on new Bond will ‘take some time’

Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions

Eon Productions boss Barbara Broccoli told Variety that selecting a new James Bond actor is “going to take some time.”

“It’s a big decision,” the Eon chief said. “It’s not just casting a role. It’s about a whole rethink about where we’re going.”

The Variety story was posted today. The interview was conducted Thursday in New York when a new version of Macbeth reopened after a temporary shutdown due to COVID-19. The play stars former Bond Daniel Craig and is produced by Broccoli.

Broccoli again sang Craig’s praises.

“He’s just the greatest actor ever, and I think audiences will be thrilled by this portrayal because he’s funny, he’s dangerous, he’s all the things you would want,” Broccoli told Variety.

The Bond franchise is in flux. Craig has departed after doing five films released over 15 years. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, was sold to Amazon last month. The deal was announced last year.

What’s more, MGM’s two top film executives, Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, are now gone. Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson issued a statement to The New York Times last year that they wanted De Luca and Abdy to stay at MGM. That advice wasn’t heeded.

Separately, Amazon made a regulatory filing on Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing valued MGM’s film and TV library at $3.4 billion. Amazon also said it paid off $2.5 billion in debt it assumed from MGM.

MGM film execs favored by Eon to depart studio, Variety says

MGM logo

Two Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film executives favored by Eon Productions are departing the studio, Variety reported.

Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, the top two executives in MGM’s film division, “have both been let go of the company,” the entertainment news outlet said. An excerpt:

De Luca had recently made overtures to David Zaslav about coming to Warner Bros. Discovery, according to an insider. The rumor mill has been swirling in recent weeks about the executives long-term future, with many predicting that he would be headed for the exit soon.

In July 2021, Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson issued a statement to The New York Times after Amazon agreed to buy MGM. “Mike and Pam understand that we are at a critical juncture and that the continuing success of the James Bond series is dependent on us getting the next iteration right and will give us the support we need to do this.”

The statement quoted the Eon duo as saying, “Amazon has assured us that Bond will continue to debut” in movie theaters, according to the Times. “Our hope is that they will empower Mike and Pam to continue to run MGM unencumbered.” 

De Luca’s title was chairman of MGM’s motion picture group while Abdy was his deputy. Amazon already had its own film operation.

Executive changes are common after corporate acquisitions. Amazon’s $8.45 billion deal for MGM was announced last year and became final in March.

For Eon, the departure of De Luca and Abdy means the company that produces James Bond films will have yet another MGM executive team to deal with. It remains to be seen how this will affect the development of Bond 26. Actor Daniel Craig has exited the role of Bond after five movies from 2006 through 2021.

Eon’s long goodbye with Daniel Craig

Eon boss Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig has, after a run of more than 15 years, bid adieu to Eon Productions’ James Bond film series. But Eon, at least not yet, isn’t done with the actor.

Eon boss Barbara Broccoli is producing an upcoming stage production of Macbeth starring Craig. This follows a protracted campaign that sought to produce award nominations for No Time to Die, Craig’s final turn as James Bond.

The campaign had mixed results: Six BAFTA nominations, including best British film and three Oscar nominations. No nominations for Craig, either way.

It’s no secret that Barbara Broccoli zeroed in early on Craig to succeed Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Brosnan was the final Bond actor chosen by her father, Albert R. Broccoli. Craig was the first Bond actor she chose.

The question is whether the Macbeth play will delay Eon from getting on with Bond’s future.

You could argue that Eon really can’t go very far down the Bond 26 path.

Amazon last year agreed to acquire Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio. MGM finances Bond films and the power of the purse still is powerful. The Amazon-MGM deal is not final. Until that happens, Bond 26 can only go so far.

Broccoli, however, has signaled she’s not in a hurry when it comes to Bond 26.

“To be honest, we’re not looking right now. We’re not in the conversation right now,” Broccoli told The Hollywood Reporter on a podcast in January. “We are living in the present moment and it’s a joyful moment, it’s a celebratory moment. We’re celebrating Daniel’s extraordinary achievement over 16 years.”

For now, that celebration continues. We’ll see how it goes.

How Bond 26 may be affected by London studio moves

h/t David Leigh of The James Bond Dossier

Willard Whyte was said to play Monopoly with real buildings. Major companies are doing that with London studios and that may affect Bond 26, eventually.

Pre-pandemic, Walt Disney Co. in 2019 signed a deal to lease most of Pinewood Studios in a long-term deal.

Pinewood, of course, was the production home to most James Bond films made by Eon Productions. Parts of studio property are named after Bond titles and personnel. One includes a road named after Eon’s Michael G. Wilson. And there is the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage.

Now, according to The Guardian, Amazon Prime Video has reached a long-term lease deal at Shepperton Studios in London. Netflix also has a big leasing deal at Shepperton.

Both Pinewood and Shepperton are owned by Pinewood Group.

In 2019, there was speculation whether Bond 26 (whenever that goes into production) might be forced to vacate Pinewood.

In 2021, Amazon, the parent company of Amazon Prime Video, agreed to purchase Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio. That transaction, valued at $8.45 billion, isn’t final yet.

Still all this business dealing raises the question of whether Bond 26 might be based at Shepperton, rather than Pinewood. It’s way too early to tell. But it’s something for fans to keep an eye on.

Broccoli: No steps toward selecting new Bond

Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions

Barbara Broccoli spoke to The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast in an episode posted this week. The Eon Productions boss celebrated Daniel Craig’s long run as James Bond and again said she’s not in a hurry to pick his sucessor.

“To be honest, we’re not looking right now. We’re not in the conversation right now,” she said toward the end of a 30-minute interview. “We are living in the present moment and it’s a joyful moment, it’s a celebratory moment. We’re celebrating Daniel’s extraordinary achievement over 16 years.”

“We want to live in this moment for as long as possible and really applaud Daniel and really enjoy it. At some point later, we’ll sit down and think about the future. Right now, I want to live in the present and it’s a very happy place to be right now.”

The podcast also featured an interview with Craig of about an hour.

No Time to Die was released last year following five delays, three related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 25th Bond film made by Eon had a global theatrical run of $774 million and is now available on home video.

Bond’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, last year agreed to be acquired by Amazon for $8.45 billion. That deal hasn’t closed yet. It’s uncertain whether Amazon will make major changes at MGM. Broccoli has repeatedly said she’s not interested in streaming show spinoffs related to Bond.