As 2016 draws to a close, the future of the film James Bond is a little up in the air.
It’s been a bit of a lost year. No progress toward a finding a studio to release Bond 25. No public announcement about a writer or director. No hint about a release date.
With that in mind, will Eon Productions follow its own advice about how to carry on a film franchise?
On July 31, 2012, Eon’s Michael G. Wilson gave an address about the subject. Among his recommendations:
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a “formula for complacency”
“It’s important to change things, to get ahead of the curve before things taper off,” Wilson said.
In the last week, tabloids in the U.S. and U.K. have come out with studios saying that Eon or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are determined that Daniel Craig’s decade-long reign as 007 continue.
The Page Six feature of the New York Post said Eon boss Barbara Broccoli is producing the off-Broadway play Othello, where Craig plays Iago, to eventually get the actor back for Bond 25. The U.K. Mirror said MGM was “panicked” after not hearing anything from Craig.
If there’s any truth to either (which remains to be seen), it doesn’t appear as if anyone is looking to make a major change.
“Believe in your brand. Cubby Broccoli used to say Bond is the star”
“That means that Bond is bigger than any actor who portrays him,” Wilson said, “and no writer, director or producer is indispensable.”
“It all boils down to don’t be afraid of change”
“The Bond films have been recast six times and each time the series was re-evented,” Wilson said. “Each actor brought out different aspects of the character.”
“We believe story is not an element, the story is a key to a good film.”
The last two Bond films, Skyfall and SPECTRE, included Bond confronting his backstory. They sold a lot of tickets in theaters.
Eon could continue down that path. Perhaps Bond could discover his father wasn’t his actual father. The agent could confront, yet again, a major personal crisis. That could yield many dramatic moments.
Or the filmmakers could change yet again.
If you want to watch Wilson make his comments, the quotes cited here begin after the 11:00 mark: