Post-trailer questions about the U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Logo for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie

Fans have now gotten a peek of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie via the teaser trailer that went online Feb. 11. That means one thing: more questions.

So here we go:

What does the score sound like? The trailer put out by Warner Bros. doesn’t use any of Daniel Pemberton’s score, the composer said on Twitter. That’s pretty common, especially for a film’s first trailer. Music is always a big element of a movie. But fans will have to wait longer to sample the results of Pemberton’s labors. Ditto for whether the score uses Jerry Goldsmith’s theme for the original theme for the 1964-68 television series.

What about Young Napoleon Solo? The trailer, understandably, spends most of its time on the movie’s leads: Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin. There was just a quick peek of Hugh Grant as Waverly. During production in 2013, it came out there was a “young Napoleon Solo” character. He didn’t appear in the trailer, so no indications of whether young Solo will be part of an extended flashback sequence or something shorter and faster.

Will the “international criminal organization” be revealed as Thrush? In the movie, the discovery of said organization — with ties to former Nazis — spurs the United States to work together with the Soviet Union in 1963, the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Will director Guy Ritchie still use Thrush as a name?

On the original show, Thrush was a very massive organization. The shows makers also had trouble with the name. It initially was Thrush. But after the pilot was filmed, other names were considered, including WASP and MAGGOTT. The makers of the show went with Thrush.

The U.N.C.L.E. Special appeared. Will any other memes of the series? Given the movie has an “origin” story, that makes it harder. Some of the memes — the secret headquarters, badges related to the security system, the communicators — were there because U.N.C.L.E. had been well established. Still, some fans feared the U.N.C.L.E. Special might be missing from the film. So perhaps others might be present somehow.

Separated at birth? U.N.C.L.E. and 007 guns

Albert R. Broccoli, from the available evidence, couldn’t stand The Man From U.N.C.L.E. In his autobiography, the 007 film producer called the 1964-68 television show “a straight steal from (Ian) Fleming’s use of acronyms like SMERSH and SPECTRE.” (Page 199, When the Snow Melts).

The U.N.C.L.E. Special in its fully assembled glory


For a short time, Bond creator Ian Fleming was involved in development, his main contribution was the hero’s name of Napoleon Solo. Of course, there was a gangster called Mr. Solo in Goldfinger, so Eon Productions attempted to prevent the show (originally titled Solo) from going into production. The whole matter was settled out of court, though Cubby may have gotten a bit of revenge. Goldfinger’s script was changed in its latter drafts so that Mr. Solo was crushed in a Lincoln Continental after not wanting to participate in Goldfinger’s scheme.

Still, Broccoli’s animosity might not have prevented Eon from, eh, borrowing from U.N.C.L.E.

One of the iconic props of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was the U.N.C.L.E. Special, a Walther P38 (initially a Mauser) handgun with a sight, shoulder stock, barrel attachments and an extended magazine. People who barely watched an episode still came away impressed by the U.N.C.L.E. Special.

Mr. Bond, we think we've seen that gun somewhere before...


Flash forward a quarter-century to 1989’s Licence to Kill. One of its signature gadgets was a “signature gun,” supplied by Q to a 007-gone-rogue (Timothy Dalton). It consisted of a gun disguised as a camera which was added a sight, a shoulder stock and gunbarrel attachments. It didn’t have an extended magazine but it had a “palm reader” that ensured nobody other than Bond fired it.

And it looked….an awfully lot like a fully assembled U.N.C.L.E. Special.

Now, to be fair, a long time had passed since The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was first on the air (although the 1983 television film The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. included a Robert Short-designed new U.N.C.L.E. Special). And Cubby Broccoli, in what would be his last 007 film as a credited producer (he would “present” 1995’s GoldenEye but not have a producer credit) had a lot on his mind beyond what the art department was cooking up for props. Still, the resemblance is there regardless. (CLICK HERE to see a larger photo of the Licence to Kill signature gun.)