17 October 2020 531 Views

Can James Bond work as a Period Piece?

by James Murphy

One of the features of the 007 franchise: constant speculation about the next movie, even BEFORE the latest one is out..

If we accept that the Bond people cannot sneak out more content for 2022’s 60th anniversary, featuring Daniel Craig in a coda performance?

Then we must logically embrace the following:

NO TIME TO DIE is Dan’s last outing. Therefore: 

  • The next Bond film after that? ETA 2025, earliest.
  • There will be a new studio distributing and possibly more new options on associated content / release strategies.

  • The Broccolis will maintain creative control though increasing involvement from studio brass a real possibility.
  • Streaming will enable more iterations to mobilise, especially as IP monopoly expiration in sight?
  • At some point soon? We will have a new James Bond. Expect that to be a reboot.

I respectfully suggest going back to move forward. Set it in the past. Not necessarily the 1960s. Just credibly Cold War. NOT so that Bond can be a racist who smokes/ pats Money-Penny on the bottom. No.

For creative reasons. As follows:

  • Gives a truly clean slate to the next actor. No speculation about his connection to Craig.
  • Allows them to keep Craig: imagine Dan as Bernard Lee era M! Mentoring the new Bond (Cavill? Norton? Hardy?)

  • Present times simply do not bode well for spy fantasy. We are either too safe and peaceful (hence every spy having to go rogue zzz) or too suddenly, perilously plagued by new challenge from nowhere (THAT pesky virus).

  • By contrast? We KNOW what happened between say the 1970s-90s.
  • There was danger, and many events did indeed happen behind closed doors that made espionage a murky business.
  • Gives credible empire threat for Bond to infiltrate in pre title sequences etc.

  • Facilitates a thousand fan speculations about whether this is the same 007 as Moore/Connery et al, whilst avoiding any notions of code-names or silly reboots as a girl/sheep/piece of swiss cheese.
  • Demands a retro style that can STILL blend with MODERN sponsorship /ad deals. ‘Get the old school 007 look’ etc?

  • Lends itself well to glossy, sexy, nostalgic adventure whilst inspiring some truly imaginative reverse engineering of old school tech /gadgets.
  • If the threats are rooted in an older reality, they are less hurtful. At the same time, allows for a removed mix of brutal grit in fights / spy-craft and more organic blending into final epic set-pieces with ships/subs/satellites. Production Design brilliance!

  • Allows an X -Men style decade shift, which in turn makes way for the team to spend longer on the boardroom deals /story /casting touches needed to keep the series fresh. Actor can credibly age in the role, pressure free.
  • End in 1986? JUST as that Brosnan iteration took hold in the ‘reel’ world; a kind of metatextual layer but avoiding pastiche (IE 2009 Star Trek but not ‘Into Darkness’).
  • Theoretically means they can do SPECTRE again, ‘right’ and revisit any old character/story arc from the old movies/books et al and even mix them altogether in a shared universe era. Without spoiling the classics.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK MEETS CASINO ROYALE? Go on. DO IT! 



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