James Bond will Return in…


I have not seen No Time to Die, and I have not entered a movie theater since watching The Rise of Skywalker in 2019. If there’s a film I must see in the theater, this last outing by Daniel Craig as James Bond is a contender. Still, I’m just not quite ready yet. Of course, I will eventually see it, and I might even enjoy it. I have, more or less, enjoyed Craig’s tenure as James Bond. This movie is, for all intent and purpose, an end to an era.

There’s a finality to this run of five movies. After Pierce Brosnan’s final outing in 2002’s Die Another Day, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of Eon Productions decided to completely reboot the franchise and make the character more rooted in reality. The Bond franchise desperately needed the change as the movies had become a parody with invisible cars and watches with remote detonators. It was the highest camp that felt like a return to the Roger Moore era of movies (the Lotus submarine, the gondola hovercraft, and Seiko watches that seem quaint today, etc.). Die Another Day was silly and dumb; Casino Royale was not.

Looking back at Craig’s blunt force trauma in a tuxedo, I liked his use of fists and physicality to beat the bad guys. I was enamored with the parkour and walking on rooftops. There were always exciting and natural action scenes with convoluted plots that didn’t always make sense. It felt like a return to form. However, as the Craig films went on, the lack of gadgets and “super-spy” Je ne sais quoi was noticeable. The spy-tech is what makes Bond feel like Bond. Super-spy gadgets went hand in hand with Bond for decades before Casino Royale removed them. I like the seriousness of Craig, but no more spy-tech makes James Bond feel no more special than Jason Bourne and less than the Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible movies.

While the Craig movies are primarily good, they seem to fall into a general sameness with all the other contemporary action spy films from the Bourne franchise to the Kingsman movies to the Mission: Impossible series. Still, James Bond is the granddaddy of them all and probably should not look like all the others who have jumped on the coattails.

If I oversaw Eon Productions, I’d reboot the Bond franchise again post-Craig and make it a Cold War period piece. This isn’t an original idea, and it’s been floating around for years.

Since Dr. No, every Bond movie has been a product of its time and place. Over the years, we’ve seen the stark realism of the early Connery films to the silly adventures with Moore, to the no-frills Craig films. What better way to move entirely away from the Craig pentalogy than to place the next film in the 1960s with some old-school Cold War espionage. The franchise can then provide a clean break from Craig, revisit the past, and push a take on action spy films that isn’t fighting for eyeballs with others doing the same thing.

A return to the late 1950s to early 1960s would lean into the sense of nostalgia the Bond franchise has because of its nearly 60 years in cinemas. Imagine a Mad Man-esque look and feel. Not to mention the cinematography and special effects would be incredible. Plus, a contemporary actor playing a more Fleming-style Bond would energize the franchise.

Additionally, Bond has always been about a particular 60s style. There is a Bond archetype that has been nicked by every subsequent spy movie ever made. Embracing that style with the character that started it all would be different and cool.

The risk in making Bond a period piece is the worry the novelty wears off after one picture. Also, there would be a concern about an audience not buying into the period setting to begin with and wanting a contemporary take they are used to seeing.

For me, having a Bond movie with a late 50s setting is perfect for dangerous stories of espionage. The technological leaps that happen at this time can be incorporated into the screenplay, but it would not be a world of smartwatches, drones, and satellite surveillance, hence the real need for actual spies.

Of course, I’d bring the gadgets back.

Even though the spy-tech-infused Aston Martin is the epitome of James Bond gadgetry, what I want to see is the briefcase from From Russia With Love again. High tech for the 1960s and still the coolest super-spy accessory.

Much more likely, Eon Productions will just slot a new actor to play Bond in the 21st century. If the past is any indication, Wilson and Broccoli will just reboot it again with a new actor, and we’ll be back to dealing with issues of a Cold War relic and the lack of real need to have spies or triggermen.

It would be a real shame. There’s a lot of potential in going backward to move forward with the James Bond franchise.

Still, it’s fun to dream.

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