James Bond Delayed – Haven’t We Been Here Before?

Published 5 years ago by

daltoncraig James Bond Delayed   Havent We Been Here Before?

There has been a serious case of déjà vu now that production on the next James Bond film has been stalled. Fans of a certain age will remember a similar thing happening in 1989 after Timothy Dalton’s second outing as James Bond in Licence to Kill. It took six years for another Bond film to arrive on screens, and by the time it made its debut Pierce Brosnan was the new James Bond.

So will Daniel Craig return as James Bond 007 or will he, like Timothy Dalton, pass the franchise torch to another actor?

For the last thirty or so years MGM has been financially unstable. The company has been bought and sold numerous times, and 1989 was no different. That year also saw the release of Licence to Kill – Timothy Dalton’s second (and final) Bond film. Dalton’s tenure brought a new and grittier Bond, following the far-fetched extravaganzas of the Roger Moore era (sound familiar?).

While The Living Daylights was a hit, many thought that Bond’s day in the sun had set. Action films of the time such as Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and the Indiana Jones series made the Bond franchise appear dated and obsolete. It was time for a new Bond to match these new modern heroes (again sound familiar?).

licence to kill1 James Bond Delayed   Havent We Been Here Before?

Licence to Kill gave Bond a more ruthless and violent streak, and it ditched a lot of the far-fetched elements to deliver a traditional revenge movie, with added violence. Die Hard composer Michael Kamen was brought onboard to give the film a modern sound, making it sound less like a Bond movie and more like a contemporary action thriller. Kill was met with mixed fan reaction, but more importantly it tanked at the U.S. box office in the summer of ’89 when Lethal Weapon 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Batman reigned supreme.

Later that year, MGM was sold to Australian company Quinetx. The company wanted to cut certain deals so the Bond franchise could be partnered with Pathe. This would have meant that the Bond films could be shown on television without the permission of Danjaq (the company owned by the Broccoli family, who control the Bond series). One of the crown jewels in the Bond franchise is the television rights – the films are constantly shown on television, always with large viewing figures meaning that they still make a lot of money even after repeated viewings. Legal battles ensued and Bond was caught up in a tussle that kept him grounded for six years.

During this period, a Bond film was always in development, and a television series was even mooted at one point but nothing made it to the screen. However, as the legal battles raged on, the political climate changed and it looked like Bond really was a relic of the past. Films like True Lies aped Bond’s style and made the franchise appear to be out of touch. When Bond finally appeared again in the winter of 1995, a more modern (and ultimately successful) spin was given to the character by director Martin Campbell and actor Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye.

Goldeneye James Bond Delayed   Havent We Been Here Before?

Brosnan’s reign as Bond ended with the over-the-top special effects spectacle that was Die Another Day in 2002. While that final Brosnan film was successful at the box office, it was just too much in a time where action movies featured heroes like Jason Bourne, with grittier action in a changing world climate. Brosnan was replaced by Daniel Craig (although some might say dumped), who gave the world a James Bond for the post 9/11 era. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were both big hits – but now MGM has hit yet another financial hurdle.

casino royale poster James Bond Delayed   Havent We Been Here Before?

Earlier this year Oscar Winner Sam Mendes was hired to “consult” on a new Bond film, following the success of Solace. EON, the production company which makes the Bond movies (EON is owned by Danjaq) develops the Bond films away from MGM, which has been Bond’s home since the 1960s. It is only when a director is hired that MGM starts fronting cash for the film – meaning that EON could potentially make a deal with another studio and take Bond elsewhere – but only after the cutting of a lot of red tape, of course.

However, the franchise is one of the most valuable assets in the vast MGM film library. At the moment EON needs MGM to finance the franchise (if they wish to remain there), but there is the possibility that Bond could be detached from MGM and sold to another studio. Sony Pictures has been after Bond for years – even trying to set up its own competing Bond franchise in the late 1990s. This argument was settled when MGM relinquished their portion of the Spider-Man rights to Sony, giving both studios healthy franchises.

In April EON released a statement which stated:

“Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23 indefinitely. We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of BOND 23.”

daniel craig james bond James Bond Delayed   Havent We Been Here Before?

Bond films usually have a 2-3 year turn around, so it would appear that the franchise has been mothballed for the foreseeable future. With Daniel Craig now in his forties, it may make sense to go with a younger Bond in order to appeal to a generation that likes young heroes. In the meantime, Daniel Craig’s schedule is packing up – if Cowboys and Aliens is a hit it could mean a franchise. This would again put his role as Bond in a tenuous position.

Might Craig and EON part ways now that the next film has been delayed? Both Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore played Bond into their 50s and Craig does have a physicality about him that would indicate he has the energy to keep going for that long, if the audience permits it.

However, the question that really needs to be asked is when will James Bond return?

You can find out as quick as we do by following us on Twitter: @screenrant

TAGS: James bond
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Hope this wounld not be the same fate as timolthy dalton version,timolthy was the perfect james bond but all of sudden mgm screw up then cast pierce brosnan who bring back roger moore style of james bond which make me hate bond then daniel craig came and make bond more brutal and serious it took more in love with bond series but not include roger moore and pierce brosnan and especially george lezaby.So mgm please improvice your financial and focus on bond 23 with daniel craig fast.

    • Dalton was the worst Bond ever! Moore’s Bond was never a serious take on the character. Watching a Roger Moore Bond flick is like watching the Batman TV series. Either you dig the camp or you don’t. Lazenby wasn’t bad (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a good movie and if connery could’ve done it, it would’ve been awesome) but he always came off as a gay Bond. Just didn’t mesh with the lady-slaying Bond mythos.

  2. MGM has been failing in financial issues since their creation, the only thing that was holding their company afloat was the Bond Franchise. I, personally, don’t want to see MGM be bought out by Sony, rather Paramount, they have had a comeback in recent years regarding their reboot of Star Trek and the Avengers contract with Marvel Studios (which is terminated after 2012, Disney takes over), so Paramount needs a new top franchise to go along with Star Trek, if they want their value to remain high. Paramount has been extremely succesful with merging other companies films with thier own style into Paramount’s distributing web, plus EON could still make the films while Paramount either distributed them to the U.S or become the worldwide distributers.

  3. Damn. This sucks. I love James Bond and I think Daniel Craig is a very good Bond.

  4. George Lazenby was the SHIZNIT in “The Man From Hong Kong”. If he would’ve acted like that in his Bond movie, he probably would’ve been optioned for more films

    • Lazenby wasn’t droppd because of his acting. The director actually claimed to have been very impressed with how well he did on screen. Where he sucked was in the PR department – he pissed off just about everybody involved with the film once it was released. You can be a jerk these days, because it just gets you more press, but it wasn’t acceptable then.

  5. Connery…’nuff said…i stopped watching bond movies after moore retired from the role, after that, they succombed to an already growing, and over populated action genre..they came to rely on heavy heavy action, which to me took away what bond was about

  6. The last two were great spy movies but they just weren’t Bond. Craig did well and they were well executed movies, they were just completely not Bond movies. No real charm, no gadgets, and Quantum of Solace’s villain Dominic Green had no signature physical abnormality or condition.

    Please let it pass to another studio and actor that can get back to basics….again, I guess….ugggh effin Hollywood.

  7. Craig’s a good Bond. I’d like to see more Craig Bond movies.

    Living Daylights was great. Dalton is probably my second-favorite Bond ever, next to Connery, and closely followed by Craig. Licence to Kill was pretty bad, though. It’s too bad Dalton didn’t get more good Bond movies.

    I hope they don’t decide to cheese up the Bond franchise again. Quantum of Solace had its problems, but the last two Bond movies were probably the closest we’ve come to the style of the Connery films since Living Daylights.

  8. The problems with Quantum of Solace, at least for me, were the crazy camera moves and quick-cut editing. It made Michael Bay and Paul Greengrass movies look like Merchant/Ivory productions. I had to stop the Blu-ray after 25 minutes.


    • But it’s editing like that which makes the films for me. I love it. It’s like the anti-Shamalan (though I do love M.Night’s long sequences as well). Well, dang. I guess I just love the extremes.

  9. The last two Bond movies were boring outings. Good or bad Bond used to be an experience worth paying to see, now it is left overs, dull locations and recycled camera work.

    Bond needs a break. I was excited at the rebooot idea but they botched the execution.
    Don’t worry about Craig he’ll be fine without Bond. In fact better. He is a capable action star just not a very good Bond.

  10. The point of a good Bond movie is to provide pure escapism… The spy who loved me got the balance absolutely spot on and its regarded as one of the series high points along with Goldfinger and You only live twice…I think the series lost its way when it tried to be more realistic…what fans want are gorgeous locations ( The man with the golden gun) and meglomanic villains and plots that aren’t based on politics

  11. Can’t wait to see the new bond movie…