Christoph Waltz has confirmed he won't be returning for Bond 25, leaving questions over Blofeld's role in Daniel Craig's final 007 film. James Bond has dozens of memorable villains, but none are quite as iconic as Ernst Stavro Blofled. The head of SPECTRE, he was first teased in 1963's From Russia with Love and went on to menace Sean Connery's Bond across his time in the role (as well as George Lazenby in his single outing), but after a brief joke at the opening of Roger Moore's For Your Eyes Only was put on ice (mainly due to a conflict over character rights).
He returned under a shroud of secrecy in Spectre; throughout the marketing Christoph Waltz's villain was known only as Oberhauser, but in the most obvious and narratively-defunct twist since Star Trek Into Darkness he revealed himself as Blofeld. The real shocker, though, was that this version of the character was Bond's adoptive brother, introducing a sibling rivalry to the pair. At the end of the film, Blofeld was captured by MI6, presumably leaving the door open for a return in the next installment. Now, however, that's not so clear.
Related: How Bond 25 Can Move Past Spectre
While speaking to Talky Movie, Waltz was asked about his potential return and responded that, in no uncertain terms, he wouldn't be returning:
"No, I'm sorry. I'm really sad, but that's the tradition, that there is a new... name. Sorry. I would've liked to."
The way Waltz talks makes it sound like the decision was more the studio's than his, with genuine regret he won't be back. As a justification, he references the accidental tradition of a new actor playing either a Bond villain or the character of Blofeld in each film. That is admittedly the sort of fan-focused notion Eon would try and keep up, although the backlash against the brother twist and general view of Spectre as a failure may have influenced one or both parties to both ways - it was at one point expected for Bonds 24 and 25 to be a two-parter. Of course, it is possible this is all a fake-out ahead of a surprise return, but considering a similar trick didn't work on the last film that wouldn't be wise.
Whatever the reason, this doesn't mean we've seen the last of E.S.B. Waltz's comments definitely suggest that the studio are considering a recast, and as Bond 25 is indeed Daniel Craig's last outing as the superspy, it would only make sense for the character to appear; along with the grittier take on the 007 mythology, Craig's tenure has been marked out by its overarching continuity and the psychological toll the missions take on its hero. Having his "brother" return would help cap this all off, even if it was with a different face.
Now moving ahead with Waltz, Bond 25 is currently set for a November 2019 release. After almost two years of back-and-forth, Craig is finally back, as are long-term Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, although no director has been confirmed yet. Story rumors had previously suggested Blofeld would play a part, albeit in a supporting capacity, but it is possible the plans changed. Regardless, with the film expected to shoot next year, if there is a recast Blofeld we're sure to hear about it soon.
Source: Talky Movie