James Bond might have been on the big screen for over fifty years, but he hasn't allowed his age (or occasional change of visage) to hold him back. After so many car chases, fight scenes, passionate love affairs and showdowns with nefarious bad guys, he's probably earned a holiday or two.
There's no rest for the wickedly charming, however, and Daniel Craig will return in the role of James Bond next year, in a sequel that's been dubbed James Bond 24 until it gets something more official. Also returning is director Sam Mendes, who first entered the franchise with 2012's Skyfall and ended up handling quite a few major changes to the supporting cast.
In an interview on The Charlie Rose Show, Mendes talked about the reasons behind his initial reluctance to return to the James Bond franchise after making Skyfall, as well as the itch to finish telling a story that eventually convinced him to come back for another round.
"I started a number of stories that were incomplete. I cast a new M, I cast a new Moneypenny, I cast a new Q, I cast a new Tanner. There was a missing piece now. I felt like there was a way to create the second part of a two-part story. And then I started to get really interested again, when they agreed to wait a little longer and not go immediately and not go with two movies but with one, which I felt very strongly about."
Last year there were rumors floating around that Mendes would return to film both James Bond 24 and James Bond 25, but since then the director has only been confirmed for one more venture within the franchise. Based on this interview, it sounds like Sony was originally pushing for Mendes to make a trilogy of sorts, and to make it as soon as possible, but his reluctance eventually led to a two-parter being planned instead. It also seems clear that Mendes doesn't have any plans to direct James Bond 25 - at least, not for the moment.
Garnering specific details about the plot of James Bond 24 and who the villain might be has been tricky, to say the least. Screenwriter John Logan recently joked (at least, we think he was joking) that if he revealed too much, "Sam would rappel through the window and kill me." However, Mendes did talk in more general terms about aspects of Skyfall that he wants to bring back in James Bond 24, including the decision to keep Bond living (and ageing) in real-time.
"What we tried to do, and audiences seemed to embrace in Skyfall, was that for the first time characters were allowed to age, and they were allowed to acknowledge the passing of the years, and were allowed to acknowledge the history - in a kind of sly, mischievous way - the history of the franchise that they've been part of."
Logan has also said that he kept the history of the franchise in mind when writing the script for James Bond 24 and sought ways to create resonances with past films, like the inclusion of the Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall. Daniel Craig, meanwhile, has stated that their goal is to "reclaim some of the old irony, and make sure it doesn't become pastiche."
There is a tough balancing act ahead for James Bond 24. As the latest entry in a franchise that has been consistently turning out movies for over half a century, there is a lot of pressure to prevent the characters and stories from feeling stagnant or repetitive, and to pay homage to their history without relying too much on in-jokes and fan service. Hopefully the recasting of so many characters in Skyfall will allow James Bond 24 to be a fresh start as well as a concluding chapter.
James Bond 24 will be released in the U.K. on October 23, 2015, and in the U.S. on November 6, 2015.
Source: The Charlie Rose Show (via CBM)