The Big Problem With The James Bond Franchise (And How To Fix It)

Bond Has Been Struggling In The FOUR YEARS Since

Of course, Craig is a problem by himself. Early on the press tour for Spectre, he said he would rather slash his wrists than play Bond again, starting off a string of strongly-worded statements suggesting that the rushed production and overall pressures of playing Bond meant he wanted to hang up his Omega. This will-he-won't-he ran for a staggering two years until August 2017 when he finally confirmed he would come back for Bond 25. This negotiating (Craig was signed on for another movie but could have voided his option) probably played a big role in the current four-year gap between Spectre and its follow-up, and fuelled the never-ceasing speculation of who the next Bond will be; as recent, unfounded rumors Idris Elba was frontrunner to replace Craig show, that's the topic.

Craig wasn't the only one burnt by Spectre: Sam Mendes, who has been so assured on Skyfall, was run-ragged on its sequel and swiftly ruled himself out of directing Bond 25. The rise of auteur Bond put the series in a bind, and eventually they stepped back to Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. This writing duo has had a hand in every single Bond movie since 1999's The World Is Not Enough: that's the final two Brosnan's and all four Craig's. What's startling is not only the range of quality and tone within their films, but how many shared qualities they are. Bond going on the run from MI6 to stop a villain with a strange obsession with him: 007 has a formula, but Purvis and Wade are like formula squared. When the script went back to them, it was a sign of resignation, of just wanting to get the film out.

Related: James Bond Desperately Needs New Writers

Then came the rights issues. Eon and MGM own James Bond, but they co-produce with other studios and distributors. For Craig's era, that's been Sony, but their four-picture deal expired with Spectre, leading to renegotiations and sales. Eventually, Annapurna and Universal took up domestic and international rights respectively. This didn't really show any creaks, although the final decision did come very late, only eighteen months before Bond 25's planned release.

All of this is how we get to Danny Boyle. He'd technically directed Craig's Bond before for the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (making Queen Elizabeth II a Bond girl in the process) and came armed with a highly modern, socially pertinent script by John Hodge that won over Craig, the producers and studio. Information is thin, but reports suggest the film had ties to #TimesUp and #MeToo, with a Russian villain bringing some highly political angling. After everything we've discussed, something that ditched franchise confusion and honed in on just telling a good Bond story seemed exactly what was needed. But it wasn't to be, and now we have a Bond 25 with two vastly different scripts, controversial for their own reasons, and an incredibly uncertain future.

Page 3: How To Fix James Bond

Key Release Dates
  • James Bond 25 (2020) release date: Apr 08, 2020
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