After four films in the Daniel Craig era, the James Bond film franchise appears to be going through a transitional period. Though Craig has not formally stepped down from the role, reports have indicated he turned down a lucrative offer to reprise 007, indicating his service in the MI6 is up. The conversation has now turned to who Craig's successor will be, with Marvel Cinematic Universe star Tom Hiddleston said to be in talks. Jamie Bell is also thought to be in the running.
Obviously, finding a new leading man for Bond 25 is the top priority for EON Productions, but it's also of paramount importance to hire a director to usher in the (possible) next era for the series. The previous two installments, Skyfall and Spectre, were helmed by Sam Mendes and proved to be the most successful entries (from a box office perspective) in the 50+ year history of Bond on film. However, it seems like the filmmaker's time with 007 is done, as he says he's stepping down.
In an interview with The Guardian, Mendes reiterated earlier statements about Spectre being his last go-around in the world of Bond, mentioning that another director should get the chance to lend their voice to the property:
“It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it. But I think it’s time for somebody else.”
If the franchise is to switch actors for the next film, it only makes sense for a new director to call the shots. Mendes' sensibilities were a good fit for the darker, grittier take on 007 the Craig era was known for. However, EON may be keen to mix things up a bit for Bond 25. Each iteration of the character has had its own unique style, so chances are Hiddleston's (or whoever dons the tux) vehicle will be a departure from the past handful of movies. Even if members of the supporting cast remain on board, the tone from Craig to his successor will most likely vary. Judi Dench famously was M for Pierce Brosnan and worked on the first three Craig films, ending her run with an emotional death in Skyfall.
Regardless of who plays Bond, the argument can be made that EON was ready to move on from Mendes anyway. Skyfall was a critical smash, but Spectre was seen as a played out and tired installment (read our review). It was criticized for being "Bond by numbers" instead of bringing something fresh to the table, as Casino Royale and Skyfall did. Injecting new blood every so often is a key to helping a film franchise endure for an extended period of time. For instance, the Mission: Impossible series found great success in rotating directors for its first five installments, each having its own feel while embracing the classic M:I aesthetic. The spy genre is full of great titles like Jason Bourne, Kingsman, and the aforementioned M:I, so Bond has to do something to stay ahead of the crowd.
This clearly isn't a matter EON will take lightly. The 25th Bond film will be a true cinematic event, and the studio will want to celebrate the occasion in grand style. Especially if this is to be the first outing for the seventh big screen Bond, EON will do everything in their power to ensure it's one of the all-time greats and a memorable mission. One way to generate interest and excitement would be to snag a high-profile director capable of delivering a standout action flick. There is no shortage of those available, so it will be interesting to see who the producers choose.
We'll keep you updated on Bond 25 as more information becomes available.
Source: The Guardian