[WARNING: This article contains MASSIVE spoilers for SPECTRE]
With SPECTRE now in theaters, fans of James Bond can see for themselves how the stakes are raised when 007 does battle directly with the titular sinister organization. But since the first moment the movie was announced, fans knew that this would be a challenge unlike any James had faced before. Why? Because it’s one that they’ve seen played out before, drawing from the classic James Bond films released long before it.
From its villain to its action, there may be too many nods to previous films to count. Throw in a few references to the Ian Fleming novels which inspired the films, and fans will need repeat viewings to see how much SPECTRE owes to the likes of Connery, Moore, Brosnan and… others.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just a casual 007 enthusiast, you’ll find plenty to discover in our list of SPECTRE James Bond Easter Eggs, References & More.
Gun Barrel Opening
Every James Bond adventure began the same way: with the unforgettable image of a gun barrel trained on a well-dressed man (not even James himself, necessarily) pacing slowly across the screen, then spinning to the camera, firing a bullet, and watching the blood creep down across the screen. At least, that was the tradition before the Daniel Craig reboot. For Casino Royale, director Martin Campbell re-imagined the shot as part of the origin story, only appearing as a lead-in to the title credits sequence. For Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, the shot was relegated to the end of the film, not the start. But for SPECTRE, director Sam Mendes restores the practice, having it officially open the movie to audiences.
Baron Samedi’s Style
The Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ celebration acting as the backdrop to the film’s opening sequence is a standout section of the movie, and is home to one of the film’s first (but not last) fashion homages. Although the setting, religion at play, and details are different, it’s hard to look at James’ skeleton garb without calling to mind the character of ‘Baron Samedi,’ the henchman (based on the very real voodoo icon) appearing in Live and Let Die (played by Geoffrey Holder).
Unlike previous James Bond films, SPECTRE gives audiences a long look inside the super spy’s own apartment. While judging his fashion sense or decorating skills, viewers can catch a glimpse of the Royal Doulton bulldog figurine (with Union Jack) that M delivered to Bond at the end of Skyfall. Keep your eyes peeled for it on Bond’s coffee table when Moneypenny pays a visit.
A Shadowy Villain
It was impossible for the filmmakers to actually keep it a secret that Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) had been cast as the head of the criminal organization SPECTRE, but they still managed to introduce him shrouded (literally) in secrecy. Long time fans will see the homage paid to his introductions in From Russia With Love and Thunderball, where he was introduced in a similar way.
Once audiences got their first look at Waltz – and his unique style of dress – fans immediately speculated that his character was James Bond’s greatest villain: Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader (and ‘Number 1’) of SPECTRE played most famously by Donald Pleasence. But when news came that he would actually play ‘Franz Oberhauser’ (a name pulled from Ian Fleming’s short story “Octopussy”), they cried hoax. They were right, too: the movie sees Waltz take up the mantle of Blofeld, not to mention his signature facial scarring.
Put a Ring On It
Movies like Thunderball made a point of including rings bearing the octopus insignia of SPECTRE. And while viewers might wonder if that’s really the best way of keeping a secret organization… well, secret, the jewelry makes a return for the film. Not only does the insignia and ring get a more modern update, but James uses the ring to gain access to a SPECTRE meeting.
Mike Meyers may have made a bald, scarred villain stroking a cat more of an icon for the Austin Powers film series than the Bond films it was referencing, but SPECTRE delivers. No, there isn’t a scene of Waltz maniacally monologuing while holding a white persion cat in his lap, but such a feline does make an appearance. Audiences may blink and miss it, but it’s still a clever nod, knowing how much of a trademark the cat is to the Blofeld character.
There’s a good chance that people who have never even seen a movie starring any incarnation of Bond could rattle off not one, both both of his signature lines. After offering a clever play on Bond’s classic drink of a vodka martini “shaken. not stirred” in Casino Royale, SPECTRE marks the first time that audiences have gotten to see Daniel Craig deliver the line along with his name – “Bond, James Bond” – in one film. In Bond terms, that means he can finally take his place alongside Sean Connery, Roger Moore et al.
Only an Aston
There’s a few things every Bond fan knows: the man prefers martinis, the Walther PPK, and an Aston Martin. Specifically, a DB5, as introduced in the 1964 movie Goldfinger. Thankfully, SPECTRE sees that tradition kept alive, although it isn’t a vintage vehicle this time around. Instead, James gets to tool around in a highly-modified DB10, a car created by Aston specifically for use in the movie, with only ten in existence.
It isn’t just the classic films that SPECTRE pays tribute to, with even Pierce Brosnan’s The World is Not Enough getting a bit of a nod. When James escapes to the River Thames in a high-speed boat chase, fans will find it a bit familiar. That’s because he enjoyed the same thrill once already – played by a different actor, but still.
Catching a Train
The movie’s plot takes Bond through a number of familiar settings, including yet another fight with an enemy’s thug aboard a moving train. Like the similar sequences in The Spy Who Loved Me and Live and Let Die, James ends the battle by throwing Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista) off of the train to his death. They’re all a reference to a real-world event: in 1950, a US naval attaché was assassinated then thrown from the famous train – the story which inspired Ian Fleming’s original “From Russia With Love” novel.
Goldfinger has become a classic for several reasons, but some credit has to be reserved for ‘Q’ (Desmond Llewelyn), who started to show off his true knack for special modifications and gadgetry. The most famous example is the Aston Martin DB5 equipped with an ejector seat, allowing James to remove an unwanted passenger through the roof. The gadget returns for this film’s ride, but allowing James to make a fast exit instead.
White With Red
James Bond is a fan of fashion, and the first trailer confirmed a few nods to previous films (and their signature suits). The white tuxedo worn by Daniel Craig is a dead ringer for the one worn by Sean Connery in Goldfinger, complete with the red carnation and pleated shirt. Times may have changed, but not the impact of a sharp jacket worn by a secret agent.
Another costume comparison can be made between James’ black turtleneck used in SPECTRE‘s promotion and marketing. It’s an exact replica of the clothing (and holster) sported by Roger Moore’s Bond in Live and Let Die. Although, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t done a bit more justice on Craig’s frame compared to Moore’s.
It isn’t just James Bond stories that get callouts in SPECTRE, either. When James heads into a hotel room in Mexico City, eagle-eyed viewers will note that it’s no random room, but Room 327. For those who aren’t horror fans, it’s hard to spot that number without seeing it as a reference to Room 237, used in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. We won’t spoil what lies in that movie’s room, but will say that fans can rest easy, as James puts the room to other uses.
Chess, Not Checkers
You might think that with all the calculated risk, strategy and life-or-death plotting James has to deal with in his day job, sitting down to a relaxing game of chess would seem an odd choice. You might be right, too. But in SPECTRE, the presence of a chess board is best viewed as a simple callback to another match in from Russia With Love, the very first appearance of Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Volcano to Crater
It’s hard to believe there was ever a time before audiences knew that only real villains build their underground bases inside hollowed out volcanoes, but it was an idea first seen in You Only Live Twice. The new center of Blofeld’s operations isn’t an exact replica, but setting it inside of a ringed crater is clearly a nod to more outrageous history of the organization and its leader’s taste for the dramatic.
The Hildebrand Rarity
Late in the film, James and his allies take shelter in a London safehouse disguised as “Hildebrand Prints.” That’s a reference that will slip by even devoted movie fans, since it’s connected not to a film, but “The Hildebrand Rarity” – a short story published in a collection by Ian Fleming, including “For Your Eyes Only,” “Quantum of Solace” and “From a View to a Kill.” It’s a shame more of that story isn’t adapted, since it sends Bond on a mission to track down… a rare fish.
Michael G. Wilson Cameo
Audiences will be forgiven for overlooking the presence of Michael G Wilson, stepson of legendary Bond producer Albert R Broccoli. Going all the way back to Goldfinger, Wilson has worked on 007 productions in the role of script writer, poker consultant – you name it – and is now a producer. In each role, he’a also managed to snag a cameo, usually in a small, hardly noticable part. He apparently appears in SPECTRE in a scene between ‘M’ (Ralph Fiennes) and ‘C’ (Andrew Scott) alongside his son Gregg.
The vehicle which shows up to deliver James and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) to the villain’s base of operations should also look familiar to fans of the older films, since the Rolls-Royce Phantom first appeared as the chosen set of wheels of Goldfinger himself, driven in that film by the quiet but deadly Oddjob. Again, not a major callback, but one that shows the love for Goldfinger is only growing stronger with time.
When James discovers his own name added to the memorial of “those who died in the service of their country,” the names aren’t drawn from any historical record. They actually include members of the production cast and crew, with Fergus Clegg and Archie Campbell-Baldwin (both employed by the art department on SPECTRE and Skyfall) visible among the others.
Hitting The Slopes
James Bond returns to the snowy slopes yet again, heading to the high-class health oasis known as the Hoffler Klinik in Austria. Bond also made a trek to another swanky resort in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (which was also owned by Ernst Stavro Blofeld), but the film series has become known for its alpine sequences in multiple movies: aside from the ski-car sequence in The Living Daylights, Bond has appeared on skis in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, A View to a Kill, The World Is Not Enough, and now SPECTRE.
What’s in a Name?
It isn’t just looks that can kill in a James Bond story, but names, too. The latest ‘Bond Girl’ introduced in SPECTRE is the Italian femme fatale Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), whose name will have a different meaning for those versed in Italian. “Sciarra” is a nickname for someone with a fiery, combative demeanor. The word actually began to be used as a name for those originating from Palermo, Sicily (not far from the volcano Mt. Etna). We didn’t get a volcano base, so a volcano name will have to do.
Those are all the easter eggs, nods and references we could find in SPECTRE, but if we missed any, be sure to let us know in the comments section!
Spectre is now in theaters. It is 148 minutes long and is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language.
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