With No Time to Die slapping a massive exclamation point on Daniel Craig’s tenure as superspy James Bond, a number of questions have arisen as to where the franchise should go next. This is a particularly difficult conundrum considering the context of Craig’s films which followed his entire career as 007 from the beginning all the way to the bitter end.
You can’t simply start from the beginning again, can you? We’ve already seen that. And you can’t really introduce a new Bond in the current time period without at least acknowledging Craig, or recasting M, Q, and Money Penny, right?
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Despite their standalone adventure style, every Bond film carries a certain degree of continuity, no matter how illogical the timeline appears. Even Bond’s deceased wife, Teresa/Tracy, who died in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is referenced in several films down the line, notably in The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only.
So, following No Time to Die, the next Bond could potentially be a nobody who assumes the holy mantle, paving the way for Lashana Lynch’s Nomi to step in as 007, or some other “00” — just not Bond. This direction allows a certain degree of continuity and allows the franchise to build upon the pre-established foundation, utilizing Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Ana de Armas (who deserves her own solo feature, to be quite honest).
Now, in the case of the James Bond character, for me, the only thing that makes sense is to take the man back to his roots. Rather than give us another modern-day iteration of Bond, let’s send him back to the swinging sixties, baby!
Yeah, Austin Powers kinda ruined 1960s James Bond. Indeed, it’s hard to watch Goldfinger and not be endlessly reminded of the popular ’90s Michael Myers comedy trilogy. And yet, enough time has passed since Austin Powers’ final outing in Goldmember that I think James Bond could return to his old shagadelic stomping grounds without much fuss.
Doing so allows James Bond to have a fresh, albeit nostalgically fueled, start. Who wouldn’t love to see a new take on Dr. No, Jaws, Oddjob, Goldfinger, Rosa Klebb, etc.*? Or a reimagining of Thunderball, replete with clunky ’60s tech?
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I wouldn’t go full camp, but rather, would re-explore ’60s Bond with the same grounded aesthetic applied to the Craig films. Sure, have the ’60s gadgets and volcanic lairs, but play the entire thing completely straight. Add new spins to previous locations, plot lines, and Bond girls. Examine the era and its politics from a modern perspective, and then follow Bond through the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, ala Forrest Gump in which the character takes part in historical world events set in motion by his gallery of villains — “I’m not a smart man, but I am a 007.”
Or just adapt Ian Fleming’s novels in a back-to-the-basics style that re-introduces the character as the author originally intended. No gadgets, no camp. Just a gritty spy flick with a badass, no-nonsense hero.
Either direction allows James Bond to be reborn without impacting Craig’s legacy or brushing off the important sacrifice the character made in No Time to Die.
No, this isn’t exactly the most original idea. I’m sure other outlets have discussed ’60s Bond in many an article. I even heard Mr. Sunday Movies kick around the notion in one of their terrific Caravan of Garbage episodes. So, I suppose this is my way of saying I fully embrace the idea, and truly believe this is the only direction James Bond can/should go.
Plus, 1960’s Bond sets up an Austin Powers crossover, but I don’t think anyone is fully prepared for that conversation just yet.
*Imagine if the producers brought back Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig to play these iconic villains … you may think that’s too far, but as a Bond fan, I would be absolutely ecstatic to see them return in such a manner.