007 will return… on November 8 2019, according to a tweet put out by the James Bond Twitter account. But, they explain, this is only the US release date, and British cinemagoers can expect to be watching the spy’s 25th (or 24th official) adventure slightly earlier.Besides the release window, details are scarce. But here’s what we know so far:
Who is writing?
Along with the release date, we also know that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will be on script duty. The duo have been writing Bond films since 1999’s The World is Not Enough and oversaw the franchise’s transition from the excesses of the Brosnan era to the Jason Bourne-influenced grittiness of Daniel Craig’s tenure.
Purvis and Wade have also collaborated with John Logan and Jez Butterworth on the most recent Bond films, so it may not be too surprising if those playwrights get credited with revisions to the script.
Another question is tone: under the direction of Sam Mendes, Skyfall and Spectre attempted to embrace the vivacity (and occasionally the humour) of the Connery films. With Mendes confirmed not to be returning, the film may resume the full seriousness of Casino Royale.
What will the plot be?
Good question. Speaking to The Telegraph in January, Purvis admitted that they had no idea how to tackle Bond in a post-Donald Trump world. “I’m just not sure how you would go about writing a James Bond film now,” the writer said. “Each time, you’ve got to say something about Bond’s place in the world, which is Britain’s place in the world. But things are moving so quickly now, that becomes tricky. With people like Trump, the Bond villain has become a reality. So when they do another one, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the fact that the world has become a fantasy.”
Will Daniel Craig return?
Of course, the script is only half the battle. The film’s overall feel will mainly depend on who plays Bond. Despite claiming in 2015 that he would rather “slit his wrists” than reprise the role, sources report that Eon Productions are very confident they can bring Craig back, and that all he needs to do is sign a contract; according to some reports, a deal has already been done. If that is the case, Craig won’t come cheap: it’s claimed that at one point he was offered $150 million to make two more Bonds.
But even supposing that he is ready to play Bond again, it is likely that this will be Craig’s last time doing so. By 2019 he will have been in the role in films over a 13-year span, longer than any other Bond actor with the exception of Sean Connery’s one-off appearance in Never Say Never Again (1983). From a fresh blood perspective, this film would make sense as a sendoff to the Craig period.
What about the supporting cast?
It also follows then that the story of Craig’s Bond and recurring (or more appropriately, surviving) characters should be wrapped up neatly. The matter of which cast members are returning can tell us a lot about the story even in the absence of other knowledge.
Spectre (2015) revealed Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played by Christoph Waltz, to be the “author” of all of Bond’s suffering from Casino Royale onwards. Though he was captured, it seems improbable that the producers would waste time and money introducing the franchise’s most famous villain, only to ignore him one movie later.
Waltz has admitted to feeling that he didn’t “nail” the character first time around, but his Blofeld spent most of the film concealing his identity, and doing very little in the way of world domination. Perhaps a more adventurous script (and a lot of money) will get him back for sure.
The Craig films have also spent more time exploring Bond’s (seemingly doomed) romantic arcs, but so far no Bond girl has made it alive into the sequel. It appeared that this cycle had been broken by Spectre, when Bond escaped with Lea Seydoux’s character, the Vesper Lynd-substitute Madeleine Swann. In a world where no cinematic universe wants to be inattentive to female audiences (even the Bond films), it’s very probable that Seydoux will also make a return.
Additionally, it won’t be too much of a surprise if Ralph Fiennes’s M, Naomie Harris’s Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw’s Q are also assisting Bond. These interpretations of the characters are getting settled in and it makes little sense for them to be gone, especially when prior incumbents in those roles were long term Bond fixtures.
Where will it shoot?
As is standard procedure on Bond films, at least one location for Bond 25 has apparently been found long before a word of the script has been typed. According to reports in February, the Croatian city of Dubrovnik has been in “advanced negotiations” to host the production. Dubrovnik is also used as a location in Game of Thrones.
Who will direct?
The director with the most momentum/wishcasting behind him is Christopher Nolan, who talks regularly about his love of the character and influence taken from the series. With Dunkirk released he would be expected to have his next film due in 2019/20, so it’s a window he could fall right into.
He has also admitted to talking to the Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who would surely be keen to draft him given the likely revenue and critical praise his attachment could attract. The only qualifier is how much creative control the producers are willing to give Nolan, who usually writes his own scripts, or collaborates with his brother Jonathan.
Danny Boyle is another well-known British director who may also be considered “due” the honour of directing one of the most well-known British franchises, and with Sam Mendes’s precedent, the series’s producers may have no problems delegating directing duties to another auteur filmmaker.
Or could it be Paul McGuigan, the Scottish director reportedly favoured by Wilson and Broccoli after they produced his forthcoming drama Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool?
Though Wilson and Broccoli prefer to hire British (or British connected) directors, they could also be tempted by Denis Villeneuve, the director of Sicario, Arrival and this year’s Blade Runner 2049, who has expressed interest himself.