25. The number of films in this series starting from 1962 to 2020, for now anyway. This is no mean feat especially to have moved through the decades but keeping, mostly, to the original material. Which we know was brought to us by the amazing Ian Fleming which first came to light in 1953, nine years before Sean Connery first uttered the now iconic phrase. And 53 years for the first book Casino Royal to come to the silver screen*.
No other film franchise has hit such heights, can you imaging this many sequels for anything else? Or even the changing of the guard, soon to happen again with Craig’s finale next year, never have the change of an actor been so successful, even remakes never get this. Even the bad films in the 25 have always still entertained adults and children for decades and I hope to see it continue for many more.
When I started writing this article I had a point to make and a plan on what I was writing about but when I started researching I lost all concept of time and have come back a week later after reading about James Bond and forgetting the point of this whole article. But I think that this has become more of a celebration of the film series achievements and my thoughts on where it should go.
With Eon at the helm of the 25, the franchise was the first MCU before the MCU, it was one world, but also you could time travel, which we did back in 2006 when Craig became Bond, the internet moaned he was short, stocky and blonde, we obviously got over it as we went back to pre-double O status. Then we started again at the end of Skyfall we got round to basically Dr. No with M being a man and in his dark wood office, but a modern version. But not once was reboot said, because with Bond you can do what you want. We have had dark drama, whole films that were just comedy, the Moore years were one liner central, new M’s, timelines that make no sense, it is a mess but it always works. We have had silly, and if anyone argues that, invisible car people. Even the later films made fun that “we don’t go in for that sort of thing anymore” as we all knew it was a step too far. We are about to embark on an end to an era, the decade of one Bond and then the long three year wait to see who becomes the iconic character.
There has been a lot of discussion of who the next Bond should be, as ever there is the argument of changing Bonds race, a black man should ben Bond, a Women should be Bond etc. This comes up everytime, and oddly Eon have never done it. Might be something to do with James Bond being based on books. Fair we have run out of these, but would it work with a black Bond? The character itself is based on that private school boy style bachelor brought up in higher society, now the era of they were all white has now gone, but would this change the complete dynamic of the character? I believe it would. The women argument I think is one that is said just for the sake of it, it would stop being Bond the minute it happened and would seem like a spin off film, the following of another spy and I think it would lose the appeal it has to the audience, of all ages, and you really would have a completely different character and from Eon’s business point of view, would potentially lose a lot of fans and more importantly to them, money.
There is female 007 in the next instalment, this caused some sad lonely internet users to start a campaign of hate. They clearly haven’t seen Spectre and were just reacting to headlines. James Bond retired, and the double O program is that, 001 to 009, there is no double O ten, and is not a football shirt number that is retired so the code sign is passed on, surely? And I am aware of it will be returned to him in due course of the film. Not really a spoiler, I think it is a given.
So where are we going with this franchise, can it keep going in the strength it is at, yes and no. Depending on who takes over as the spy we all love you could end up with another flop like Lazenby with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, even though now critics have changed their views but was flop to start with, like Die Another Day, the last of Brosnan's films and the worst one he ever did, and not just because of the fake face changing technology, the invisible car, Madonna or Halle Berry, but put them all together and wasn’t very good, but better than some Moore films.
So as I sip away on my drink, you know the one, three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shaken very well until it's ice-cold, then a large thin slice of lemon peel added, I wonder what future Bond will be, will he be Asian, Black, Indian, White, or will he be a She, Jone Bond. Only society and time will tell, but is bond really bothered about being that PC, not bloody likely.
*I am aware that pointless god awful version of the film in 1967 with David Niven, and I will not mention again.