What’s the Deal with ‘Bond 25?’
Following 2015s Spectre, the 24th film in the James Bond series of action flicks, all eyes were on the follow-up. Bond 25 would mark actor Daniel Craig’s fifth outing as the titular MI6 secret agent, which is arguably the most popular portrayal yet. There’s a reason why the character of James Bond has endured in pop culture throughout all these years despite his debut in cinemas back in 1962. The character is suave, sexy, and charming, but also deadly, cunning, and skilled. He’s been at the center of several big blockbuster hits for decades, and he’s lived through several recasts and actor changes. However, some recent production rumors and headlines are starting to stir worry in the hearts of fans everywhere.
Issues most likely started back in 2017, when Craig made some controversial statements pertaining to his time as Bond and whether or not he’d be willing to reprise his role:
“I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on […] if I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.”
Obviously, we know how that turned out.
However, that didn’t stop audiences from putting down their choices on who would replace Craig as Bond. It was clear to anyone that Craig was looking for the door in regards to the Bond role, and even though he’s agreed to do another Bond film (and what will most likely be his last outing as the character), it’s interesting to see the lineup for potential successors. I mean, who can forget all the hubbub when Idris Elba had a little fun with outlets choosing him as the potential next Bond?
Then, there was the debacle of the director of the film. Sam Mendes left the seat after Spectre, making way for a new director to take over the reins. Eon Productions tapped Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting‘s Danny Boyle. However, Boyle left the position, citing “creative differences” with the studio. From there, Eon brought on Cary Joji Fukunaga to take over. Fukunaga is best known for his directorial talent on the first season of HBO’s True Detective, as well as the Netflix originals, Maniac and Beasts of No Nation.
Fukunaga is no stranger to dark and gritty subject matter, which makes him a good fit for the more serious tone of the Craig films. Not to mention, rumors sprouted up in early 2019 that Rami Malek, of Mr. Robot and Bohemian Rhapsody fame, was in negotiations to play the main antagonist after Christoph Waltz retired from the Blofeld character in Spectre. Based on these two creative decisions alone, it would seem that Bond 25 is shaping up to be a standout film in the series. However, news came out recently that Daniel Craig requested Phoebe Waller-Bridge, of Amazon’s Fleabag, be brought on to add more humor to the film’s script.
Now, here’s the thing: Phoebe Waller-Bridge is great. Fleabag is a genuinely funny show, and Waller-Bridge is an exciting talent to have on board. Yet, bringing on her comedic and lighthearted expertise might not be the best route for a series of films known for their serious and grounded nature. Skyfall was fantastic and Spectre was just okay, but both films delivered in spades on presenting Bond with grit that was first introduced in Casino Royale. However, that’s not to say that Bond cannot be humorous. The old Roger Moore, and even some Pierce Brosnan, films had their fair share of wacky antics and jokes, but Craig’s portrayal is starkly different from those of Moore and Brosnan— and Waller-Bridge’s talent might not be the best fit for Craig’s tone. If Eon and Craig were adamant about her involvement without compromising the quality of the film, it would unfortunately have to be under a new creative direction for the Bond character. Otherwise, Bond 25‘s tone would clash heavily with the earlier entries in Craig’s filmography, while under the pretense of taking place in the same timeline. Waller-Bridge would be more suited to a rebooted Bond, or even a lighthearted competitor, like Kingsman, which embraces the sillier aspects of spy movies.
No news or information has been released for the next entry, though rumors have circulated as to the working titles of “Shatterhand” and “Eclipse.” The release date for Bond 25 has been tentatively set for April 8, 2020.
-Derek Luat Tran