The next James Bond film must bring the fun back to the 007 movies

Last year’s No Time to Die closing sting might have made the familiar promise that – despite on-screen evidence to the contrary – “James Bond will return”, but as things stand, l Agent 007’s future seems to be very up in the air.

Filming for the next Bond outing is, according to franchise producer Barbara Broccoli, “at least two years away” with no script yet in development. “There’s no script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next movie because, really, it’s a Bond reimagining,” Broccoli recently said. at Deadline.

“We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time.”

The 007 film series has of course always reinvented itself. In 60 years, it has had its ups and downs, going – sometimes dramatically – from (relatively) straightforward to more extravagant.

Sean Connery’s early films grew increasingly ridiculous, culminating in 1967’s You Only Live Twice and his iconic hollowed-out lair of the nasty volcano. George Lazenby’s lone outing as Bond then dampened things for one of the most faithful adaptations of an Ian Fleming novel, before mixed reception for that film – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service from 1969 – has saw the franchise return to a more playful and light-hearted version. from Diamonds Are Forever in 1971.

This growing sense of the outrageous culminated with 1979’s Moonraker, which saw Bond blasted into space, before 1981’s For Your Eyes Only – with its tale of Cold War rivalries and missing spy technology – was literally brought 007 back to Earth.

Roger Moore as James Bond and Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead in Moonraker in 1979 Getty

Silliness crept into the two Roger Moore films that followed, with the series again course-correcting Timothy Dalton’s more restrained films of the late 1980s, which in turn gave way to the evasive blockbusters of Pierce Brosnan’s popcorn in the 1990s, and when that film series reached its peak with the giant lasers, ice palaces and DNA rewrite antics of 2002’s Die Another Day, the series came back a once again to the works of Ian Fleming – back in this case for a more serious – adaptation of his very first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 2006.

But that was 16 years ago and the wheel keeps turning – as Broccoli identified, it’s time to reinvent another and tradition dictates that it’s time to let Bond have fun again.

Not only that, but a more fantastical Bond would also put the series in good stead when it comes to fending off competitors at the box office – like them or hate them, there’s no denying that Marvel movies have become the dominant force in the game. mainstream cinema, perhaps speaking to a growing taste for colorful, escapist cinema with clear heroes and villains as the world around us seems increasingly dark and complicated.

An even closer comparison to Bond might be the Mission: Impossible films, which have thrilled critics and audiences alike for years by delivering the kind of escapist, jaw-dropping stunts that were once synonymous with the 007 movies – Rick Sylvester (the stuntman who performed The Spy Who Loved Me’s iconic ski jump from Mount Asgard in Canada) walked so Tom Cruise could run…and run…and run.

Tom Cruise - Mission: Impossible

Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible film series

Broccoli also insisted that “no one is in the running” to replace Daniel Craig just yet and suggested, wisely enough, that how the next film reinvents Bond will be key to that casting – which then could be a perfect candidate to take on a more frivolous 007 movie?

The temptation given the huge critical and box office success of Craig’s movies might be to just produce a Craig-type movie but with a different actor – but to do so would be to ignore the best thing about Casino. Royale and what made it and Craig successful: his daring spirit. He threw caution to the wind and reinvented Bond for the times, choosing the perfect actor for this period in the franchise’s history. The next era of Bond must do the same.

Instead of Craig-a-likes, then, why not consider Henry Golding, who showed action chops and some edge in 2021’s Snake Eyes and 2019’s The Gentlemen, but was also great fun as Sean Townsend — straight man to Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively’s workout tracks — in Paul Feig’s 2018 dark comedy thriller A Simple Favor? James Norton – most recently cast as a con man posing as an MI5 agent in the 2022 film Rogue Agent – has an easy charm and lightness of touch that could work for this new Bond. Slightly close to Craig, but Jamie Dornan also showed his ability to pull off a wild and surreal thriller with the 2022 BBC TV thriller The Tourist.

You’ll find supporters for both types of Bond films – the most faithful Fleming outings and the most tongue-in-cheek spy adventures, but if the franchise’s history has taught us anything, it’s that Bond must go on. to change and adapt. when the movies are made.

Whoever takes over next, let’s just hope they’re allowed to relax a bit and have some fun. Let’s face it, we could all do with a laugh.

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