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Spectre: Is Christoph Waltz’s Bond villain actually Blofeld?

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Jonathan Olley

Is Franz Oberhauser really Ernst Stavro Blofeld?

The question — concerning a potential secret identity for Christoph Waltz’s bad guy character in Spectre — has been ricocheting around the Internet since last winter’s Sony hack, thanks to an emphatically worded note from a production executive for MGM, the James Bond franchise’s longtime financier-distributor. “THIS IS BLOFELD AFTER ALL,” the message reads. “WHAT DOES HE HAVE UP HIS SLEEVE?”

Over the years, Blofeld has reigned supreme as Bond-dom’s favorite Persian cat-stroking super villain. And he’s been portrayed by almost as many different actors as 007 himself — Charles Gray, Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, and Max von Sydow among them. But the character hasn’t appeared on screen since Sean Connery’s last Bond film, Never Say Never Again, in 1983.

So, of course, the leaked emails put fans on tactical alert for surprise reveals à la Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Harrison is Khan” switcheroo in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Double Oscar winner Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) shrugs off the question with a non-denial denial. He points out the character’s name was announced as Franz Oberhauser, not Blofeld. “So why not call him… I don’t get it,” Waltz says, reclining on the sofa of a posh London hotel suite. “I think the rumor industry is just an industry.”

Spectre director Sam Mendes, for his part, remains circumspect. “It’s not what you would expect in the way you would expect it,” the director says. “You’re just going to have to come and see.”