The tortuous development process of the next 007 adventure has left many fans of the franchise shaken and stirred. As the film finally nears the start of shooting, here’s what we know for sure about Bond 25.
Who is playing James Bond?
Craig. Daniel Craig.
In August 2017, during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the British actor confirmed rumors that he would return to play 007 for a fifth time on the big screen. “Yes,” he told the late-night star on CBS. “I couldn’t be happier.”
A couple of years earlier, it looked as if Craig had voluntarily relinquished his license to kill. In October 2015, prior to the release of the last Bond film, Spectre, the actor said he hadn’t given any thought to playing the part again.
“For at least a year or two, I just don’t want to think about it,” Craig told Britain’s Time Out. “I don’t know what the next step is. I’ve no idea. Not because I’m trying to be cagey. Who the f— knows? At the moment, we’ve done it. I’m not in discussion with anybody about anything. If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.”
Craig told Colbert that plans had been in the works on his Bond return for “a couple of months.”
“We’ve been discussing it. We’ve just been trying to figure things out,” he said. Craig later said he felt this will be his last outing as the MI6 agent. “I think this is it. I just want to go out on a high note. I can’t wait.”
Who is directing?
The plan is for Bond 25 to be directed by Cary Fukunaga, whose credits include 2015’s Idris Elba-starring Beasts of No Nation, the acclaimed first season of HBO’s True Detective, and the recent Netflix show Maniac.
But that wasn’t always the case.
In March 2018, it was reported that Trainspotting and 28 Days Later filmmaker Danny Boyle had revealed he would direct the next Bond movie. “We are working on a script right now,” the filmmaker told Metro US at a screening of Boyle’s FX drama Trust in New York. “And it all depends on that really. I am working on a Richard Curtis script at the moment. We hope to start shooting that in six or seven weeks. Then Bond would be right at the end of the year. But we are working on them both right now.”
Boyle also confirmed that he was working on the Bond script with screenwriter John Hodge, whose professional relationship with the filmmaker dates back to his debut movie, 1994’s Shallow Grave. “We’ve got an idea. John Hodge, the screenwriter, and I have got this idea, and John is writing it at the moment,” said Boyle. “And it all depends on how it turns out. It would be foolish of me to give any of it away.”
In May 2018, Eon Productions — the company which oversees the Bond franchise — and Metro Goldwyn Mayer confirmed that Boyle would direct the film from a screenplay by Hodge. “We are delighted to announce that the exceptionally talented Danny Boyle will be directing Daniel Craig in his fifth outing as James Bond in the 25th installment of the franchise,” Eon Productions’ Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement.
Then, on Aug. 21, it was revealed that Boyle had departed the project. “Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig today announced that due to creative differences Danny Boyle has decided to no longer direct Bond 25,” 007 fans were informed via tweet.
What exactly were those creative differences? One rumor had Boyle quitting because he refused to go along with Barbara Broccoli’s alleged desire to kill off Bond — or at least Craig’s version of the spy. More recently, it has been suggested that Boyle himself wanted to kill Bond, which led to a clash with the film’s producers.
Fukunaga has been tight-lipped about what fans should expect from the next Bond adventure, but in an interview last year with Inquirer.net the filmmaker confirmed that the film will be at least partly a continuation of the previous Craig-starring adventures. “In terms of what I can bring to change the character, Bond is on a character arc that started with Casino Royale, and I will be carrying that on,” he said.
Who else is in it?
This is where things start getting as hazy, as anyone but Bond might feel after a three-Martini lunch. Last December, Variety reported that French actress Léa Seydoux was set to reprise her role from Spectre of psychologist Madeleine Swan. It was also reported that Eon Productions were looking for two other actresses, one to play an MI6 agent and another to portray a mystery woman. In that same report, Variety says Eon was eyeing Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek to play the villain although, at the time, it was suggested that his commitment to appearing on the last season of Mr. Robot would make that impossible. In February of this year, however, Deadline reported that Malek was close to making a deal to appear in the film.
In the interview with Inquirer.net, Fukunaga addressed rumors that neither Christoph Waltz‘s villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld nor Ben Whishaw’s weapons expert Q would be returning for the next film. “Who is saying those rumors?” he said. “We haven’t finished the screenplay, so there is no way that anyone could know that. Those are two extraordinary actors, so if there is space for them in the story, I would absolutely want them there. But I don’t know yet what it’s going to be.”
What is it called?
Tomorrow Never Dies Another Day of Solace.
Only joking! Actually, the title for Bond 25 has yet to be confirmed. In February of this year, The Guardian reported that the movie would shoot under the working title of Shatterhand, an alias used by Blofeld in Ian Fleming’s 1964 Bond novel You Only Live Twice. Could this wind up being the film’s ultimate name? Probably not. Earlier this month, the unofficial James Bond website MI6 reported that an autograph hunter had approached Barbara Broccoli with a piece of paper upon which was printed the title Shatterhand. While Broccoli signed the paper, she wrote “It’s not” next to the word.
When will it be released?
Bond 25 was originally set to be released in the U.S. on Nov. 8, 2019. That date was later pushed back to Feb. 14, 2020 and then, in February of this year, was delayed again, to April 8, 2020.
Who will replace Daniel Craig?
Production may not have begun on Bond 25, but there are plenty of rumors about who will replace Craig as 007, if the next film does prove to be his last. Many folks would dearly love Idris Elba to take the role, an idea with which The Wire actor had some fun at last year’s Golden Globes when he posed for a photograph with Craig (see below). More recently, the odds of Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy being cast in the role have been slashed by British bookmakers Ladbrokes, with a spokesperson for the company telling the Daily Express newspaper in February that “no other actor has seen more bets placed on them playing Bond since the turn of the year.”
Whoever takes over the role is likely to be male. In October 2018, Barbara Broccoli told The Guardian, “Bond is male. He’s a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male. And that’s fine. We don’t have to turn male characters into women. Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters.”