Just a couple of weeks ago, we were discussing whether Christopher Nolan should take over the James Bond franchise, as was rumored. I wondered then, too, whether perhaps it was just a better idea to “put 007 aside altogether.”
Now, Entertainment Weekly is suggesting, in its latest issue, that the Bond franchise may indeed be dead:
These are dark days for James Bond fans. It will likely be years before 007 returns to the screen, thanks to money troubles at MGM, Bond’s longtime studio, which has been up for sale since November. Even Daniel Craig seems to have moved on, signing up for the lead in a different potential franchise, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The last time the Bond series was put on this sort of “indefinite” hold was back in the early 1990s, after a series of legal battles (and Timothy Dalton) nearly wrecked the series. It took six years to get it up and running again. And in Hollywood today, six years is an eternity. “No franchise can afford to be away from screens for that long anymore,” says a former MGM exec. “You lose too much momentum. Even for Bond, it could be deadly.”
Sort of an unfair swipe at Timothy Dalton, and I’m not sure that six years is too long for Bond to be away. It seems to me that Bond, by the very nature of his premise, is infinitely adaptable to whatever is happening geopolitically in the world: Casino Royale proved that, by updating who he is fighting, and why, and how, for the 21st century. Unless the planet collapses back into a medieval-level dark age in the next decade — which, for all our troubles, is probably unlikely — there will be a pertinent bad guy for Bond to go up against. (I’m thinking China will keep Hollywood in all sorts of clichéd bad guys, from mobsters to corporate assholes, for at least the next couple of decades.)
What do you think? Is James Bond dead? What would bring it back to life? Is there another fallow franchise from cinematic history that could be resurrected to replace 007?
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