How to Revitalise the Bond Franchise
With Daniel Craig winding down his incarnation of 007, I have an idea of how the filmmakers should proceed when replacing him.
As to who that replacement will be, it’s almost a certainty at this writing that Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page will step into the famous secret agent shoes — so let’s imagine him doing so, but in a unique way which will set his time as Bond apart from all the rest and put the film series on a completely new footing.
For anyone who’s been living on another planet for the last 60 or so years, here’s the background: James Bond is a fictional British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming. He was the star of twelve novels and two short-story collections and, since Fleming's death in 1964, eight other authors have written authorised Bond novels or novelisations: Kingsley Amis, Christopher Wood, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver, William Boyd and Anthony Horowitz. Charlie Higson also wrote a series about a young James Bond, and Kate Westbrook wrote three novels based on the diaries of Miss Moneypenny, the secretary of the Secret Service’s leader, M.
Also known by the code number 007, the character has also also been adapted for television, radio, comic strip, video games and film. The Bond films are the longest continually running film series of all time; they have grossed over US$7.04 billion in total, beginning in 1962. As of 2021, there have been twenty-four films in the Eon Productions series. In 2015 the series was estimated to be worth $19.9 billion, making James Bond one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
The Bond films are renowned for their music, their cars, guns, and gadgets with which Bond is supplied by Q Branch, and notoriously for Bond's relationships with women.
Six actors have played Bond in the Eon series: Sean Connery,
and Daniel Craig.
As each new actor takes over, the character is ‘rebooted’, and no mention is ever made of the earlier incarnations (except for one instance, when George Lazenby comments in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, ‘This never happened to the other fellow’). And this is where my idea comes in: rather than glossing over or ignoring the past, perhaps it’s time to acknowledge and incorporate it into the legend of the character.
So let’s imagine Regé-Jean Page returning from some dynamic escapade to debrief to M, and in doing so be introduced to his next mission — but this time, as the new 007. As he is inculcated into the role, he is shown past files of previous 007s — and these are shown explicitly on screen as Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig. Page is thus ‘donning the mantle’ of the earlier agents, and becoming the latest 007 in a long line. Film audiences are now too sophisticated, I think, to accept ‘just another reboot’: this approach would add depth and credibility to the franchise as a whole.
Yes, there are some contradictions: Lazenby’s Bond was married, and this marriage is referenced by later Bonds like Moore, for example; yes, Bond has been involved in some far-fetched world-saving adventures, but this would help to put those in perspective.
It’s just an idea — but who knows? If that’s what you see on screen with the next Bond, just remember, you read it here first!