Spectre: Something Old, Something New

With the latest Bond film currently in production, we speculate on what’s likely to remain the same and what will be shaken up in 007’s 24th outing.

The latest Bond film Spectre has completed production on key sequences in Austria and the first extended behind-the-scenes footage has been released. The feature shows the first time Bond has gone back to the snow in 13 years and will be the setting for one of the film’s major action pieces.

The casting and branding of Spectre, featuring prominently in the footage, signals a return to the traditional structure and style of Bond, rather than adapting and re-imagining the formula as much as the past few entries.

Spectre is unique amongst Craig’s previous three Bond films in that the traditional supporting characters, M (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw), are now in place from the very beginning. It also heralds a return to the historic format with the re-introduction of Spectre, the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, the central antagonists throughout the Connery years.

Spectre’s casting appears to follow the format of its decades-old predecessors more closely than Casino Royale and its follow-ups. In addition to a key central character (Christoph Waltz), there is also an apparent henchman played by Dave Bautista (Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy) and two potential love-interests (Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux) in prominent roles.

Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were unique amongst Bond films in that they featured a story arc connecting the films focusing primarily on a single Bond girl, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), while Skyfall killed off Bond’s central love interest (Berenice Marlohe) halfway through the film.

All three neglected to feature a prominent henchman in the tradition of Jaws or Oddjob, instead choosing to focus on the main villain. The casting of Bautista, fresh off one of the great cinematic successes of 2014, promises a much stronger role for a creative and sadistic henchman.

Spectre will likely receive its own modern upgrade and be rebranded as a sinister capitalist corporation, i.e. the Syndicate for the Procurement of Energy, CyberTechnology and Resourceful Enterprise, or alternately as a respectable front for an evil organisation such as the Society for the Preservation of the Environment, Climate, Territory and Redevelopment of Ecosystems.

Also expected is the return of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond’s arch-nemesis and the inspiration for Austin Powers’ Dr Evil. Waltz is credited as playing Oberhauser, but no one really believes this any more than anyone believed Benedict Cumberbatch was playing someone other than Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness, originally being credited as John Harrison.

The criminal organisation Quantum, introduced in Quantum of Solace and originally intended as a story-arc for Craig’s Bond was notably absent from Skyfall, following mixed reviews of Craig’s second outing. It’s entirely possible that Quantum could be reintroduced as a branch or version of Spectre, linking it to the other films and maybe even tying in some of Raoul Silva’s criminal activities in Skyfall.

Spectre is out in October and will also shoot in Italy, Morocco and England. With an ideal cast, exotic locations and the return of an established and formidable antagonist, Craig’s fourth Bond film is a hugely promising prospect for the franchise’s 24th incarnation.

On FilmInk