According to variety.com Sony are announcing who will play Bond in Casino Royale tomorrow, and it’s not Brosnan. A sixth actor will take the role.
This suggests that we’re going to be sadled with this improbable reboot of the Bond canon. When, after the excesses of the dire Die Another Day, Eon gained the rights to film Fleming’s first book (previously filmed in 1967 by idiots) they planned to get back to the roots of Bond. There’s precedent for this. The nadir of the series, Moonraker, a ridiculously silly action movie which ended up in space, was followed by the excellent spy yarn For Your Eyes Only. It’s just that this time they’re filming the book which details a formative episode in Bond’s life – it’s the first book – and they’re filming it as such.
This is fine, and not an oriiginal idea. Tarantino wanted to film it, in period, with Bond’s voiceover. However, Eon aren’t exactly planning a prequel to Dr No. It’s going to be a contemporary Bond.
Although the Bond films all essentially follow a set formula, it’s the variations that are interesting. And there are story arcs through the series.
Of the first 7 Bond films, 6 concern Bond’s encounters with Blofeld and SPECTRE, later refered to in For Your Eyes Only. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Bond gets married. Again this is referred to in For Your Eyes Only and Licence to Kill. Other characters recur from one film to the next (Jaws, Gogol, Wade) and although some recurring characters are played by different actors in different films, M and Q are succeeded. Judi Dench is a new M in Goldeneye , not a different actor playing the same character (like Bernard Lee and Robert Brown) as she is a different gender. Also John Cleese is a different Q, as he appeared with the old Q, Desmond Llewellyn in The World Is Not Enough. If Dench and/or Cleese appears in Casino Royale, it places it after the Brosnan era and yet at the start of Bond’s career in MI6.
But it seems it’s going to fit into at least two places. Which makes no sense.