The Dread Spectre

Can’t resist a bit of speculation about what we’re going to see in SPECTRE… I must admit, I’m disappointed at the name. I’ve never been a fan of SPECTRE. Never a fan of Blofeld. My favourite Blofeld bit is when he gets dropped down that chimney at the beginning of the wonderful For Your Eyes Only. SPECTRE was invented for the movies, by Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory who originally developed Thunderball as the first James Bond film ((when Dr No got made instead, Fleming acquired the literary rights and novelised Thunderball; it reached the screen 3 films after Dr No – only 3 years after, too – they didn’t hang about in those days)). Fleming intended it to replace SMERSH, his KGB-like organisation, with a neutral extortion organisation. Actually, I quite like the first couple of books in the Blofeld trilogy – he works particularly well as the antagonist in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But, on screen, not so much. I think it was the the benefit of the franchise that the film rights to SPECTRE and Blofeld reverted to McClory ((who remade Thunderball once as Never Say Never Again, and fought a legal battle to try to remake it again as Warhead 2000 AD)). Even if they created rather similar organisations to fill the vacuum (eg. Quantum).

But now they’ve got the rights back, and they’re not only going to feature SPECTRE. They’ve giving it top billing.

So, here’s my speculation (warning: contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Casino Royale and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)…

  1. Everyone is speculating about whether Christopher Waltz’s character, Oberhauser, is really (master of disguise) Blofeld. That’d be quite an obvious twist. Of course it’s quite possible Blofeld’s face won’t appear at all this time (only a hand was seen in Thunderball, for example). But maybe Andrew Scott – slated to play yet another civil servant – will turn out to be the mastermind (after all, we’re rebooting here). A bit contrived? Well, that’s the problem with bringing back Blofeld… just as with Moriarty… (See what I did there?) How do you make it surprising? Anyway, that’s my guess.
  2. That photograph. Clearly the cracks and the bullet hole in the glass are intended to suggest SPECTRE’s cuddly little octoghost (what kind of international criminal organisation doesn’t have branding?) But there’s something else. Which other Bond film features, very prominently, a bullet hole through shatterproof glass? In other words, are they intending to (partially) remake On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Will Lucia Sciarra be the new Tracey Draco? While it’s true they haven’t yet remade any of the Brocolli Bond films, the new (Craig) films have been interested in developing Bond – getting his licence to kill, the death of Vesper, his return to active service in Skyfall. Wouldn’t his marriage and bereavement be the next step?

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See for more...

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