Movies are rife with them today. Pesky universes. Whether it’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the Monsterverse, the idea of having your films connect in some way to make a grander storyline is all the rage. So much so that young viewers are likely to think it’s the only way to go.
The Only Way To Go?
But the Bond movies have been doing it for nearly 60 years, with 25 films which have had a few continuing characters, some interconnected stories, and especially in Daniel Craig’s tenure, a tight continuity.
A Tight Hold
Yet the Bond movie producers, EON Productions, keep a tight hold on to the rights, and while books, graphic novels and games have thrived, there has been nothing by way of film spin-offs or TV series.
In the almost post-pandemic world of 2021, Mission: Impossible reaches the age of 25 and will make huge box office with two back-to-back movies while EON’s No Time to Die, delayed for two years, will finally debut SIX years after the previous instalment Spectre.
There’s a very real possibility that some fans will move on due to the long gaps between the films and the lack of any other Bond content. Younger moviegoers may never stumble across the films (notably absent from platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime in the UK). And what young movie fan, brought up on superhero flicks and animation would pay to watch The Man with the Golden Gun or Thunderball?
Time for TV?
If the producers opened the way to side projects or TV, the “Bond Universe” could keep existing fans and generate new ones. Just look at the success of the Star Wars and Marvel TV shows on Disney Plus as one example.
So here’s my suggestion for Bond TV spin-offs that I would definitely watch.
1. YOUNG BOND.
Adapt Charlie Higson‘s hugely successful Bond books for the small screen. Appeal to the younger adventurers in the audience. Animation like Carmen Sandiego?
A period thriller set in the sixties, following new agents on their first missions with more seasoned operatives. The adventures the other double-O agents had when Bond was off elsewhere. Think X-Men First Class. Then season two would be in the eighties. Then season three… Today?
The adventures of the CIA agent who sometimes works with Bond. Make it an international tale. Have him train a new diverse range of agents.
Fans may remember that for a short time the producers toyed with the idea of having Halle Berry appear in a spin-off movie with her character from Die Another Day. Why not try it now? Halle Berry was excellent in John Wick Parabellum. Here is Jinx, on the run, trying to clear her name. And in a crossover, have Leiter’s team pursue her.
5. QUANTUM TO SKYFALL.
For me, the Bond we saw in Skyfall seemed a lot more seasoned than the rookie we saw develop in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. It felt like we had missed our a few adventures between films. So why not explore them now? A limited series with a new actor playing Daniel Craig’s Bond after Quantum, defeating new enemies and suspecting – alongside a returning Judi Dench (why not?) – that a new international enemy is growing. And the series finale is when Bond is sent to Istanbul just before the events of Skyfall.
And finally. Star Trek had success with PICARD, where Patrick Stewart returned as an older Jean-Luc, so why not do something similar with Bond:
6. JAMES BOND: NEVER MISS.
Pierce Brosnan returns as an older Bond in retirement who has to come back into the field because of a ghost from his past… Well you get my drift. And bring back David Arnold to compose the score.
It’s a loosely-connected “universe”, no need to worry about making it all fit. Just make it GOOD.
Spies Are Back.
This year, spies are back big time: The Courier, Jack Ryan, Spy City, Mission: Impossible, The Ipcress File and The King’s Man.
If only EON Productions were able to capitalise on this resurgence, with an expansion of the espionage world of the towering character that arguably inspired ALL others.
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