It’s been four years since the last James Bond film. And while Spectre had a mixed reaction from fans and critics (I myself found very much in the positive camp), it did set up the potential for a rollicking final adventure for Daniel Craig’s acclaimed take on the character; one where he would fully come into his own as the wise-cracking, woman seducing, terrorist crushing superspy. With much of the team behind Spectre and the massively successful Skyfall leaving production, and original director Danny Boyle quitting/being fired early into preproduction, the currently unnamed Bond 25 has been facing a complete turnaround for the series. Luckily, thanks to some ingenious hiring and an exciting premise, Bond 25 has the potential to drive Craig forward to the finale his take deserves.
Of course the most exciting news about Bond 25 is probably the cast. Naturally, Craig is back as James Bond, while Ralph Fiennes continues on as M, Naomie Harris reprises her role as Eve Moneypenny, Rory Kinnear will play Bill Tanner for a series record fourth time, and Ben Whishaw will be playing gizmo-genius Q. Also returning, to great acclaim, are Jeffrey Wright as Bond’s CIA counterpart Felix Leiter (returning to the series for the first time since Quantum of Solace) and Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, the current love of Bond’s life (and presumably this variation’s take on Tracy). Of course, what’s most exciting about the series are the new names joining the cast. Personally, I’m most excited about Blade Runner 2049’s Ana de Armas portraying a Bond girl (this new era of films has been great for the slightly dated trope), Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch as Nomi, and Game Night’s Billy Magnussen in an undisclosed role, but the big news here is who’s playing the villain. It has been confirmed that Academy Award-winner Rami Malek, fresh off his win for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, will be playing the film’s villain, something of a megalomaniac tech guru. He should be great in the role (he’s already unsettling to look at in the best way possible, no offense), and this should be an excellent cast (perhaps even better if Christoph Waltz does indeed come back as Blofeld).
Of course, the crew that MGM has assembled to pull this film off is no less impressive in its talent. Taking over for Sam Mendes and Danny Boyle is rising director Cary Joji Fukunaga, the talented auteur behind Jane Eyre, Beasts of No Nation, True Detective (particularly that amazing one-take episode), and who started working on that massively successful It adaptation before he was fired for being “too dark.” Fukunaga will be bringing along Damien Chazelle’s beloved production team, including cinematographer Linus Sandgren (First Man, La La Land) and Tom Cross (Whiplash). However, what’s perhaps the most interesting news from the upcoming film is that longtime Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have written every Bond film since The World Is Not Enough (and have often been criticized as the weakest link of the current Bond era), have been relegated to “story” duty, with their names stricken from the screenplay and their work completely rewritten. The new screenplay has been written by Fukunaga, Soderbergh and Jason Bourne writer (and current Oscar contender for The Report) Scott Z. Burns, and Fleabag and Killing Eve helmer Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Honestly, this is something of a dream team when it comes to a smart, fun spy thriller: Fukunaga knows how to bring the edge, Burns is the top of his class when it comes to espionage thrillers, and Waller-Bridge is a master at both spy drama and killer comedy (as both Fleabag and Killing Eve can account for). No matter how you slice it, this should be one excellent film.
Bond 25 will follow Craig’s Bond as he enjoys retirement with the love of his life, Madeleine Swann. Unfortunately, this retirement is short-lived as Bond is tracked down by his old friend, Felix Leiter, to locate a missing scientist. This quest will force Bond to deal with a new threat to the world order. The film will be released April 8, 2020, and I will have updates as a title and a theme singer are announced.