The first full trailer for the 24th official entry in the 007 franchise, Spectre, has finally arrived online and, as expected, it's cranked the excitement levels felt by fans of Ian Fleming's super spy up to eleven.
Our latest glance at Daniel Craig's fourth outing as James Bond (following on from the teaser released in March) seems to suggest that director Sam Mendes is aiming to build on the elements that worked so well for previous installment and billion dollar baby Skyfall, namely spectacle-laden action sequences, an emphasis on emotional and thematic depth, lush visuals and a sly sense of humor.
But what else does the trailer tell us about what to expect from Spectre? Polish your crystal ball and grab hold of your scrying mirror as we attempt to peer into the future and predict what lies in store for Agent 007 come opening night!
(Fair warning: potential spoilers lie ahead, even if this is pretty much all blind guesswork!)
5. It's gonna be meta
Something often overlooked about Skyfall is just how meta textual it is, with its story of a world weary super spy from the old school fighting for survival (and relevance) in a modern world of digital threats designed to work as a metaphor for the Bond franchise itself facing down the challenge of more fashionable upstart franchises like the Bourne series.
It seems that Mendes will continue to mine this concept for all it's worth in Spectre, based off the exchange between Moneypenny and Bond seen in the trailer, which ends with her giving the opinion that rather than Bond being “finished,” she feels he's “just getting started.”
Far from being a simple character moment for 007, this seems like a statement to audiences (or is it a promise?) that the newly revitalised 007 franchise, having overcome the misstep of Quantum of Solace and reclaimed its crown as the best spy series on the block with Skyfall, is only going to get better from here on out.
If so, it suggests that we can look forward to a continuation of Mendes' popular approach to the material, an approach that doesn't completely forget the fun trappings and history that fans loved about the vintage-era films (which the first two Craig-starring films effectively cut ties with), even as it ploughs forward in a fresh and modern direction.
And speaking of soldiering on ahead...
4. Bond's going to be rolling “lone wolf” style
From what we're shown in the new trailer, it looks like Bond will once again be operating outside the sanction of MI6.
You'd think a man literally licensed to kill people by his own government would tend to be pretty content just to toe the company line, but Agent 007 has acted without the endorsement of his employers several times in the last five decades, and it'll actually be the third consecutive film in which he's gone rogue in order to serve Queen and country.
While it appears that Bond's behavior this time will land him somewhere in the between being outright hunted by MI6, as he was in Quantum of Solace, and acting with their tacit approval, as in Skyfall, M's stern rebuke about Bond's activities while on “holiday” in Mexico suggest that 007 will be pursuing an agenda all his own in Spectre, and this is further borne out when he later asks Q to use geek wizardry to make him “invisible.”
We know from the teaser that part of film's plot will revolve around a secret from Bond's past (more on that later) – what that secret is we're not yet sure, but it looks like the reason for his decision to strike out alone. On the plus side, we can be a lot more certain about the next item on this list...
3. The Bond girls will look great (but won't break the mould)
What would a 007 film be without at least one Bond Girl? In Spectre, our lucky super spy will be making the acquaintance of two new ladies (as well as continuing his flirtation with Moneypenny), and unfortunately, neither of these characters seem poised to add anything new to the franchise formula.
The Bond Girls this time around are Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci); the former is cerebral, the latter is seductive, and both are gorgeous.
The “clever girl in over her head” character type has been (over)used many times by the Bond movies of the last 53 years, so let's hope there's more to Dr. Swann than meets the eye.
That said, if there's a trope that's even more of franchise cliché than “clever girl in over her head,” without a doubt it's the “femme fatale from the underworld,” so fingers crossed Ms. Sciarra subverts expectations as well (on the plus side, at 50 years of age, Bellucci is an age appropriate choice to star opposite 47 year old Craig, so kudos for that).
Ultimately, however, even if Spectre does boast two new romantic foils for Bond to court, he's still likely to be too preoccupied with unfinished business from the last movie to get overly attached to either. In fact...
2. Think of Spectre as Skyfall: Part II
I don't think that Spectre will be a direct sequel to Skyfall to quite the same extent that Quantum of Solace picked up from Casino Royale (although to be fair, those movies were set like...an hour apart), but it looks like the new film will be filled with plenty of call backs to continuity from its immediate predecessor (as well as to the other Craig entries in the series).
As mentioned above, the teaser has already revealed that Bond is hiding a secret in Spectre, and that it somehow ties in with his ancestral home (destroyed at the climax of Skyfall). In both the teaser and the trailer, it's also been shown that Quantum agent Mr. White will be back, tying Spectre in to both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, which lends yet more credence to the theory that this film will function as a not only as a sequel to Skyfall, but that it will tie all four Craig-as-Bond films together.
These shout outs to the films that went before, coupled with the return of characters introduced in Skyfall such as M, Q and Moneypenny, suggest that Mendes and screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan have crafted a story informed strongly by the events of the past, and while we're on the subject of Bond's past...
1. Someone's been manipulating 007 all along
Watching first the teaser and now the trailer for Spectre, the evidence is starting to mount that Bond will uncover a conspiracy that has shaped the course of his life from childhood right through to the present day, with 007 apparently the common link to many of the Spectre organization's evil undertakings.
It seems that Spectre, in the form of Christoph Waltz's shadowy villain Oberhauser, has been pulling strings in Bond's life for quite a while; his speech where he declares himself “the author of all [Bond's] pain” would appear to bare this out, as do his claims to have crossed paths with 007 countless times before without detection.
A point worth noting is that in Fleming's original novels, Oberhauser was Bond's (benign) boyhood skiing instructor and mentor – could his cinematic counterpart have also filled those roles, but for far more nefarious reasons? Is he responsible for the deaths of Bond's parents, who according to the books died in a mountaineering accident? Just how long has this guy been penning Bond's misery?
But of course, the big question on everyone's lips right now is whether Oberhauser is in reality the John Harrison of the 007 franchise, and if Waltz will eventually be revealed to be playing legendary Bond foe Blofeld, but other than a suggestive choice of apparel showcased by Waltz late in the trailer, it's really too early to say...