With one week to go until Spectre finally reaches cinemas (at least in the UK), there's pretty much been a blackout on spoilers for Bond 24. Sony and MGM have done a great job of keeping things on lockdown, teasing new poster art and stills from the movie without giving too much away.
Or have they?
The fate of Dr. Swann
A bunch of new images were releases at the tail end of last week and one in particular appears to reveal a fairly major plot twist concerning Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). If you want to go into this film without any knowledge of what's about to go down, you should probably stop reading now. But if you're curious, check out the photo below.
As you can see, that's Dr. Swann being bundled into a Range Rover by Hinx (Dave Bautista), the henchman (presumably) to the villainous Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). They're in a snowy environment, suggesting this is from the segment of the movie shot in Solden, Austria. The various trailers and TV spots for the film all heavily feature a chase sequence between this Range Rover, being driven by Hinx, and Bond at the controls of a low-flying plane - so, putting two and two together, it seems reasonable to assume that Swann has been kidnapped by Hinx and Bond is out to rescue her.
This image seems to take at the end of the chase sequence, with Swann safe and something blazing in the background - a hint, perhaps, that Hinx doesn't make it out alive? Given that we know he features in the Rome sequences, perhaps we can guess that the Alpine action takes place in the second half of the movie.
The most confusing aspect of these images is the fact that they were released at all, given how Sony and MGM like to keep things under wraps as long as possible in an age of spoilers and wild speculation - which means either they represent a massive red herring, or they just happened to slip through the net (and somebody probably got fired).
Has M lost trust in James?
The other newly-released stills from Spectre aren't even half as spoiler-ific, but a couple do fill in a few of the gaps, like this photo of our new M (Ralph Fiennes) with James in what appears from the setting outside the window of the bare apartment to be Rome. In the Bond movies M does have a history of going out to meet Bond on location (in Casino Royale, she met him in the Bahamas) but given that 007 appears to have gone rogue in Spectre, prompting M to demand to know what the hell he was doing in Mexico City, it looks like M has decided to keep a much closer eye on his prized spy during the mission to infiltrate SPECTRE.
And finally, what's going on in the image below? Q (Ben Whishaw) has some kind of clamp locked around Bond's right forearm. Could it be that he's having some kind of advanced GPS tracker inserted into James? It wouldn't be the first time, but it would tally with M being furious with Bond.
Clocking in at over 155 minutes, Spectre is comfortably the longest Bond film to date, and there's still a massive amount we don't know about the film's plot, but maybe these images help fill in a few of the blanks - or perhaps I'm wildly off course with my speculation.
What do you think? Will Swann be kidnapped by Hinx, and what was James getting up to in Mexico? Leave a comment below and share your wisdom.