This past weekend we were treated to a new 007 film that will most likely be Daniel Craig's last as the British espionage expert. Spectre serves as the follow-up to the ridiculously fantastic Skyfall which was released in 2012. This four film Bond collection with Craig as the title character has been its own journey filled with revenge and lots of backstory, but with this latest release it may seem that bigger things are being set up for the future. Or are things being set up for a reboot? Anyone familiar with the 007 franchise as a whole should have been able to point out both subtle and not so subtle references that Spectre made to previous Bond installments. For months these references have been right in front of our noses. We just weren't looking hard enough.
There are things that fans have speculated regarding characters, story, and the direction of Bond's future since we first learned the details of Spectre. With this article I will try and clarify some of these theories as well as give insight on where this film leaves us regarding the franchise as a whole. Personally, I feel that this end of an era was a setup for a bigger Bond future that might just restart where the franchise began.
It should go without saying, but there will be spoilers below. If you didn't make the journey this weekend, you might want to skip this until you've seen Spectre.
There is significance in "Writing's on the Wall"
At first, along with many others, I wasn't too impressed when I first heard the new song by Sam Smith. I thought it was a bit sappy for a 007 theme and it didn't really fit into the situation Skyfall set us up for. I also might have admittedly still been in an Adele funk that I've been in since 2012. Now that I have seen the movie, I understand what the lyrics mean and I can see how it fits into the story. In a plot involving Bond seeing the bigger picture and choosing love over the MI6 program, "Writing's on the Wall" gives us all we need to know about Spectre. We just didn't know it when the single was released.
Madeleine Swann is likely a new version of Tracy Bond
Madeleine Swann was clearly important from the moment she was mentioned. After Bond gets the jump on Spectre and hunts down Mr. White, a Quantum representative and ex-Spectre member, he is led to Madeleine and subsequently teams up with her and saves her from the organization and its leader. After falling in love and capturing the villain, Bond makes the decision to leave his duties with MI6 behind and he rides into the sunset with Madeleine.
Sound a bit familiar? Well, early on in the 007 franchise we were introduced to a woman named Tracy who would subsequently have her own ties to remaining Spectre leaders. Upon being saved by 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969, Tracy becomes Mrs. Bond after being used to lead him to the location of Spectre leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. She is later shot and killed by Blofeld's henchwoman, Irma Bunt.
This can only lead us to believe that if this storyline continues into the next Bond film, with or without Daniel Craig, Madeleine most likely won't last too much longer. That is, if she appears at all. She might be another passing mention as Tracy was in films after 1969.
Speaking of Blofeld, what's up with Christoph Waltz?
Since being cast as the main villain and the announcement of Spectre being the title, Christoph Waltz had been fighting off rumors that he was playing a new version of the Bond supervillain. Well, all I can say is this is another example of don't believe everything you read.
Waltz was introduced to us as Franz Oberhauser, a shadow of James Bond's past who has been present for years but not accounted for. Throughout the movie it's a question of whether Oberhauser cheated death and was alive and leading Spectre despite being considered deceased. However, Oberhauser's true identity became obvious as soon as I saw the white cat.
Like many have speculated since the casting announcement, Christoph Waltz is indeed Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He comes complete with the Spectre organization, the cat, the collared jacket, and the scar on the right side of his face. Now that the film has been released, Waltz's character on IMDB and Wikipedia have even been changed to Blofeld because it's how he appeared in the film credits.
So what should we take from this regarding Bond's future?
My theory is, based on the evidence, that Sony is restarting Bond from the beginning. Spectre was first mentioned in the initial 1962 film, Dr. No, and both the organization and Blofeld wreaked havoc on Bond and MI6 for seven films. Well, eight films including Spectre. Given the inclusion of Bond walking away from his 007 duties with Madeleine Swann and Blofeld not being killed, but "captured," by MI6, I am led to believe previous storylines are being recycled to some degree.
Even if Daniel Craig does walk away and we get a new Bond for the next installment, they could continue this storyline and Waltz could return as Blofeld. It's only a matter of waiting to see what the studio does with the franchise.