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Thursday, May 5, 2022

Bond's Return: Borrow More From "You Only Live Twice"

Now that No Time To Die has been out for several months in theaters and home video along with word-of-mouth about James Bond's death at the end of the movie is common knowledge now, I can discuss it without fear of including spoilers.

People are questioning, rightfully so, on how the Bond movie series will continue. Will it be rebooted again? Or will it pick up where No Time To Die left off? I prefer the latter as it would be more in keeping with Ian Fleming.

Much of the elements of No Time To Die were lifted from Fleming's You Only Live Twice. The Sean Connery film version of 1967 did not follow the book, so it would be useless to even discuss it. So, from here on, references to YOLT will be book-based.

Eon Productions can introduce the new James Bond by lifting more from YOLT. 

There is an article at The James Bond Social Media Project that gives one some ideas for the next movie in bringing Bond back. I am not sure when it was written. 

The following quotes from the article includes passages highlighted by me in bold that can be templates for the next move.

Here's goes:

The Ian Fleming book from which the movie is “based” is a dark, plotless revenge story that takes place in the aftermath of the death of Bond’s new wife in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. M is planning to dismiss Bond from the service because he’s been incapable of performing his duties. Rather than sack him outright, M gives Bond the opportunity to redeem himself as part of the diplomatic branch of the service.

Devoid of action-packed thrills, the novel proves impossible content for escapist entertainment. At best 20% of the novel concerns actual “espionage.” The Bond character in You Only Live Twice finds himself caught between the love of country and the loss of his wife. This is Bond on the fringe, a shell of his former self. Drinking to excess, mired in notions of mortality and morality. Once he discovers Shatterhand’s true identity, the narrative becomes driven by grim revenge but Bond is again given a reason to live.

And perhaps this is why I found Fleming’s You Only Live Twice to be such a fascinating novel. As an outlier it challenges the Bond image, which by the time of this novel’s 1964 release had been firmly established through 11 prior books and 3 movies. In the end, Bond succeeds in killing Blofeld, destroying the castle but the physical trauma of the mission renders him an amnesiac. His superiors believe him to be dead, and Bond goes back to living (albeit this time sincerely) as a fisherman, fake-married to Kissy Suzuki. After a few months, Bond leaves for Russia, drawn there because he thinks he can uncover his true identity. Kissy knows he will not return and she does not tell him that she is pregnant with his child.

Here's how the above can use those elements. 

Bond, following the missile attack on the "Garden of Death" island, is wounded and amnesiac. He is found alive, after being thought dead, and is sent off for months of healing and rehabilitation. This is where the "opportunity to redeem himself" by M comes in. After rehab, he is sent to Japan or Russia. Since the loss of Madeline Swann and their daughter were due to the Heracles nanobots he was poisoned with, he is out for revenge against Blofeld. But Blofeld was killed in No Time To Die, right? Well, maybe he faked his death or an imposter was involved. Or, someone even bigger in the Spectre organization than Blofeld was involved. The possibilities are endless. 

It is fun to speculate. Still, my bottom line is that the Bond series should not be rebooted again. The ending of No Time To Die offers many future "cliffhanger" resolution possibilities. Rebooting would be a cheat after fans have invested so much in the Daniel Craig movies. In a previous blog post, I joked that Bond's death was another dream of Pam Ewing of Dallas. That one is definitely not going to happen, it's safe to say.

Producer Barbara Broccoli recently said that she doesn't know how Bond will be brought back. They're still thinking about it. I believe her. 

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