Why James Bond should be taken back to the 1960s
- Credit: Nicola Dove/PA
After 15 years in the tuxedo, No Time to Die marks the end of Daniel Craig's reign as legendary super-spy James Bond. But what's next for the 007 franchise? WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead.
It seems an awful long time since anyone else starred as the world's most famous fictional spy and it was - Pierce Brosnan's last outing as 007 came nearly 20 years ago in 2002.
So as we wave goodbye to Daniel Craig - an actor who took ownership of the role and shaped Bond into an all together different creature - there are big questions as to where the Eon producers will head next.
As always, we are promised at the end of the latest instalment that "James Bond will return" and the debate over Craig's replacement has filled column inches ever since the 53-year-old announced he was hanging up his licence to kill.
But the more interesting question for me is not who - but HOW Bond will return.
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Talk of a "hard reset" isn't particularly new. Rumours first surfaced in 2015 before the release of Spectre - which at the time was expected to be Craig's last appearance as 007 - that a change of era was something being considered.
But now that many audiences have seen the emotional and dramatic ending of No Time to Die, tongues are wagging once again.
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The bold finale, if anything, showed that those behind the franchise are not afraid to shake (and stir) things up.
We've seen a reboot before of course, albeit a softer one, at the beginning of the Craig era in Casino Royale.
There we saw Bond as an up and coming spy, who had just received his double-o status, and over the four films that followed we witnessed the rise of the agent, culminating in his retirement from the secret service.
But going forwards, I think there are two ways it could go.
Bond 26 will need a new crop of support actors so either you cast a young James Bond and take it back to the start, as they did in Casino Royale, for a fresh tone of new films set in the present or - and this would be my preference - you leave the modern day and take it back to the 1960s.
What could be better than seeing Bond in an era without the internet, mobile phones or high-tech gadgets again?
A return to his Ian Fleming roots where a bit of a good old-fashioned espionage is the order of the day?
I think it's also fair to say the 1960s would be a little more Bond-friendly but that doesn't mean the character has to go back to the dark ages either.
Handling the attitudes of the time, and Bond's shortcomings, will need some care, but I've no doubt a good scriptwriter would be able to get the tone right.
It could look fantastic as well, the fashions, the cars, the hedonism of the time could all make for a stylish and thrilling return to the big screen for 007.
Another important question is whether we will see a story arc with the new Bond?
Craig's five films were the first to do that, with the shadowy influence of Spectre looming throughout, but is this the template going forward?
Each new Bond to get his own arc during his multi-film tenure?
Maybe but I don't think it necessarily needs to be. Stand alone movies with the same actors could be just as successful.
Whatever happens, it's a huge call for Mrs Broccoli and Mr Wilson - and one I dearly hope they get right.