James Bond Lawsuit Settlement Opens the Door for the Return of Blofeld and SPECTRE

by     Posted 348 days ago

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The legacy of the James Bond film franchise is not without its twists and turns, many of which are excellently captured in the documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007.  One of the more difficult stories related to the film series involves Thunderball, which began with an original screenplay by Bond creator Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory, before Fleming decided to cut McClory out of the picture and publish the novel Thunderball—based on the idea the two hatched together—with nary a mention of McClory.  The result was a decades-long legal battle and two “unofficial” Bond films (Thunderball and Never Say Never Again), but at long last the entanglement has ended.

Hit the jump for more, including what this means for the Bond franchise going forward.

daniel-craig-skyfallPer HitFix, MGM and Danjaq have reached a settlement deal resulting in MGM now controlling all of the rights to James Bond.  This is noteworthy because this deal means that classic Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld and the nefarious organization SPECTRE are now back in the official library, meaning future Bond films from Sony can incorporate the character and/or organization.  It’s kind of like Warner Bros. finally getting the rights to Lex Luthor.

Skyfall director Sam Mendes is currently hard at work developing Bond 24, which is poised to open in UK theaters on October 23, 2015 and in the US on November 6, 2015.  Details on the pic have been scarce and I doubt the producers have time to rework the film and include Blofeld before filming begins next year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some Easter Egg referencing SPECTRE.  Post-credits sequences are all the rage at the moment, so maybe we’ll even get a Blofeld cameo at the end of the pic.

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  • doctor_robot

    nice.

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  • God’s Diamond

    I thought quantum was their version of spectre. They will probably combine the two now

    • mattinacan

      maybe they will just forget about that one, it would be for the best

      • http://illusion0flife.wordpress.com/ IllusionOfLife

        Indeed. The less said about Quantum the better.

      • Jimmy B

        The movie QoS was bad, but the organisation of the same name was pretty cool. I hope they use one of the two sinister organisations in the next Bond movie.

      • http://illusion0flife.wordpress.com/ IllusionOfLife

        It was an interesting idea, but because Quantum of Solace was such a non-starter of a film it seems silly to keep referencing it in the films.

        It’s better for all parties if they just disregard Quantum entirely and switch the focus to SPECTRE.

      • Grayden

        SPECTRE unfortunately is a silly vehicle in the modern age. One megalomaniac surrounded by “lieutenants” who carry out his seemingly disconnected nefarious plans? For what? It worked in the 60′s as a pulp fiction, but today…no. Quantum makes far more sense as a group of wealthy elite controlling governments from behind the scenes. It’s far more ominous and engaging, and it touches on groups that are known such as the Bilderberg’s and the Bohemian Club. If Bond is going to be set in a realistic world where he doesn’t have campy gadgets and tosses his hat on the coat rack (hated those moments of Skyfall) then he has to go up against an organization worthy of the modern day, and SPECTRE isn’t it.

    • Ched Groundheggin

      yeah, i would rather see them finish the quantum storyline although it was said prior to sky fall that they were abandoning it.

      Sky Fall all together felt like Mendes and the writers abandoned all of the continuity that Daniel Craig’s first two films created. Really selfish move on Mendes part.

      • What>

        Ah yeah what ever.

        What was abandoned was the first 20 Bond Films, ‘Dr. No,’, ‘From Russia With Love,’ ‘Goldfinger,’ ‘Thunderball,’ ‘You Only Live Twice,’ ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’ ‘Diamonds Are Forever,’ ‘Live And Let Die,’ ‘The Man With The Golden Gun,’ ‘The Spy Who Loved Me, ‘Moonraker,’ ‘For Your Eyes Only,’ ‘Octopussy,’ ‘A View To A Kill,’ ‘The Living Daylights,’ ‘License To Kill,’ ‘Goldeneye,’ ‘Tomorrow Never Dies,’ ‘The World Is Not Enough,’ and ‘Die Another Day.’

        How were they abandoned? By one simple pathetic line in ‘Casino Royale,’ by stating he had not been an agent before 2001. Total bullshit. Yeah, the previous 20 movies did not follow every canonical thing, but they are least ignored passing of time and how long Bond had been an agent, 007. Craig’s first Bond shows him becoming Bond, alright, but you did not have to set it and be obvious that he became Bond after the cold war. Have hated the Craig films, they are not Bond, they are more Jason Bourne than anything. Just like JJ abrahms pathetic star trek remakes, they are nothing like star trek. His star wars is going to be NOT STAR WARS AND WILL BE CRAP!

        ‘Quantum Of Solace’, ehh bad. ‘Skyfall’ was alright, but I do not acknowledge it as Bond. Bond is done for me. 20 movies is enough. I enjoy the original James Bond 007 parody ‘Casino Royale’ from 1967 and the so-so ‘Never Say Never Again.’

      • ZAR

        My problem with “new Bond” is what they did after Casino Royale. Instead of keeping the excellent character development going they just continued the story. And QoS pretty much killed the reboot completely.

        On another note… although Judy Dench is an excellent actor in that role, she just ties in too much in the 90s Bond-films. And while this is some sort of “continuity”, a somewhat younger M as an father-/mother-figure (say pushing 65, not 85) would have been a better choice. (Besides, I haven’t forgotten the idiotic “misogynistic dinosaur”-line of Goldeneye because it feels completely wrong and does not fit the ONE person that basically FATHERED Bond to be a secret agent of the 00-branch.)

      • Ruprect

        “M”, like “James Bond”, is a codename. Not the same person as Connery Bond’s “M”.

      • http://welcometothemiddleroom.blogspot.com/ Erin

        “M”, yes. Bond, no.

        The biggest problem with the theory that “James Bond” is a cover is that the books these are based on make it crystal clear that’s not the case.

        Even if you ignore the source material, it doesn’t really work with the movies. If the point is to explain away the changing actors, you immediately run into issues around “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” which takes place between two Connery movies. You can’t explain it away as two agents using the same cover, either, since Bond is out for blood at the start of Diamonds are Forever due to the end of OHMSS.

        Then there’s Teresa Bond’s gravestone at the beginning of “For Your Eyes Only”, and the references to OHMSS in The “World is Not Enough.”

        I appreciate that retconning the series so each actor (or at least each era) was a new spy cleans up the dates and appearance changes, but it’s clearly not what was intended, nor does it lead to a cleaner continuity.

      • Ruprect

        But what of Lazenby’s complaint at the beginning of OHMSS … “This never happened to that other fellow”?

      • http://welcometothemiddleroom.blogspot.com/ Erin

        I’m not actually sure whether you’re being serious or not. Apologies if you’re not, but that’s Poe’s Law for you.

        The line is a joke breaking the fourth wall: the character isn’t literally referring to a different agent using the same name. If he were, it wouldn’t make sense for him to later reminisce over artifacts from the previous movies.

      • Ruprect

        Good Poe’s call. Actually I AM just fucking with you. I know that the film-makers were winking at the audience when Lazenby made his complaint. And I know that Moore-Bond visited Tracy’s grave and then dropped Blofeld into a smokestack (Even after being offered a “delicatessen in stainless steel” by the guy. WTF was THAT about?)

        I agree that there is only one Bond…the one in Fleming’s books. They have been a bi-annual read for me since high school, from Casino Royale to Octopussy. Even though the movies are “official”, I don’t consider them canon. Same with Gardner’s or Benson’s books.

        BTW … Do you agree that, according to Fleming’s description, Lazenby is the actor who most resembles the literary Bond?

      • Grayden

        that was breaking the 4th wall. He looked directly into the camera when he said it. It was, in that day, a clever “wink nudge” to the audience that there was a new Bond in town.

      • http://welcometothemiddleroom.blogspot.com/ Erin

        Skyfall works surprisingly well as a bridge between the Craig films and the earlier movies, essentially turning the new ones into prequels. The look of MI6 at the end of Skyfall was nearly identical to its appearance at the start of Dr. No, and the new actors were evocative of the originals. Even Craig seemed to morph into Connery’s Bond over the course of the movie.

        Sure, you need to ignore some era-specific details to get it to work, but we’ve had to do that since the beginning, anyway. It’s not like Dalton or Brosnan’s Bond could have been around in the 1960′s.

      • ZAR

        Regarding Dalton… they actually offered him the role back in the late 60s after Connery had quit! Alas, he declined!

        (And to say that too – Lazenby should have continued with Bond as he did a very good job over all and was improving a LOT during OHMSS!)

  • Tommy

    YES! I flipped out hearing this! Blofeld needs a proper return to the rebooted franchise and we’ll finally get it!

  • kemo

    Christoph Waltz as Blofeld, but not bald this time.

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  • mattinacan

    they will never do Blofeld now because of Dr Evil. If they do it, they will change him significantly.

    • 80sRobot

      Agreed — many people today, especially young ones who watched Austin Powers as kids, don’t know that Dr. Evil is a parody of a specific Bond villain. The parody has become more known than the original source, and is even thought of as an original character.

    • stylus59

      i can totally see Rhys Ifans as a revamped Blofeld

  • MatthewM

    Donald Pleasance was the consummate Blofeld; Telly Savalas was the worst.

    • Johnson

      No.

    • RedMercury

      Charles Gray! He’s Okay!

    • DavidisALLright

      The worst Blofeld was the one in Diamonds are Forever.

    • TurnerTC

      I really liked Savalas as Blofeld. Of course, he’s in my favorite Bond film “OHMSS” :)

    • lordjim

      donald pleasance was fantastic as always, but savalas was great too and in my all time favourite bond movie next to from russia with love, while pleasance was sadly in one of the worst.

  • Fulci is God

    how do you figure thunderball as an unofficial bond film?

    • Walt Gamble

      Exactly! Thunderball is completely legit! The two movies featuring James Bond that are not part of the official franchise are Never Say Never Again and the original Casino Royale.
      Personally though, I always found Spectre/Blofeld to be the worst part of the early films, I really don’t see the interest in going there again.

      • Fulci is God

        dont forget the 50s jimmy bond casino royale

    • TurnerTC

      I was scratching my head over that one too. “Thunderball” unofficial?

  • Johnson

    This is awesome!

  • Idris Elba

    Idris Elba needs to be Blofeld’s cat or I’m not going to watch this hunk of junk.

  • Faptain America

    Skyfall: really good
    Casino Royale: good
    Quantum of Solace: bad.
    Blofeld: sure, why not? Bond is known for over the top villains, most recently Javier Bardem’s Silva. No one remembers Austin Powers fondly enough to say “oh that’s Dr. Evil”. And even if they do, they’ll think “Oh, that’s where Dr. Evil came from” and continue watching the Bond movie.

  • straight arrow

    Patrick Stewart to play Blofeld? Just throwing that out there

  • Bond

    How about another Pierce Brosnan James Bond 007 film. He needs another one. If you went back to Connery after Lazenby, you can certainly go back to Brosnan.

    • Ruprect

      When OHMSS did poorly at the box office (compared to the others up ’til then) the folks at EON pics gave Connery a stupid amount of cash to return.
      The last few Bonds have done amazing box office. No need to go back to the Bond who drove an invisible car.

  • ZAR

    Finally!

    A nice twist would be to make Blofeld a woman (they did the same with M and it works pretty good).

    • TurnerTC

      In the John Gardener “Bond” novels, Nina Blofeld (daughter) ran Spectre – if memory serves.

      • Ruprect

        Correct. If MY memory serves, Bond nailed her too.

  • Bob

    Never Say Never and the original Casino Royale (with Woody Allen no less) were the unofficial Bond films. Thunderball was the Bond film that the producers did not have the rights to and had to produce in collaboration with Kevin McClory who had the rights. He later made Never Say Never Again (basically a rehash of Thunderball) on his own. The Craig films revitalized the franchise and have played respectful homage to the past Bonds. QoS was not bad but Casino Royale and Skyfall were great. Craig is far superior to all the other actors who have played Bond except of course Connery who will always be the definitive Bond, James Bond.

  • lordjim

    connery would be the greatest possible choice for blofeld.

    • Ruprect

      If he did not come back for Indiana Jones 4 (and after seeing it, who can blame him) he certainly won’t come out of retirement for this.

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