James Bond: ‘The great secret to the 007 film franchise’s success goes largely unnoticed’

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Being an Old Etonian establishment womaniser, James Bond is often accused of being old fashioned and out-dated. However, the anti-hero continues to draw audiences since he first debuted on the big screen played by Sean Connery in 1962’s Dr No, but his portrayal is often criticised. Express.co.uk recently spoke with Bond author and expert Mark Edlitz and asked if 007 should change going forwards, especially in the next reboot, and if so by how much.

Edlitz, author of The Many Lives of James Bond: How the Creators of 007 Have Decoded the Superspy, said: “Bond is always changing. That’s one of the discoveries I made while writing The Many Lives of James Bond.

“Before writing it, I was under the impression that Bond was more or less a fixed character. However, any time a screenwriter or novelist creates a new Bond story, they change him a little bit.

“The Bond producers and writers are always finding new ways to reinvent him. The Daniel Craig era is a perfect example of this.

“They made decisions for the character and the series that would have seemed impossible in the Pierce Brosnan era.”

Edlitz continued: “One of the great secrets to the success of the series is that it is always evolving. It’s not stagnant.

“Bond and the films have changed considerably with the times. From Russia with Love is a cold-war thriller.

“Goldfinger was an action-adventure thriller. Moonraker was an over-the-top space fantasy. Licence to Kill was a gritty take on the drug trade.”

After Daniel Craig’s modern and more emotional incarnation of the character, we asked the 007 expert about some possible ways that Ian Fleming’s spy could be reimagined once again.

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Since 1962’s Dr No, the Bond movies have always been set in the present-day, but what about a period setting? The 007 films have never taken place when Fleming’s books do in the 1950s.

Edlitz replied: “Ian Fleming purists long to see a Bond story set in the 1950s.

“However, I do not think we will see that any time soon. I suspect that EON will continue to set 007’s adventures in the present.”

Henry Cavill famously lost out to Craig in the 2005 Bond auditions for Casino Royale at the age of just 22. Perhaps a younger, boyish 007 could be next?

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Edlitz pointed out: “For anyone looking for a young Bond, they can check out the nine Young James Bond books by Charlie Higson and Steve Cole. Dynamite comics published James Bond Origins, twelve comics that explored Bond’s years in World War II.

“Or if fans are feeling very adventurous, they can watch the 65 episodes of the cartoon James Bond Jr, in which Corey Burton played the titular character. It should be noted that the Bond in that series was not a young 007 but his nephew. Incidentally, I tracked down Burton and interviewed him about playing James Bond Jr. and his unique contribution to the Bond universe.”

As for how Bond girls should be presented in the franchise, he added: “Bond Women will always be part of the franchise. But they will continue to have greater agency in the story.”

The Many Lives of James Bond: How the Creators of 007 Have Decoded the Superspy by Mark Edlitz is out now.

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