Mon
Jul 15 2013 1:30pm

Now That Sam Mendes is Returning to James Bond: A Skyfall 2 Wish List

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

Last week, defying expectations, Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes confirmed that James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson want him back for the franchise, and they’re willing to wait. Instead of a 2014 release date for the next James Bond film, the film will be released in 2015, with Mendes calling the shots. Most moviegoers and diehard 007 fans alike agree that Skyfall was the best James Bond film in years. Now that Mendes is really returning, here’s a brief wishlist for the next Bond film.

Spoilers for Skyfall, other James Bond movies!

 

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

1.) More Moneypenny in the field.

Though we didn’t know Naomie Harris was playing a new incarnation of Miss Moneypenny until later in the film, this version of M’s secretary was right in on the action at the start of Skyfall. And though Moneypenny tells Bond she’s kind of had it with working out in the field, she totally has to again! The Bond films have always been burdened with a kind of inherent sexism, something which could be curbed if Moneypenny was presented as more of an equal.

 

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

2.) Create personal stakes for Bond, but not too personal.

All the most creative Bond stories have figured out a way to to make things personal for Bond, and while you might say On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is “the one with that other guy,” the idea of having Bond marry and fall in love is what made that film so unique. Similarly, Goldeneye kept things real for Bond by having a friend and brother in arms turn against him. (And also managed to maintain the trope that Sean Bean must die!) Of course, the climax of Skyfall also makes this super personal for 007, perhaps in a way that’s never quite been done. Mendes is good at subtle drama in extreme situations, but it might not be reasonable for James Bond to have a personal crisis in every single movie. Skyfall saw him totally broken, drinking way too much, and unable to do his job properly. I think if the stakes in this one are personal, Bond should be less fragile, otherwise the movie runs the risk of emulating its predecessor.

 

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

3.) Henchmen!

Like a live action video game, James Bond must first defeat some henchmen before getting to the “boss” at the end of the story. And in the long history of these films, some of the henchmen have been more memorable than the actual bad guy. Is Goldfinger more interesting than Oddjob? Is Jaws somehow lamer than his various employers in The Spy Who Love Me and Moonraker? No way! The henchmen of James Bond provide a good deal of flash and color to the universe of spy versus spy versus crazy guy with a weird death hat. The new Bond film should give us at least one of these types of people. I’ll even settle for someone who’s shoe turns into a knife.

 

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

4.)  Gadgets!

With Q finally reintroduced into the Bond film canon, I don’t see any reason why a follow-up to Skyfall couldn’t get a little gadget happy. I know there are cranky purists who believe gadgets ruined Bond and turned him into something of a caricature of an action hero. But there’s one thing everyone forgets about that: gadgets are really cool. Between Austin Powers and Despicable Me, it’s easy to forget how rad an underwater car or a laser watch might be. Not to mention, part of what makes some of the older Bond gadgets so great is that those cars actually exist. 007 is making science fiction into reality, one underwater car at a time. Let’s give him at least one totally crazy device this time out.

 

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

5.) A Bond chase to end all Bond chases.

Though many might disagree with me, James Bond films aren’t really about murder and mystery, but more about the chases. When I think of the thrumming from the John Barry piece “007” of the classic Connery films (and one Moore!) I don’t think of death, but instead of high adventure. I can’t really complain about any one single chase scene in any Bond movie because I actually love them all, with the motorcycle scene at the beginning of Skyfall maybe being the slickest. Unfortunately, this ante has to be upped, and I think the only way to do it is in a big, famous city. Yep, that’s right Bond’s next big chase needs to be in New York or Paris. Sorry, I’m demanding it. Bond swinging from the Empire State or the Eiffel Tower. Give it to me, Mendes!

 

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

6.) Jeffrey Wright.

This fantastic actor has been a regular customer of mine twice in the past. Once at a little restaurant in Brooklyn where I bartended, and later at an independent bookstore, where I, well, sold books. He’s a super nice guy and once fist-bumped me while we were both on our respective phones walking through Union Square Park. So, it comes as no surprise that I’m pretty biased in regard to Jeffrey Wright. Skyfall would have been perfect had his version  of Felix Leiter been featured. Was he only excluded because they were worried about making the movie too awesome? Quantum of Solace may be kind of crappy, but it’s worth it for that one scene in which Wright says, “move your ass James.” If Felix Leiter returns, so must Jeffrey Wright. And I would have no problem if the movie became a buddy-film with equal screen time for both Jeffrey and Daniel Craig.

 

Okay, this list was written for my eyes only, what about all of you? What should Mendes bring in for the next Bond?


Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to Tor.com. He’ll see you at Skyfall...2.

19 comments
Jeff R.
1. Jeff R.
"the best Bond Film in years" is a bit excessive when the film that tops it (by miles and miles) was only two installations distant. (It's never been an annual franchise for that matter, so every Bond film is technically the best one in years.)

And most of these would be moves in the wrong direction, away from the perfection of Casino Royale and toward the awful, campy 80s and 90s Bond.

But really, the main thing to be wished for in this series is that it sticks to it's constant strength and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible to achieve with practical special effects.
Jeff R.
2. Bob B
Top of my wish list: someone other than daniel Craig to play JB
Jeff R.
3. Calpurnius
The only thing here I can fully agree with is wanting Jeffery Wright to return as Bond's CIA"cousin" Felix Leiter. If I wanted any of the rest I could pop in a Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton DVD.
Brian R
4. Mayhem
Don't forget the Eiffel Tower was well used in the early part of A View To A Kill, before the action moved to California. You need something else distictive ... hmm, I think the Statue of Liberty is still up for grabs.

I think the really defining thing about Skyfall was Mendes knows how to film a Bond movie. QoS had a reasonably decent story behind it, but I still can't watch the first 20 min without feeling nauseous - the jump cutting is too intense. Skyfall knows when and where to linger on a shot before moving on, which Casino Royale did will too.

The thing I truly love about the Bond movies - every movie is explicitly a product of its time, from the clothing to the cars to the latest greatest technology. Which means they are all fantastic time capsules to the past, and what people considered would be cool.
Tuula Salonen
5. Tura Sal´tana
Skyfall the Plothole best Bond film in years? Well, there are many opinions in the multiverse.

What I want to see is the trial or possibly quiet execution and "disappearing" of Q as a traitor, since he is the one that made the Bad Guy's plan possible. He did this with no risk to himself, unlike the Bad Guy who got himself imprisoned (for no particular purpose other than he has hots for Dench) and also got away scot free! He is the Moriarty of this case, not the poor hapless madman Bardem. Notice I have not bothered to even remember the poor pawn's name.
Mike Conley
6. NomadUK
Skyfall was the best Bond film in years.

That's an ... unfortunate opinion. Both of its immediate predecessors were far better films.

I fear things peaked at Casino Royale (a very high peak, indeed) and Skyfall will mark the start of a gradual return to rubbish plots and camp. Especially if we get more of Ben Whishaw's execrable Q.
Jeff R.
7. Tarcanus
@2 Amen! I don't see Daniel Craig as suave or even likeable. He looks like a hard ass action hero and I still don't think he can act well. And that hard ass action hero thing is not what I've learned to associate with James Bond after all the years of him being the debonair lady-killer and super spy.
Jeff R.
8. Alright Then
I see Craig being very close to the Bond of Fleming's books. Despite the debonair image certain actors have built up over the years, the original Bond on the pages is a brutal, cynical, sometimes even misogynistic man who happens to have a taste for the finer things---not vice versa.

Looking forward to the next installment.
Flint Timmins
9. Giovanotto
I think you nailed it Ryan. I think the Craig movies have really taken the franchise back to its roots and I hope it continues to stay there. What I really want to see in the next film is the modern version of S.P.E.C.T.R.E, Quantum. They come up with some evil scheme that requires our super spy to do some actual spy work, then he can call Felix in and blow everything up.
Jeff R.
10. Andrew@Abingdon
I like this list. Along with Harris as Moneypenny and Wright as Leiter, I think Whishaw as Q and Fiennes as M make for a strong ensemble cast alongside Craig's Bond.

I'd also like a tighter plot with well written bad guys, which doesn't just mean memorable henchmen, but also not stretching credulity too much - for all its brooding, things worked out ridiculously conveniently for Silva in Skyfall. I'm fine with things going wrong for Bond up until the last minute save, but it would be nice if the bad guys couldn't rely on the whole rest of the plot being according to their plan.
Chris Meadows
11. Robotech_Master
Something I wish we could see again, but probably never will, is a return to the immense cast-of-thousands battle royales that Bond movies used to close with. Where hordes of disposable extras dressed in good-guy army uniforms clashed with hordes of extras dressed in bad-guy army uniforms.

Seems like ever since about For Your Eyes Only the climax has always been Bond going it alone (or with the aid of Action Bond Girl du jour), mano-a-mano with the big bad. I want spectacle, darn it!
D. Pack
12. Wringleader
Especially agree with point 6 - Jeffrey Wright is freaking awesome!!
Shelly wb
13. shellywb
I can't help it. I like the old Bondy cliches. The newer movies may be more like the books, but when reading the books I think that Bond is just one of hundreds of heroes like that. But the movies, those were something different, and it's those differences IMO that made them fan favorites. The reason I loved the last movie so much is that it acknowledged that, while blending in the newer version of Bond. I thought the balance was perfect. (Though yeah, Plotholes Galore.)
Tricia Irish
14. Tektonica
My vote for best recent Bond film is definitely Casino Royale. (Although I did like Skyfall well enough.) The characters had depth! The action was mano a mano. Eva Green was smart, as well as sophisticated and beautiful, and very duplicitous and complicated. Daniel Craig is an excellent actor...we're lucky to have him as 007, although I had my doubts when he was first chosen. This Bond is much rougher, like the man in the books.

I fear the return to the gizmos. Some are OK, but I agree with Mayhem@4, that the Bond films are each a reflection of its era. Great time capsules. Todays evil isn't nearly as obviously black and white.
No silly cartoons, please!
Jeff R.
15. a1ay
most of these would be moves in the wrong direction, away from the
perfection of Casino Royale and toward the awful, campy 80s and 90s Bond.

Agreed. I can't count the number of times someone has said to me "you know, I loved Casino Royale, but you have to admit it would have been even better with an invisible car and a ludicrous henchman". And you know why I can't count them? BECAUSE IT HAS NEVER HAPPENED.

What Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and Skyfall got right is to take the Bond formula and remove bits. (Just like Google was a success because it took the Yahoo! formula and removed everything but the search box.)
So, Casino Royale? A Bond film with no Q; with no gadgets (except the medical box in his car); and with no Bond theme except right at the end. Quantum of Solace? A Bond film with no MI6, where Bond doesn't get the girl, and where there are no henchmen. Skyfall? A Bond film with (essentially) no girl - and where M dies!

Personal stakes? I don't know, I think that's been done quite a lot in the last three films. We can't give Bond some deep-seated personal investment every time, he'll run out of energy.

What else can you cut out of the Bond formula? Could you have a Bond film with no villain?
Jeff R.
16. Gonzojoey
I want the title to be the villains name or deformity. Like WEASEL FACE or NAUGAHYDE.
Tom Smith
17. phuzz
You got a fist bumb off Jeffrey Wright?
I hope you felt cool, becuase that is very fucking cool.

Also, Daniel Craig is cute. And I don't really go for boys.
Jeff R.
19. peter111
So, basically, you want to return to the old days!? Bad Idea!!!
Jeff R.
20. dadada
what about a family clan as villiains, with sean connery, roger moore and pierce brosnan. so daniel craig can now also murder officialy everything that was good about bond movies.

but seriously, i dont even care what the next movie will be like. it's not bond anymore.

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