Barbara Broccoli, producer of Casino Royale, the 21st James Bond movie, put a reassuring hand on my shoulder and told me to just forget about continuity when it came to her franchise. That said, she does view this film, which is essentially Bond’s origin story (we even see him get his double oh status in the opening scene), as the beginning of a new arc.
“At the end of this film there’s unfinished business,” she told me. “It’s clear in this story that there’s someone out there. In fact there’s a line at the end of the book Casino Royale where Bond makes a decision that he’s going to take on this task, he’s going to become a warrior and try to find the hand that holds the whip. The big menace out there, the man who manipulates people and gets them to do evil things. That’s very much the spirit of the book and that’s the direction we’re going to continue on.”
But just because this is a Bond prequel, don’t expect to see remakes of previous Bond films or the reappearances of old villains like Blofeld or Auric Goldfinger. Says Broccoli, “That’s not the plan. The plan is to continue down this path.” That path will be a little more realistic than the last few Bond film, which Broccoli felt went about as far to the fantastical as they could, but won’t be as grounded in real-world politics as the Bourne series. “Although these are not political films, we like to get the atmosphere of the world situation, and terrorism is a big subject on everybody’s mind. It’s not just the terrorism but the financing of terrorism, and that’s a big challenge for all the secret services of the world, to find the financing and track the financing. When we did Casino Royale it was easy to adapt the Le Chiffre character and make him the banker to the world’s terrorists. I think we’ll continue down that path of trying to find a relevant and more realistic story – not a political story.”
Daniel Craig, the new James Bond himself, agrees that there’s unfinished business at the end of this film. “We’ve set up this idea that there’s an organization out there, and maybe there’s one person who’s responsible. The fact is now he has to go and get them. That’s where the next film is going to take us,” he said.
Craig, who is signed on for three films, wants the next film to also explore more of Bond. “I don’t think he’s rounded yet. I don’t think he’s finished. He’s got some more lessons to learn yet, and to me that’s where we take it now. I’d like to see him get into situations we might not have imagined him in before. That’ll be the difficult thing, trying to find situations and scenarios.”
Broccoli agreed. “There’s unfinished business in terms of an evil force but there’s also unfinished business internally that he has to resolve. We’re planning to go forward and resolve some of this. Quite how we do it, I don’t know at the moment. It’s a great starting point for the future journey.”
The plan right now, according to Craig, is to get everyone together in January and hammer out ideas for the next film. The actor can’t wait. “In June of this year, when I finished this movie, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was make another Bond movie. I now feel much more pumped up about the idea of taking this on, and it’s going to be interesting.”
I have to admit that I’m sort of excited as well; I’m not a Bond fan (I haven’t sat through a whole Bond film in a decade), but Casino Royale really worked for me, even if it was a little too long. It was completely thrilling, with awe-inspiring but still human-sized stunts and action scenes. Craig makes a fantastic Bond, completely owning the role in a way that no one has before, and really calling back to Sean Connery’s original rough edges in the role. I may actually pay to see this movie again. Seriously.