Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
Variety’s Ted Johnson reported on the end of the legal battle between the estate of Kevin McClory and MGM/Danjaq…
“MGM and Danjaq have acquired all of the rights and interests in James Bond held by the estate of Kevin McClory, ending more than 50 years of litigation between the producers of the franchise and an author who penned Bond scripts with Ian Fleming. MGM, Danjaq and the estate of McClory issued a statement on Friday saying that they have brought to an “amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically for over 50 years.” Details of the settlement were not disclosed.””
Read the full article here.
McClory’s control over the Thunderball rights since 1968 has been a thorn in the side of the franchise ever since. In terms of characters and plot-points, Thunderball is integral to the James Bond series. Flickering Myth covered the story yesterday, charting the details of the legal battle and why this landmark resolution now paves the way for Ernst Stavro Blofeld and SPECTRE to return – if this is what the producers want. Kevin McClory regularly threatened to sue whenever the series even hinted at Blofeld’s return – notably in the early drafts of The Spy Who Loved Me, whereby McClory stopped his appearance instantly. This led to a ‘bald villain’ killed-off insignificantly at the start of For Your Eyes Only. Clearly the decision was to not-so-subtlety end the whole SPECTRE storyline and never use it again.
But it did return in the guise of the ‘Quantum’ group in Quantum of Solace. Like SMERSH (in the novels) and SPECTRE (in the films), it was an evil group of rich tycoons that included Mr White (from Casino Royale) and Dominic Greene (Matheiu Amalric). The villain in Skyfall, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), was not connected to the group whatsoever.
The shock ending of Skyfall and conscious nods to the previous series is, in part, why the film was so successful. The decision to re-use favourite characters – such as Blofeld – may be thought of as a welcome return to the 007 series we know and love. But the unconventional, high-class production of Skyfall – helmed by Oscar winners and nominees in Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins – additionally fed into the films blockbuster status. With this in mind, bringing Blofeld back may be the worst decision producers could make. Rather than modernising and updating the series (something Daniel Craig as a rough-and-ready James Bond has managed to do), this could be akin to the playful and awkward references in Die Another Day.
On Badass Digest, they consider the practical connections that could be created: “… will they have Quantum’s Q logo grow a few more tentacles to become the iconic SPECTRE octopus, or will they save Blofeld for the fella who takes over after Daniel Craig turns in his PPK? Odds are the plot of Bond 24 is set; my money is on Craig facing off against SPECTRE and Blofeld in Bond 25, at the end of his five-film run.”
It does seem foolish to assume that, after a lengthy – and costly – legal battle, Bond producers merely take ownership with no intention of using the properties. My only hope is that it is handled sensitively and considers the quality Sam Mendes and Martin Campbell brought to the series since Casino Royale in 2006. Awkwardly shoe-horned into a post-credits sequence would undermine the contemporary James Bond of the noughties – but perhaps, a connection to the Quantum organisation and a link between the recent villains would sew all the strands that are left hanging together.
And another question – who will play him? Bryan Cranston? Anthony Hopkins? Patrick Stewart?