After many delays and a director quitting, production is finally ramping up fast on Bond 25.
As usual with a Bond movie, the speculation is rampant about everything from a title to the performer of the theme song. We know that Cary Fukunaga becomes the first American to ever direct an entry in this franchise.
We know that rewrites have been underway with Bourne Ultimatum writer Scott Z Burns in the hot seat to polish the story. What else do we know?
We Meet Again Blofeld?
The announcement of Shatterhand as the working title got many Bond fans all over excited a few weeks ago. As any Bond aficionado can tell you, Dr. Guntram Shatterhand is an alias used by Blofeld in the novel You Only Live Twice.
In the book, a morose and ineffective Bond is about to be fired by M.
He is unable to get back in the saddle after the assassination of his new bride at the hands of Spectre within hours of their wedding in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He is no longer capable of meeting the standards M expects in his operatives.
These threads were semi-used in Skyfall, but with the news that Madeline Swann is returning in this installment does this mean she won’t make it past the opening titles?
Will the makers more heavily mine the plot of the Fleming book to close out Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond?
In the book, a substandard Bond is given an easy mission to attempt to salvage his career. He is sent to Japan to negotiate with Tiger Tanaka, the head of the Japanese Secret Service, for a captured Soviet coding system.
In the course of this seemingly simple assignment Bond discovers the killer of his wife is in hiding in Japan. Using the alias, Blofeld lives in an old feudal Japanese castle surrounded by a “Garden Of Death” full of rare, poisonous plants, deadly snakes and even a lake full of piranha.
Will elements of this much-loved canon finally make it to the big screen other than Blofeld’s pet piranha?
Working Title Hopes Dashed
Speculation was rife that the working title would also be the final title. Shatterhand has often been mentioned as a potential Bond title ever since they ran out of Fleming novel titles with The Living Daylights.
It’s been a fan favourite for a while.
However, at a recent event, Barbara Brocolli stopped that idea dead in its tracks when asked for an autograph.
Mama, Just Killed James Bond
Word on the street is that Rami Malek, hot off his Oscar for the role of Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, is in final talks to play the villain, who will be blind. The villain? A villain? The only villain?
Will Blofield return with a different look as was traditional in 007 adventures of the past? No Christophe Waltz this time around?
Where To This Time?
According to Variety, there is one thing that is set. The ancient south-eastern Italian town of Matera will reportedly provide the location for the film’s opening pre-titles sequence.
Once a neglected slum, the Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano districts of Matera are now a picturesque tourist hotspot. Prehistoric whitewashed caves from the Paleolithic era underpin a historic town of cafes, street markets and a maze of alleyways, looping streets, arches, piazzas, and courtyards.
Wonder Woman, The Passion Of The Christ and the remake of Ben Hur all previously filmed here.
As production ramps up even further, expect more news about what is in store in Daniel Craig’s 007 swansong.
Bond 25 will be released worldwide on April 8th, 2020.