A James Bond Cinematic Universe – Is It A Good Idea?


Rumors abound of the possibility of a ‘James Bond Cinematic Universe’ – but is it a good idea?

James Bond Cinematic Universe

So, the latest James Bond rumor making the rounds is that the Bond producers are interested in creating a whole Cinematic Universe of films around 007. Expanding the world of 007 to focus on other characters and giving them their own solo adventures while Mr. Bond is off duty.

This is just a very, very loose rumor that has no validity whatsoever, but somehow got some attention. Probably because fans are so desperate for some actual Bond news. There has been nothing even remotely official spoken about this at all. Let’s hope it stays that way. I would much prefer to read some hard news about Bond 25, but let’s entertain this ‘James Bond Cinematic Universe’ as if it were actual news anyway.

According to this new rumor, 007 producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have caught wind that Cinematic Universes are currently all the rage. Every franchise film series is attempting to rejuggle their approach to their movies, expand their reach with interconnected spin-off movies and get supporting characters to headline their own movies with their own independent adventures

This in turn they optimistically believe would get devoted movie fans to follow the brand anywhere the filmmakers spread it to, resulting into not just one successful series of movies to make money from, but multiple movies generating revenue. Fort Knox will look on with envy!

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 in SpectreGreat idea huh? Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as that sounds. Just ask the brains behind The Mummy, Ghostbusters or King Arthur who also had visions of planned cinematic universes being an oasis of success with a never-ending stream of moola being dumped on their doorsteps. Now that promised land they were eyeballing looks shaky to succeed at best. At worst, their plans have completely vanished. Let’s face it, odds are are we won’t be seeing another King Arthur movie from that proposed series.

Now, according to this rumor, Bond is ready to jump into the current popular cinematic universe pool. From most of the reactions I’ve heard from Bond fans it’s been greeted with more of a soft sighs than any genuine excitement about the idea.

What’s funny about the Bond film series is that it has traditionally been the anti-thesis of a cinematic universe. You can barely categorize the movies as sequels. It’s been more like an on-going series of individual entries.

Each movie has essentially been a reset from the one that came before. Barely any continuity has been followed. Little to no baggage carried over from one movie to another. Yeah, there would be recurring characters, but they would serve the same function in the stories as they had for decades. There was no real arc the characters followed, no expansion of plots and no relationships that evolved.

Dr No James Bond 007 M office sceneThe outline would always be the same. Bond is handed a mission, he meets a new lady, battles a new bad guy, he saves the world and it would end with him kissing the lady. The end. The next movie would start by wiping the slate clean and replaying that framework. It wouldn’t even matter if a new actor got cast. Rinse and repeat.

Ok, there are some exceptions and occasionally the films would reference something from the previous films, but there was never any kind of strict continuity happening. It wasn’t until Quantum of Solace where Bond found himself in actual sequel world.

Then Spectre really tried to change Bond’s cinematic structure trying to connect all of Daniel Craig’s Bond films into one big linked series with a villain who supposedly was responsible for EVERYTHING.

Rather than start laying the groundwork from Craig’s debut in Casino Royale to set all that up, the producers abruptly got influenced by the popularity of what was happening in other franchises and tried to make that work in his fourth film in by clumsily retconning all that came before. The results ended up being more head-scratching than mind-blowing.

Q James Bond 007 Movie Poster
Would you go see this 007 spinoff?

Now this Cinematic Universe idea is to follow, I would assume, Felix Leiter, Eve Moneypenny, Q, Mallory would be proposed candidates to star in their own Bond-less movies. Perhaps they would follow other double-0 agents on their own world-saving missions. Maybe there would be a prequel story with young Blofeld creating Spectre. Perhaps they could do the period adventures of a young M starring in 1980’s Cold War espionage thrillers.

Why not a followup story following one of Bond’s leading ladies who normally would disappear after the closing credits. How about the double-0 academy with young inexperienced recruits being trained for service by a rough, no-nonsense instructor. And then you can of course do the reverse with Spectre’s evil deadly assassins who yearn to reach the rank of loyal number one henchman to their boss. How about a five movie story of Blofeld planning a world ending plan, following every step of him making it happen that would culminate in an official Bond movie with James Bond ready to show up to stop him.

I can’t say I’m too keen with any of this. Yeah, I’m on the sigh side.

It’s amusing to think that EON would be confident about this idea of multiple movies, when it’s such a struggle for them to get one 007 movie made every few years.

Not every character is up to carrying their own movie. Some characters work because they are ‘supporting characters’ and that’s where their value lies. Would anyone really be interested in watching some of Bond’s pals for two hours all by themselves? Doesn’t that reek a bit of desperation on EON’s part?

In 2002 when she appeared as Jinx in Die Another Day, Halle Berry was a recent Oscar-winning actress. She was one of the most popular stars around. EON was tantalized by the idea of giving Jinx a solo movie believing it would be a big hit. Somehow that never came to pass. Thankfully!

Despite all the publicity of her casting as a Bond Girl and the artificial excitement that she was playing a female counterpart of James Bond, it still didn’t get her spinoff movie made back then Would audiences really be interested in watching Rory Kinnear in ‘The Tanner Chronicles’ today???? I highly doubt it.

Already the big cinematic universe thing is starting to be viewed by a lot of people as one of those passing film fads that will eventually run its course. It works for some film franchises, but not for others. Failed attempts at creating their own will just end up as embarrassing misfires. We’ve already seen audiences not be drawn to some of the newer universes that have come around. It’s no guarantee of anything.

Daniel Craig James Bond Aston Martin DB5 carIf 007 pursued his own cinematic universe it could be a real disaster and hurt the series more than it could help it. This wouldn’t be like a James Bond film taking a cue from black exploitation movies or Star Wars or 80’s action films or the cutting edge effects of CGI for one single film.

A cinematic universe would have to entail making a much longer term commitment to multiple movies. Would EON really want to risk doing that and learning in seven years none of it worked out, they better scrap these proposed projects and their time would have been better spent focusing on the official 007 movies.

And really, the James Bond films are already an expanded cinematic universe. You know what connects all the 24 movies together? James Bond.

He’s the star of the show. It’s his adventures and interactions with characters we want to see. Each Bond film is an event. They’re special because they only come around every few years. Having some half-ass off-shoot 007 movies filling up the movie schedule between the main ones I think would just tarnish the Bond films, not enhance them.

Fortunately, this was all some ludicrous rumor someone wrote that somehow picked up some attention. I’m thinking the odds of this ever happening are zero to none. So fans should get back to waiting for news about Bond 25.

Halle Berry Jinx James Bond Die Another DayThe one positive thing if this Bond Cinematic Universe were to ever magically happen would be the chance for them to create a female 00 agent movie and they could finally put an end to that ‘change James Bond to a woman’ nonsense that occasionally comes up. I have no idea why anyone would think that’s a good idea.

Then they could build a unique, strong, compelling female secret agent character from the ground up instead of just doing a gender swap on the main guy. Maybe they could even manage to make her more interesting a character than Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson. That shouldn’t be too hard though.

So what do you think? Should the James Bond films expand into a giant Cinematic Universe? What are the pros and cons of it if it were to ever happen? And say if it were definitely going to happen, which Bond characters would you want to see star in their own solo movie adventures?

7 thoughts on “A James Bond Cinematic Universe – Is It A Good Idea?

  1. I’ll file this rumour in the section marked “Jinx and Wei Lin movie proposal”.

    The Marvel and DC superhero universes are an attempt to make cinematic sense out of decades of comic book mess. It doesn’t work for Bond because there isn’t a mess to straighten out, no multiple characters and protagonists to team up and no reason to boost one title by injecting the presence of another into the story. We follow Bond, in both the novels and the movies, we don’t follow Bond and not a whole slew of other characters who all have their own book series. The only other fictional spy who I would consider worthy to grace a Bond story it would be Len Deighton’s Harry Palmer. The spy who was created as a reaction to Bond would, strangely, not look out of place popping up in a Bond story. He’d remind Bond that he’s just as effective an agent in his woefully underfunded M.I.5 branch.

    As for Bond being made female or even black….this comes from a school of thought which thinks that it’s not enough to create a character from the ground up but instead take down the white male character because it is white and male. It’s an argument made on political and not artistic grounds.

  2. A Bond cinematic universe: Hell NO! Before Craig came along, the Bond movies were, as you said, the total anthesis of sequel and follow ups. Quantum of Solace at the time sounded like a good idea, a sequel to a Bond film, but it was a disaster (and that was more due to the hasty rewrites) With Skyfall I was really hoping a fresh start and total abandonment of the sequel idea, but SPECTRE, put paid to that idea. As much as I can digest the idea of Craig’s films being one connecting story, for pity’s sake make it work. Blofeld being Bond’s big stepbrother was just a joke.

    I personally think that spin off films will be bad for the series and will make a mockey of Bond jumping onto the cinematic universe band wagon. Let the father of the modern action hero be the odd one out and be proud of it. Despite the strong characters that are now housed in MI6, let them continue to shine through the Bond films. However having said that I would love to see faithful adaptations of the Bond novels brought to streaming service like Netflix. With streaming becoming the norm faithful adaptations that could take up 5 plus episodes does seem more plausable.

    1. “However having said that I would love to see faithful adaptations of the Bond novels brought to streaming service like Netflix. With streaming becoming the norm faithful adaptations that could take up 5 plus episodes does seem more plausable.”

      Now there’s an idea.

      I like it. Definitely gives the Bond character room to breathe.

      And would be in the latest popular medium. Internet television.

  3. Given Hollywood’s difficulty in making a good (singular) movie these days, a movie universe is always a terrible idea.

  4. The cinematic universe idea did make me groan pretty hard. Everybody understands that a key piece of Bonds endurance is the ability to adapt, but it wont work if the core is compromised, meaning the centrality of Bond.

    However, I think there are few cues from cinematic universe trends the Bond could use. Im not really talking of MCU, but more like John Wick. I always have adored bond movies, but Ive always wanted to have a clearer idea of bonds worlds functions. How MI6 and double 0 section actually operate and who are the other agents. What kind of criminal organizations and massive power players really exist in the world and how are they connected. What kind of contacts and allies Bond has around the world. These things have been implied in the Bond series before, but the idea could be pushed further.

    Traditionally Bonds world is more like set of story and set principles (beautiful location, women, cars, villains), so the world doesn’t really feel alive. If the elements are pushed further the world could turn into something that we genuinely return to rather than acquaint ourselves with a new but same one in every film.

  5. Nobody gives a damn about Moneypenny, Q, Felix etc. unless they are assisting Bond. They have no real personality other than “on the same screen as Bond sometimes.” I can’t imagine why anyone would want to see them in their own films.

  6. Continuity never really worked in James Bond novels, trying it in film has always been a fools errand. It is interesting that the closest parallel to the James Bond series in terms of structure is he even longer running franchise, Godzilla films.

    Each film is a self contained narrative with no relation to prior films. Changes of the appearance of the main character is pretty much accepted and without bothering to explain (it is far harder to keep reusing 100 pound latex suits over and over again than British actors). Also much like Godzilla films, nobody is really emotionally invested in the supporting characters to any degree.

    The MCEU only works because of the heavy production schedule of Disney Studios. It’s virtually impossible to imitate and foolish for all but the largest studios to even attempt.

    The Bond Franchise has worked for so long by not taxing the memories of its fans with backstory. It’s not broke, doesn’t need to be fixed.

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