James Bond – A Franchise Restrained

James-bond-daniel-craigIt’s been nine month since the most recent James Bond film hit the theaters. Spectre continued Daniel Craig’s run as OO7 and like the time after Skyfall, speculation is running wild on whether Craig will return and if not, who will be the next Bond. Also, Eon Productions, the company that owns the film rights, is deciding which studio they will do their next movies with.

But I have a better question. Why are there no spin-offs? In 1997 Michelle Yeoh’s character Wai Li from Tomorrow Never Dies was popular enough that the producers started thinking about giving her a solo film. When that didn’t pan out, they were going to bring her back for Die Another Day in 2002. But Yeoh’s schedule won’t work and Halle Berry was added to the film as Jinx. Spin-off rumors began again with Berry, but once more nothing happened.

Why? Bond is an icon that is as recognizable as Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, yet he’s not being grown the way other franchises have been. Look at the Marvel movies. Two a year and growing. Star Wars is back and spin-offs like Rogue One and Han Solo are in the works. There is a framework in place to make multiple spin-offs and do a variety of genre stories. MI-6 has other operatives… that’s why Bond is OO7, there are other agents. The next Bond movie could have James working with two other agents in an almost Avengers like team-up and then give the two solo movies, creating two new franchises off of the original. A lot of people want Idris Elba to be the new Bond, fine with me… but you could also create a whole new character in the Bond world for him and let him grow that character to iconic levels.

And once you spin them off, you can take them in different directions. You go to see a James Bond movie, you expect certain things. But with a new agent you can do a heist film, or an undercover film, or even a Training Day thing.

Expanding the Bond Universe would allow the rights holders to start turning out films on a more frequent basis. And how cool would it be to see Daniel Craig and Idris Elba working together as agents with licenses to kill? The film rights for Bond are up and whoever Eon Productions goes with for the next round of movies, I hope they choose an ambitious studio that wants to expand the Bond Universe.

The Bond franchise is over 50 years old and has made 24 movies in that time. But since 2008, Marvel Studios has produced 13 films in a shared universe… in that same time we’ve had 3 Bond films. Robert Downey Jr. has suited up twice as many times as Craig in the last eight years.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.