Bond 26: the next James Bond movie

Reporting the latest news on Bond 26 and debunking the rumours on the next 007 movie. 

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Spanning six decades and 25 exhilarating films, the James Bond series continues to captivate audiences with its seamless blend of heart-pounding action, gripping espionage, and timeless allure. With the release of  No Time to Die now just a memory, Bond fans eagerly await any kind of update on Bond 26.

Key questions dominate discussions: When will the next James Bond be announced? And who will be the next actor to play 007?

Well, we can’t answer those questions. But we can separate the fact from the fiction, reporting on rumours only when they appear to contain a semblance of truth, or to debunk them outright.

What we know

Currently little is known about Bond 26. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson are notoriously shy of publicity and do few interviews. And in the few they have done recently they have said very little. Back in 2022 though, she offered a few meagre pointers when talking to the media on a number of different occasions.

There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away.

Barbara Broccoli, June 2022

Director: TBA

Screenplay: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade *

Producers: Barbara Broccoli & Michael G Wilson *

Cinematography: TBA

Production Designer: TBA

Costume Designer: TBA

James Bond: TBA

Production start: 2024 at the earliest. 2025+ more likely.

Release date: TBA

* Broccoli has said that she expects Purvis and Wade to be involved early in the writing process. That assumes Eon Productions holds on to its share of the Bond film rights. If Wilson retires they may instead decide to sell up to Amazon.

Latest Bond 26 news

Below are the three latest stories on Bond 26. More stories are at the bottom of the page.

 

When will Bond 26 be released?

Bond 26 is “going to be a couple of years off”, according to Broccoli in 2022. That’s a pretty vague statement and would imply it goes into production in 2024 at the earliest. Eon won’t announce a firm Bond 26 release date until there is some real movement on the film, but Broccoli’s statement would mean Bond 26 in 2025 at the very earliest.

However, Broccoli has repeatedly said no work had yet been done, making a 2025 release unlikely.

While Amazon might wish to speed things up and apply pressure on Eon to move faster, Sony also tried the same thing to no avail. Eon works as fast as Eon works.

What can we expect from Bond 26?

The producers need to work out what they want to do with the series after Daniel Craig. Much in the way they decided to steer the films in a different direction following Die Another Day, they are going through a similar process now.

Craig’s films were much grittier than what went before. While it’s not true that they have no humour they did move away with the more light-hearted tone of Pierce Brosnan’s films and de-emphasised the gadgets. Will they decide to make the films more light-hearted again? Or at least less serious. That’s a decision for the producers right now.

No Time to Die saw the death of James Bond, so we also need to see how they resolve that problem. We’ll talk about that below, but the filmmakers do have a number of different potential solutions.

Who will be cast as the new 007?

Only after they have decided what the series is going to look like going forward will they have an idea of what type of actor they need for the lead role. They will cast a new actor to play James Bond based on his own strengths, depending on the direction and tone of the new films.

They are also likely to pick a director before selecting a new James Bond, as they did with Casino Royale in 2005. In February 2005 Eon Productions announced the next film was to be Casino Royale and would be directed by  Martin Campbell. Daniel Craig was announced as the new 007 in October the same year.

Broccoli also said that playing James Bond is a 10 or 12 year commitment. Based on Eon’s current output that would likely equate to three films, although speaking with The Empire Film Podcast, she said four or five films.

If Eon was aiming for a 2025 release we would have expected a director to be in place by the end of 2023 with a director announcement in early 2024. On that timetable we would expect a new actor to be announced in late 2024. There’s been some wild speculation about directors but given that there is no evidence to support these claims a 2025 release looks unlikely.  

Who will write Bond 26?

Broccoli has said that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are likely to be hired initially to work on the next film. Screenplays are almost always collaborative so they are unlikely to be the only writers involved. New writers are often hired to sort out specific script problems, such as dialogue or structure.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge was brought in quite late to work on No Time to Die and there have been reports that Eon would like to work with her in the future. Tabloids reported that she was in the running for director, but that never made any sense as she lacks directing experience. She later denied the tabloid rumour, saying that she had only ever directed a music video – weirdly enough, for the song Savior Complex by Phoebe Bridgers. She does have experience as a writer, actress and producer though.

What other crew members can we expect?

There are a number of crew members who are part of the Bond family who are likely to be involved on Bond 26. Chris Corbould is known for his expertise in creating and coordinating practical effects, stunts, and action sequences for the Bond films. Debbie McWilliams has been the casting director beginning with Goldeneye and throughout the Daniel Craig era. Her role involves selecting actors for various roles, including the all important starring role, and shaping the ensemble cast for each film. Given her experience with 007 it is likely she’ll return. And Daniel Kleinman’s longstanding involvement and creative impact on the James Bond franchise means he is likely to bring his visionary talent to create the title sequences for Bond 26.

On the other hand there are a few unknowns too. Dennis Gassner worked as production designer on Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and SPECTRE. However, Mark Tildesley was brought in by Danny Boyle for No Time to Die and remained on board after Boyle left the project it is possible he will be asked back. And the position of costume designer has been a revolving door over the last few films, with long term costume designer Lindy Hemming giving way to Louise Frogley for Quantum of Solace, Jany Temime holding the reigns for Skyfall and SPECTRE, and Suttirat Larlarb taking over in No Time to Die. It’s difficult to predict what will happen there. And no cinematographer will be chosen until a director is on board.

While many fans applauded the decision for Hans Zimmer to provide the music for No Time to Die, others were unimpressed by his rather generic action score with the use of cues written by John Barry and David Arnold. He came on board late after Dan Romer left due to creative differences.

Anyway, we’ll take a look at all this in more detail and some other things to consider in the article below.

Casting the next James Bond

With the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007, the time has come for a new actor to bring their unique style to the iconic role.

Bond 26 will see a new actor selected to play James Bond

The casting of James Bond is always a highly anticipated event. Media, particularly in the UK, frequently publishes articles on potential new Bond actors, often suggesting established Hollywood stars such as Tom Hardy or Idris Elba.

However, it’s crucial to remember that media reports about casting rumours are usually unreliable. These stories are often designed to generate page views for advertising rather than provide accurate information. This can lead to periods of excitement within the fan community, soon followed by confusion and disappointment. For example, in March 2024, tabloids claimed that Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Cillian Murphy were in line for the role, but these reports did not materialise.

In reality, the search for the next James Bond is unlikely to begin in earnest until the script and story direction are well defined.

When will the next James Bond be announced ?

To understand when a new actor will be selected it is helpful to have an idea of where Bond 26 actually is. Broadly film production falls into three distinct phases:

  1. Pre-production
  2. Principal photography
  3. Post-production

And right now Bond 26 is firmly in that first stage. Pre-production can be broken down further:

  • Concept Development
  • Financing and Budgeting
  • Hiring Key Personnel
  • Script Breakdown and Storyboarding
  • Location Scouting
  • Casting
  • Production Design and Art Department Preparations
  • Scheduling and Planning
  • Technical Preparations
  • Rehearsals and Final Preparations

It’s important to note that these pre-production stages are not strictly sequential, especially as principal photography approaches. Let’s look at some of these stages and why they are important to casting a new Bond actor:

Concept Development: the initial idea or story outline is created and then developed into a screenplay, detailing the plot, characters, dialogues, and settings. The production is unable to progress until this has reached an advanced stage.

Hiring Key Personnel: Eon Productions has several regulars in its core team but other key personnel need to be brought in, including the director. As well as the producers and director the core team consists of the casting director, screenwriter(s), director of photography and production designer.

Casting: this is the critical bit. The producers and director would outline the qualities they seek in the new Bond as well as the other key roles. This includes physical appearance, age range, charisma, acting ability, and the ability to perform stunts.

It is quite possible that Eon has a list of potential Bond actors but now the search begins in earnest. The casting director compile a list of potential actors from which the producers and director shortlist a number to invite for screen tests. These might involve delivering classic Bond lines, performing in action scenes, and showcasing their range in different types of scenes. Actors might also perform scenes with other key characters to test on-screen chemistry, particularly with female leads or recurring characters.

So, the next James Bond actor won’t be announced until the concept for Bond 26 has been developed and a script written, key personnel have been hired, including the director, and the casting director has begun a search in earnest.

Always take any unconfirmed reports with a grain of salt and always remember the director must be in place before an actor is selected.

The James Bond Dossier will help sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to reports in the media on any aspect of Bond 26. Nevertheless, the speculation surrounding the next Bond actor adds to the excitementfor the upcoming film.

Resolving Bond’s death

At the end of No Time to Die, James Bond finally met his demise, leaving fans wondering how the franchise would continue. Despite this ending, the credits promised, “James Bond Will Return!”

Bond 26 needs to get around James Bond's death in No Time to Die

The death of James Bond presents a unique challenge for the franchise, as the series has never before had to deal with the death of its main character.

Options for handling Bond’s death

As Bond 26 approaches, several options are on the table for the franchise’s future direction. One straightforward option is to ignore the events of No Time to Die and introduce the new James Bond in a standalone adventure. Another possibility is to reboot Bond again, exploring how he became the iconic spy. Although this is less likely given the recent Daniel Craig arc, both options would place the new 007 in a different universe and timeline from Craig’s Bond.

A less conventional approach could involve introducing a new character who takes on the mantle of James Bond, possibly as a relative or protégé of the original character, aligning with the “code name theory.” Alternatively, flashbacks or dream sequences could be used to resolve Bond’s death, offering a different perspective on his adventures. Another option is to reveal that Bond never died, although this would create continuity challenges for the series.

Whatever solution is chosen, it will be fascinating to see how the filmmakers navigate this challenge and elevate the franchise with Bond 26.

A new direction

Bond 26 heralds a turning point for the franchise, offering a chance to explore new narratives and themes. While the hallmark blend of action, espionage, and glamour has defined the series, this instalment presents an opportunity for filmmakers to introduce innovative elements and potentially shift in tone.

Bond 26 is likely to see another reinvention of the Bond films

The filmmakers could return to the style of the pre-Daniel Craig era, focusing on classic elements such as high-stakes espionage and larger-than-life action set pieces. Alternatively, they might continue the more grounded, character-driven approach begun with Craig’s films, exploring Bond’s personal life and relationships in greater depth. A combination of these approaches is also possible, incorporating new elements like advanced technology or global politics to keep the franchise fresh and relevant. The producers have always been willing to reinvent the franchise when necessary.

During the Daniel Craig era, the films leaned towards a more serious and grounded tone. Depending on the new actor chosen, the tone might shift to a more light-hearted approach or blend both styles. The choice of tone will significantly influence the film’s overall feel and shape the future of the franchise.

The direction chosen for the franchise is crucial, as it will set the course for the James Bond series for years to come. Filmmakers must carefully consider what direction will entertain audiences while maintaining the legacy of the James Bond franchise. The future of the series rests on their ability to strike the right balance and create a film that appeals to both die-hard fans and new audiences.

Changes at the top

As we look ahead to Bond 26, questions about its production and leadership linger. For years, Eon Productions, led by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, has guided the franchise. However, Wilson, who turned 80 in 2021, has openly discussed the physical toll the films have taken on him.

Wilson’s contributions to the franchise are significant. His involvement since Goldfinger and various roles, including as a writer, have left an indelible mark. It’s natural for him to consider a smaller role or retirement, a decision he has certainly earned. However, the impact of his potential departure on Barbara Broccoli remains uncertain.

Wilson and Broccoli have been the driving force behind every film since Goldeneye, showcasing a remarkable partnership. While Broccoli often represents the face of Eon, the dynamics behind the scenes may change without Wilson’s presence.

There may be contingency plans, such as Wilson’s son Gregg assuming a more prominent role, but Michael G Wilson stepping back from Eon Productions carries significant implications. This could affect Bond 26 and shape the future direction of the entire series.

Bond 26 will be the first in the series to be made after Amazon's acquisition of MGM

Adding complexity, there’s the possibility of Broccoli and Wilson deciding to sell their Bond interests. With Amazon’s acquisition of MGM in 2022, the streaming giant now holds a 50% stake in the franchise, making it a likely candidate for a potential purchase. Amazon’s entry as the new owner would bring substantial consequences for the future of the James Bond franchise.

As a corporate powerhouse with vast resources, Amazon has the financial capability to buy out Eon Productions. They also have the potential to steer the franchise into new territories. However, new ownership brings fresh creative and business objectives, which could lead to significant changes in production, marketing, and distribution. This departure from Eon’s established approach would undoubtedly impact the franchise profoundly.

Any shifts in ownership or leadership within Eon Productions will send ripples throughout the James Bond franchise. The films’ tone, style, and direction could all undergo transformations, as well as the marketing strategies and release schedule of future instalments. The precise implications and the release date of Bond 26 remain uncertain, adding to the intrigue and anticipation surrounding the film.

Final thoughts

As Bond 26 approaches, the James Bond franchise faces pivotal decisions that will shape its future. Choosing a new actor for the legendary role, addressing Bond’s demise, and determining the creative direction will significantly influence its path forward. These choices are crucial, impacting the series for years.

Despite the challenges, there’s a buzz of excitement and anticipation around Bond 26. Fans eagerly await the announcement of the new James Bond, the resolution of the character’s death, and the direction the franchise will take. The future holds great potential, sparking enthusiasm among fans.

Throughout its history, the James Bond franchise has been a beloved fixture in cinema. Its mix of action, espionage, and allure has captivated audiences for generations. With Bond 26, the franchise has a chance to uphold this legacy and reach new heights. Whether it honours the classic Bond formula or explores a new direction, the future of the James Bond franchise promises excitement, intrigue, and an unforgettable journey.


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No Time to Die | James Bond Will Return

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.


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