Barbara Broccoli: Bond 26 “at least” 2 years from shooting

Bond producer says no actor selected as new James Bond until key decisions made.

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As we reported yesterday, Tuesday night saw Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson receive their BFI Fellowships at Claridges in London.

At the event Deadline spoke to Broccoli about progress on finding Daniel Craig’s replacement and the state of Bond 26. The short answer appears to be nothing much at all. “Nobody’s in the running”, she told Deadline before explaining where Eon is at:

We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. 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.

I don’t think there are any real surprises here. After No Time to Die it was obvious they needed to think of where the series is headed next, similar to the exercise they went through prior to Casino Royale. What is perhaps disappointing is that they don’t really appear to have spent much time doing that yet.

Some Bond fans believe Broccoli is bluffing and progress on Bond 26, or hiring a new actor, is more advanced than they let on.

But in fact no progress is entirely consistent with Eon’s recent MO. Some kind of long term planning would help enormously but why plan ahead when they can wing it? I believe Broccoli when she says Eon really hasn’t started work on the next film.

So given that they don’t know where the franchise is headed and unready to sign the next James Bond, it looks like we are in for a long wait. Broccoli says filming is “at least two years away”. That means the earliest shooting would start is 2024 for a 2025 release, assuming no delays thanks to directors departing or pandemics.

But note my emphasis in Broccoli’s statement. Eon is in no rush to make the next film. And those two years may stretch to three, four, or more.

Of course Eon isn’t the only party with a financial interest in a new film. The other of course is MGM’s new owner, Amazon. And we can’t even guess right now how eager they are for a new film. Are they happy to tag along and let Eon work at their own pace or do they want to push for more frequent films?

Pressure from Amazon may speed things up. But when Sony tried to go for a Bond film every two years Eon quickly pushed back. And with the studio execs backed by Eon now gone from Amazon, do Broccoli and Wilson want to be involved anyway?

It could be that James Bond’s next iteration isn’t under the stewardship of Broccoli and Wilson. If Michael G Wilson retires it is at the end of a long career with Bond. There is no shame in that. But as half of a producing partnership would Barbara Broccoli want to continue solo?

Many will read “at least two years” until the next Bond film starts filming and remember the last two words. But given the decisions that need to be made after Daniel Craig’s departure and the changes with MGM it seems a good idea to remember Broccoli’s words exactly. The are too many unknowns.

Thanks to Bill Koenig for tipping me off about this story.

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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