The James Bond franchise has been going on for so long now that it’s started to look like an ever-changing monstrosity of different corporate influences, creative strategies, and leading men. But, in its current star Daniel Craig, its current, grittier creative direction, and its current co-financing deal between Sony Pictures and MGM, this series of spy films has seemed to have found a moment of stability; and a report from Bond-centric site MI6 says that a deal has been struck that will keep that stability going, at least for a little while longer.
The collaborative efforts between MGM, Sony, and Craig started with Casino Royale, lasted through Quantum of Solace, and are about to produce their third film in this November’s release, Skyfall. Which means that they’ve made the 21, 22, and 23 installments of the Bond franchise so far. While Sony and MGM’s deal currently only lasts through an eventual Bond 24, MI6 reports that Craig himself has now been contracted all the way through Bond 25, with hopes that he’ll still do more after.
The plan is to ramp up production on these James Bond adventures, putting out one every two years, and keeping Craig on the franchise so that he can eventually be known as the guy who’s played the character the most times. Currently, Roger Moore is in the lead by playing Bond seven times, Sean Connery is in second place by playing Bond six times (if you don’t count the unofficial Never Say Never Again), Pierce Brosnan has played him four times, Craig three, Timothy Dalton twice, and George Lazenby only once. If nothing happens to cut Craig’s current contract short, he’ll reach the end of his deal being behind only the two most iconic Bonds, Connery and Moore.
It’s not hard to imagine why Bond production company EON Productions and their studio partners would be so gung-ho about getting Craig to sign on for more films. Not only have his turns with the character done well so far, but after the mixed reviews and relative lack of excitement surrounding the Dalton and Brosnan eras, this franchise is in need of a solid, lengthy run of films featuring the same actor, before it starts looking less evergreen and more like it’s coasting off the legendary statuses of the Connery and Moore eras.
What do you think? If they’re able to maintain their current course and put out eight films featuring Craig’s grittier, more grounded interpretation of the James Bond character, could he eventually become known as the best Bond ever? Or is that all just a pipe dream on EON’s part, and after Bond 25 will they be looking to finally jumpstart Richard Ayoade’s era playing the character?