John Logan, who is one of the writers who have worked on the screenplay for the just-about-to-go-into-production Bond 23, has hinted as much in a recent appearance in London while speaking at one of the British Film Institute’s “Screenwriter Lectures” series. WhatCulture reports –
Rather interestingly, during the talk last night Logan was reminded by an audience member of a quote that he said some ten years ago that, in his opinion, “Bond should always fight Blofeld”. When pressed on this he gave a wry smile and said “Bond should always fight Blofeld”.
So was Logan dropping an obvious hint or just putting out a bit of misinformation to conceal the screenplay’s real surprises?
Although he only appeared in three of Ian Fleming’s original Bond novels, Blofeld made appearances in six of the Bond franchise films, seven if you the ersatz Never Say Never Again.
As leader of SPECTRE (the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), Blofeld has crossed swords with Bond on several occasions. He has been portrayed by the likes of Donald Pleasance, Charles Gray and Telly Savalas. His most notable and notorious appearance was in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service when he and henchwoman Irma Bunt brutally murder Bond’s hours-old wife Tracy.
Now granted, there conceivably is room in the upcoming Bond film for the character, should the producers choose to use him. The terrorist organization Quantum that Bond has been slowly uncovering since the franchise rebooted with Daniel Craig in the role still hasn’t had its leader revealed. And Quantum does feel like a modernized version of the SPECTRE terrorist group that Blofeld ran in the older films.
The problem with this, though, is the convoluted, real-life legal wranglings surrounding the Blofeld character. At the heart of the problem lay a question of who actually created Blofeld and SPECTRE and who owned the rights to the character. Both had their origins in a James Bond film project titled Thunderball that pre-dated 007’s first cinematic appearance in 1961’s Dr. No. When that project fell through, Flemming went on to use much of the material he felt he developed for the film in the novel Thunderball, causing the aborted project’s producer Kevin McClory to sue. The lawsuit was settled out of court and McClory held onto certain rights that allowed him to team with the Bond franchise’s producers for the 1965 adaption of Thunderball. McClory also tried numerous times to remake Thunderball or use the rights to launch a competing Bond franchise, though the only time he was successful was with 1983’s Never Say Never Again.
Even though McClory passed away in 2006 and MGM now owns the distribution rights for Never Say Never Again, it appears as if there is still some question as to who may own the rights that McClory claimed. As such, I tend to doubt that Logan was dropping any real hint so much as he was just winding up fans.
Of course, this doesn’t preclude that the film’s villain, to be played by Javier Bardem, couldn’t be modeled after Blofeld. As I noted before, the Quentum organization is similar to the old SPECTRE organization, so why not continue the parallel by giving it a leader who may have a passing similarity to the character?
Bond 23 is set to be directed by Sam Mendes from a script written by Logan and Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. Joining Craig in the cast are Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris.