15 September 2019

Bond 26 Leak

After Daniel Craig actually steps away from the role, for realz this time, following the 2020 release of Bond 25, the producers are going to need to come up with a new Bond — and new international conspiracies to fight. In the past, they've had one, but it's obsolete (all too much like British intelligence/counterintelligence primacy, even without considering Brexit).

From Russia With Love (1963)First, of course, there was the SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion, better known as SPECTRE. Starting with From Russia With Love (1963), during the Connery phase, SPECTRE was in essence an evil multinational corporation before knowledge of multinational corporations had really sunk in to popular culture. After all, in 1963 English automobile manufacturers were owned in England (and made their Minis there), almost everyone took the Royal Navy seriously as an instrument for worldwide power projection, and fixed exchange rates meant that Sterling was still a widely accepted reserve currency. SPECTRE had several chairpeople over the years, ranging from the forgettable Morzeny (pictured here) onward. One unifying thread, though, has been that the putative head of SPECTRE has seldom been the actual, direct villain with whom Bond interacts. In From Russia With Love, Bond is primarily concerned not with Morzeny, but with Grant; similarly, in the most-recent outing, Bond's direct adversary was less "Blofeld" (his "brother") than it was Moriarty Fleabag's latest lust interest C. But SPECTRE today is a tired, and indeed insufficient, adversary for a social-media-age Bond. The attempts to make SPECTRE a creature of contemporary information culture, constant kneejerk communications, and engagement with not just governments but with everyone, have failed. Even the name is inappropriate, because it refers to something that's purely imaginary.

For franchise credibility, there needs to be a new overarching organization of selfishness and villainy for the twenty-first century. Fortunately, the real world has provided a much more credible, much more menacing villainous organization, with an acronym that refers to a real threat:


Zuckerberg walking in to evade questions from the US Senate, 10 Apr 2018which sounds much more threatening. Unfortunately, one obvious actor for portraying this member of FAANG's Central Committee has already played a Bond villain — Andrew Scott's appearance, ability to sneer, and skill at portraying narcissistic opportunism underneath a not-very-thick-or-opaque veneer of projected earnestness mixed with nerdishness, have been preempted by his performance as C in 2015's Spectre… and a repeat performance (so to speak) from Jesse Eisenberg would be too unsubtle for even a Bond film. No matter; there are other possibilities, and a distinctly white-male-obscenely-wealthy-and-American villain representing US-based tech giants Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and/or Google is probably more appropriate anyway.

We already know (or at least infer) that will require a new Bond. Since Daniel Craig has already said he's leaving — and leaks indicate that the 007 moniker has already been passed on — the field is wide open. It should be someone who can handle suave, or at least socially smooth; who can play at someone engaging both in and against extralegal conspiracies; and, above all, who is credible portraying a high-powered player with information technology — both a hacker and an exploiter. I'd also like to see slightly more diversity. So here's one possibility; there are certainly others (such as, at least potentially, the Bond-25 007, but there's little market data on or critical/media evaluation of her performance yet!). I sort of like this one because Parker would be an interesting 21st-century take on a Bond girl.

Standard Poodle (no apologies to J.K. Rowling, because HER Fang is a complete coward)That still leaves portraying the putative chair of FAANG. Inspired by a neighborhood dog of that name and breed, I offer this possibility. Which, frankly, is more threatening in appearance than the original Blofeld… or, for that matter, Zuckerberg (or Cook, or Bezos, or Hastings, or…).

No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to sync all of your social media accounts.