Warning: SPOILERS for No Time to Die.
Henry Cavill is a front-runner as the next James Bond, but if Eon decides to take the franchise in a radically different direction, he’s the perfect actor to take the lead role back to the past. As No Time to Die kills off James Bond in spectacular fashion, the series is now in the position to reboot itself for the second time, should its producers wish to. It can even confirm the long-debated James Bond code-name theory, should Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli decide to. Perhaps the best way to take the Bond series into a brand-new era is to take it back to its roots and literally transpose it into a different era: the 1960s.
The James Bond franchise starts out in 1962, with Dr. No, starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, and Joseph Wiseman. It then moves chronologically, presumably taking place around the year that the film was released – where Skyfall takes place around 2012, You Only Live Twice takes place around 1967, for example. Notably, 2015 sees the release of another spy film set in the 1960s, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This period piece based on the television series of the same name stars none other than Henry Cavill as its lead, Napoleon Solo. Cavill plays the character as a suave, Bondian spy (despite the character being American) who is constantly in conflict with his Russian counterpart, Illya Kuryakin.
As always, details on the next Bond film are very slim, and all audiences know is that “James Bond will return“. Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Regé-Jean Page, and Cavill himself are all favorites to play the iconic spy and replace Daniel Craig following his Bond’s explosive finale in No Time to Die. However, Cavill’s experience in playing a 1960s spy puts him in the unique position to lead a new series of Bond films set in the period of Sean Connery’s original Bond films. Of course, they would be in their own continuity, rebooting the franchise much like Casino Royale did in 2006. This rebooted franchise could take Bond back to his roots and bring back the beloved 60s charm and over-the-top gadgets without the earlier films’ more problematic elements.
The Next James Bond Needs To Be Different To Daniel Craig
Craig’s bond is introduced in Casino Royale as a brutal killer, so it would be nice to see the next James Bond return to his suave and campy roots, as established by actors like Sean Connery and Roger Moore. Though Craig’s Bond softens and opens up as his movies go on, he is best defined as a murderous spy first and a charming wit second. The next Bond would, of course, match the audience’s modern sensibilities – no sexism, racism, or generally poor behavior – but he could be more quippy, charming, and funny than any modern James Bond before him.
However, the next Bond would still retain a dark edge, as the character should. Actors like Piers Brosnan and Roger Moore, who generally portray more gentle Bonds, still display moments of brutality throughout their filmographies. Henry Cavill, Idris Elba, or whoever ends up portraying the next Bond must balance the two sides of Bond: the brutal killer and the charming gentleman. Both actors would undoubtedly do a stellar job in the role, but it’s Cavill that would best suit a 1960s reboot.
Why A 1960s Bond Would Be Better Than A Rebooted Origin
The James Bond franchise has two options post-Daniel Craig, but one is more exciting than the other. The series could soft-reboot, casting a new actor alongside fan-favorite side characters like Moneypenny (Naomi Harris), M (Ralph Fiennes), and Q (Ben Whishaw) without acknowledging the past films. However, the alternative would be to fully reboot the franchise once again, but with the added twist of sending James Bond back into the past. This not only makes it easier to once again directly adapt Ian Fleming’s novels, but it also has the potential for gorgeous films that channel the aesthetic of the 1960s, much like The Man From U.N.C.L.E and other films set in the 60s like Last Night in Soho do so well. If Eon is worried that the James Bond films may start to stagnate in their current form, rebooting the series in a radical way is a great way to keep things fresh.
Returning to the 1960s would also see the franchise return to its sillier, but altogether more fun, roots. Bond could again employ exploding pens and laser watches without any concern of having to account for realism. Of course, No Time to Die features such gadgets, but the filmmakers could once again be totally unrestricted, treating the 1960s like a fantastical land grounded only in the fictional world of Fleming’s novels, as opposed to the post-Bourne cinematic identity of modern James Bond, which is altogether more serious. Furthermore, setting new films in the 1960s could retcon some of the more undesirable social attitudes of the first few Bond films, such as the character’s latent misogyny and racism.
Henry Cavill Is A Perfect James Bond (For Another Time)
Henry Cavill is the perfect James Bond for a 1960s reboot, thanks to his charming personality and experience playing a suave 60s spy in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The actor has already proven his talent as a slightly campy, yet altogether likeable spy. However, he has also demonstrated his versatility and range as an actor, playing the savage monster killer Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher. Even as Geralt, he manages to remain likeable, particularly thanks to his grumpy persona and quick wit. Combining his portrayal of Napoleon Solo with elements of Geralt would create a Bond that focuses more on the characters’ penchant for vodka martinis than murderous rampages. Yet he’d still hold his own in a fight; preferably while employing Connery’s iconic judo chop.
It’s unlikely that Eon will choose to reboot the James Bond franchise when Bond 26 eventually releases. However, taking the character back to the 1960s could revitalize the series, and the presence of Henry Cavill would only make the hypothetical film more enjoyable. The actor seems born to play the role: he’s got the right look, the right experience, and he’s the right age. Cavill’s charming personality is ideal for Bond, but a Bond who harks back to the series’ roots without the problematic elements that come with Connery’s take on the character. He’d be the ideal pick for a Bond dealing with the Cold War, as well as a SPECTRE that is sillier and more fun than the one from Craig’s era. If James Bond is to return to the 1960s, let it be with Henry Cavill at the helm, with a martini, Walther PPK, and Aston Martin DB5 close at hand.
Next: Why No Time To Die Ends With All The Time In The World
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