Although it is now well over fifty years old, the James Bond films are always set in the contemporary, present day: when each film comes out, the narrative and setting always reflects the period when it was made. I was just out on one of my exploratory rolls, though, when I had a thought: would it be interesting/cool if that changed? Ian Fleming’s books are set in the cold war era of the fifties and sixties, so perhaps it’s time for 007 to go back to his roots. The next Bond film, No Time To Die, has already finished shooting; that will apparently be Daniel Craig’s last film before another actor takes over the role, so might that present the franchise with an opportunity for a change of tack?
After all, we live in highly politicised, heated times; to continue setting Bond in the present would mean invoking some of the controversies we are currently going through. If I was a producer of these films, I would want to avoid that at all cost for fear of offending one political group or another. Bond works for the uk government, though, so how could they not mention Brexit? It would surely feel like the film was avoiding the biggest elephant in the room ever. The moment you do so, though, you enter a minefield, risking accusations of the franchise becoming a political tool for one side or the other, and thus a lot of negative publicity.
The obvious way out, it seems to me, would be to re-set Bond in the fifties or sixties. The next few films could then be period pieces. Of course, it would mean a change of tone for the films, but this way, they could avoid having to enter into contemporary political debates. Or rather, they could still comment on them, but more covertly and allegorically. With Russian meddling in both the Brexit Referendum and 2016 American election now undeniable, it’s pretty obvious that the Cold War hasn’t really ended. What better way to comment on this new phase of it than to make a film about the first? It would be far more subtle, yet avoid Bond becoming entangled in contemporary political divisions.