Hold on tight – the 007 rumour roller-coaster for Bond 25 has already started! The British newspaper the Sunday Mirror (30th July) has claimed, in what it calls an ‘exclusive’, that the next James Bond movie, number 25 in the franchise, will be based on 007 continuation author Raymond Benson’s ‘1999 novel’ Never Dream of Dying, and that the working title for the new film (which is not released until 2019) is Shatterhand.
The name ‘Shatterhand’, of course, was the cover name used by Ernst Stavro Blofeld as he hid in his Japanese castle in Ian Fleming’s novel You Only Live Twice (1964), and it has become a popular title among Bond aficionados and in fan forums. The red-top newspaper also claims that the new movie will see 007 battling a ‘blind supervillain’, and alleges that cinemagoers will see the return of both Christoph Waltz and Dave Bautista (who had key roles in Spectre).
Benson’s novel opens with a police raid on a French movie studio that goes badly wrong, and involves an actress with a ‘sordid past’.
A ‘source’ apparently told the Sunday Mirror: ‘Bond scriptwriters feel it could be the perfect follow-up to Spectre. They are hoping to film in Croatia next year’. The ‘insider’ is also alleged to have said that the Bond producers were ‘furious’ when a local Mayor revealed that EON had been scouting locations in Croatia, including the lovely coastal tourist spot of Dubrovnik. Written by showbiz editor Halina Watts, the Sunday Mirror’s ‘exclusive’ also claims that other possible locations for Bond 25 will be the south of France and Japan.
A major word of warning should be attached to all this. There is no way any of this can be verified. In fact, many things about the so-called ‘exclusive’ should be treated with the utmost caution.
For a start, Never Dream of Dying was published in 2001, not ‘1999’. It’s a trivial point in one sense, but a good journalist should always strive for accuracy. And, frankly, much of the information in the story could very easily have been cut-and-pasted from a variety of Bond fan websites, in a blatant bid to cash in on the official EON news release about Bond 25 which appeared last week.
The only thing perhaps (with a strong emphasis on ‘perhaps’) worth taking seriously at this very early stage of the Bond 25 cycle is the possibility of a single word title. ‘Shatterhand’, we are sure, would be a very popular title indeed with Bond fans, as it is both a nice tribute to Fleming’s body of work and is also very catchy as a title. Moreover, it would be great for studio marketing purposes – studio executives today tend to prefer single word titles.
Mind you, while there may be some small grains of truth in the news report, it probably made hilarious reading for the official scriptwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade over their breakfast tables. Watch out for much more of this as we near 2018-19.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride, Mr. Bond. It will leave you both shattered and stirred.