The fate of the James Bond franchise is back in familiar hands, at least as far as the script is concerned. After the departure of director Danny Boyle, who abandoned the still unnamed Bond 25 for so-called “creative differences,” producers have apparently decided to abandon the film’s current script as well. That script had been written by Boyle and regular collaborator John Hodge, but given that Boyle is no longer around to direct it, producers have brought back in a familiar Bond duo—Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. The two have had a hand in some capacity on almost every Bond film since The World is Not Enough in 1999. According to The Guardian, the two had completed an original treatment for Bond 25, which was set aside when the studio decided to go with Boyle’s script. The original Purvis and Wade script will now be fully written.
Obviously, this means further setbacks in terms of the film’s timeline, and the 2020 release has already been postponed. The film, which is meant to be star Daniel Craig’s last go-round as super spy James Bond, has been somewhat shrouded in mystery, especially from a casting perspective. In particular, it hasn’t been clear who was meant to play this entry’s villain—some outlets speculated that Boyle was angry that his choice for the role, Tomasz Kot, was not greenlit by producers, but other sources disagree. Things were complicated earlier this week when Wonder Woman and Kite Runner actor Said Taghmaoui said in an interview that he had previous been cast by Danny Boyle in the part.
“I’m supposed to do the next James Bond, playing the lead bad guy,” Taghmaoui said to Abu Dhabi publication The National. “I was cast by Danny Boyle, and just now he left the project, so of course there’s some uncertainty.”
One would think that if Bond 25 was now getting an entirely different script from anything Boyle intended, that would likely leave no place for Taghmaoui, unless Purvis and Wade’s new script is informed by Boyle’s old one.
Also unknown, and obviously important, is who will actually direct this Bond installment, which will no doubt be intended as a tentpole blockbuster. As it is with the likes of Star Wars, the responsibility is a heavy one.