Here's my pitch for the next James Bond movie:
Set Bond 26 in the Daniel Craig continuity--that is, after the events of No Time to Die, James Bond is dead. This will require some fancy footwork from EON productions . . .
First, open with the classic John Barry/Monty Norman theme over the gun barrel opening. Only this time, the unseen assassin whose point of view we share is not slain by Bond stepping into his sights. Instead, the usual blank expanse the assassin initially sees is interrupted not by Bond, but by a British-looking man in cold weather gear, and that blank white expanse is actually a giant ice floe. The assassin shoots, and the man in cold weather gear, who we will later discover is 002, falls, soaking the snow and ice with spreading blood.
Then, transition to the usual pre-credits teaser.
M, Q, Moneypenny, Bill Tanner, Felix Leiter, all played by the same actors as in No Time to Die, attend James Bond's closed-casket funeral. There's a lovely, flower-framed portrait of Daniel Craig as Bond at the graveside. This scene exists specifically so that the marketing team can act as though Craig is back as Bond for one last, surprise appearance. "James Bond Is Back in . . . DIE AND DIE AGAIN."
As the funeral ends and the supporting characters offer their final goodbyes to Bond, M gets a call on his secure line. After a moment, his features transform from sorrowful to grim; he hangs up.
"SPECTRE," he says. He's clearly just received the bad news about 002.
The main credits begin. It is the usual spectacle of half-naked women, stylized violence, and instruments of death set against an evocative, bombastic pop song by Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga or The Weeknd. Tumbling precious metals and glittering gemstones will also be featured, along with, of course, Bond's tombstone:
After the opening credits, we find M and Bill Tanner in M's office, looking glum.
"002. 0011. 008. 005. 006..." Bill Tanner says in disbelief.
"To lose 007 was bad enough. To lose all of the double-Os...like this..." M answers.
"At least 004 was able to inform us of SPECTRE's plans before she died."
"Yes," M replies. "Seventeen hydrogen bombs in SPECTRE's claws, to be used to melt both ice caps and drown the world's coasts, a catastrophe of..."
He trails off.
"Just get our very best on it, Tanner. Every qualified agent we have.
The rest of the film is a low-key spy procedural. We're treated to two solid hours of competent but unassuming men and women solving problems methodically, with nary a chase scene and a minimum of violence.
Back at MI6, with most of SPECTRE's infrastructure and connections disassembled and their plot thwarted, M and Tanner philosophize about recent events.
"Do you think it was a mistake, sir? The double-O program? This mission went off without a hitch--no civilian deaths, dozens of SPECTRE agents brought to justice, minimal property damage..."
"That's not for us to judge, Bill," M says. "We saw the double-Os die. Ending the program would be like seeing them die again..."
Fade to end titles. And after the credits roll...
But... but... but... (spoiler alert)
SPECTRE got wiped out by Dr. Obruchev's Heracles device. And HERE LIES BOND is going to be difficult to believe unless MI5 went back to Safin's island after the fact with tweezers, magnifying glass, and a zip-lock bag.
Meh, SPECTRE always finds a way to come back, and I was trying to suggest a closed casket, symbolic burial. But you're right, the gravestone should probably not say "HERE LIES," as that suggests the literal.
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