James Bond:
Into the Bondiverse.

 Film  No Time To Die is by far my favourite of the Bond films starring Daniel Craig and perhaps the Bond I've enjoyed the most since The World Is Not Enough.  Completing the narrative arc for this version of the character, it has some absolutely spectacular action sequences and an incredibly appealing story.  On top of that it has a genuine wit with Craig demonstrating his dry comedic abilities more than any of the previous instalments; if Casino Royale felt like it was on the coattails of Bourne, this has something of the comradeship of the M:I series.

At the end of the credits, we're told James Bond will return, and of course he will, but part of me wishes that he wouldn't.  Or at least we'd be gifted a series of spin-off films with Lashana Lynch's new 007 working with this M, Q and Moneypenny aided by Ana de Armas's Paloma in the Felix Leiter role alongside whatever reboot MGM et al have in store.  There's no need for a "Jane Bond" or whatever.  Rest the role for a bit and continue the franchise with this new family of characters, preferably scripted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  If not on film, a TV series would do.

But how does this iteration of Bond fit within the overall franchise?  Forgive me if I'm betraying my ignorance with any of the following, but the Broccolis have always seemed to have been a bit ambiguous as to the relationship between the different Bonds.  In some cases the intention seems to be that its all the same continuity just with different actors in the role, with continuity references such as Moore visiting his dead wife's grave in For Your Eyes Only and the same M, Q and Moneypenny continuing through different versions.  But were does that leave Dench's M, who straddled Bronsan and Craig?

The idea of "James Bond" being a codename passed down from agent to agent like M and Q and with Moneypenny as the precedent has never sat will with me because of those continuity elements.  I mean I suppose he could also be a Time Lord but that would be quite the (quantum) leap.  As this superb article about continuity explains, producer Michael G. Wilson has said "that the Bond films weren't one big film series but rather a "series of series."  That article suggests that there are perhaps two fictional universes, whatever happens between Dr No and Die Another Day and then Casino Royale onwards.  

I'd go further than that.  Each of the different Bonds happen in alternate realities, that there are various different continuities with their own internal consistent narrative.  In some realities, M, Q and Moneypenny look the same.  In others they don't.  When Moore visits his wife's grave it's because in his universe, he experienced a version of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and that also explains any other call backs.  His Moneypenny looks older because he joined the service later than Connery.  Similarly the Dench version of M who appears with Brosnan is a different person to the one who worked with Craig.

This isn't a new idea.  The Redditor who fairly comprehensively demonstrated that Connery's character in The Rock is supposed to Bond also suggests each Bond actor's tenure as being a story in its own continuity, with Casino Royale being the only time Eon 'officially' rebooted it on screen (they also note that as far as Connery was concerned he was playing Bond in The Rock).  I'd also add that the various literary Bonds and other portrays are part of this prism of endless possibilities as will whatever new version of the character crops up next (and I can't even imagine what that looks like).

Does any of this matter?  No.  But thinking of them as separate continuities will probably make them easier to watch or read with a modern sensibility attuned to franchises with rich mythology.  So there are six different James Bond series, five reboots in total.  With that being the case, perhaps it is time to either rest the character or as I've been hoping for years, to produce fidelity adaptations of the original novels and short stories, set in period, remaking where necessary.  Although I admit doing another Casino Royale right now would be tricky...

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