James Bond set for Marvel-style cinematic universe
James Bond: John Barry on creating the theme music
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Brace for impact Bond fans, as whispers of a 007 universe are spreading through the internet like wildfire. Mega-deals, mergers and buyouts are becoming more and more frequent in Hollywood, and part of the appeal is the current landgrab for IPs. Amazon just closed on their deal with MGM to the tune of an eye-watering $8.5 billion and while it will give the streaming giant access to 4000 movies and 17,000 TV shows, James Bond stands alone ahead of the pack. Formerly the biggest franchise in cinema history, Amazon is reportedly set to expand it like never before with TV shows and spin-offs in a move that echoes Marvel’s path to Hollywood domination.
The Amazon Prime and MGM deal was first announced a year ago, and since then James Bond has been the main topic of conversation regarding it. Since the release of No Time To Die, the future of 007 has been especially unclear as it was Daniel Craig’s last outing as Britain’s best spy.
According to Variety, “there’s the potential that [the franchise] could be built out to include shows and other spinoffs,” though this is dependent on one major aspect.
The series has long been protected and managed by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson. As sovereigns of the franchise, any hopes of an expansive continuation fall to them. They have been the architects of Bond for years and there are no signs of that changing now.
Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations, said: “Hollywood is crazy over IP right now and Bond is one of the biggest ones there is. In order to unlock its true potential though, there need to be TV shows and other ancillary properties. Purists may not like that, but you know what, those purists are on their way out.”
That final statement is a damning assessment of how fans may take this news. Much like Star Wars, what was once considered an event-franchise that came rarely and signalled mass excitement, it is now an interconnected web of shows, animated projects and video games. There is no reason 007 won’t be the same.
Bond is uniquely placed for an expanded universe, as the established lore is almost tailor-made for it. The concept of multiple 00 agents running around the world and eventually meeting for missions is exactly how Marvel first established their solo films and team-up projects.
There is also the fact that Ian Fleming wrote more stories that focused on characters besides Bond that still connected to him. Take the Moneypenny Diaries, for example, a series of novels and short stories that focused on Miss Moneypenny, M’s personal secretary.
As seen in Skyfall, having Naomi Harris return to the field could be too good of an opportunity to pass up, or a new actress that wants to take the legendary role.
In previous films, audiences have met other 00’s such as Sean Bean’s 006 in 1995’s GoldenEye. This is all fertile ground for development and clearly Amazon Prime can see what these seeds can bring.
It isn’t just Bond that Amazon has acquired, as MGM held the rights to countless IPs including Rocky, Legally Blonde, The Pink Panther and Stargate. They also continually put out award-winning films and contenders such as the recently released Licorice Pizza, House of Gucci and Cyrano.
What the future means for the rest of these franchises remains to be seen, though it is a safe bet that many of them will be wheeled out again to snap up that good old legacy sequel money.
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