Time To Die for Bond? – Should Brands, Franchises and IP continue without the original creators?

Ian Fleming has been dead for many years, but his iconic espionage character James Bond has lived on through the eyes of multiple actors.

Daniel Craig has already filmed his last outing in Bond #25: No Time To Die. Presumably we’ll see this movie before the end of 2020, but with moves and delays, it might be 2021. Whenever that film debuts, should there be Bond #26 with another actor playing James Bond?

That’s a question that’s been asked after every Bond actor has left the franchise. When Sean Connery left and was replaced by Roger Moore (also for one film George Lazenby). Moore left, then Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and now, soon, Daniel Craig.

Bond will go on with another actor in the title role.

It’s an interesting question, though, how many iterations should continue before the purity of the character is completely compromised. Maybe that’s already happened. James Bond as Fleming originally conceived is dubiously relevant any more. Should they have kept the character frozen in time, continuing to work through missions in the 60s or brought him into modern times, changing him to fit into modern times. They’ve done the latter, at times fairly successfully, so it seems that the original creation can be changed with time and box office success can continue.

It really boils down to a deeper, more pure question: should it continue? We know it can

In the music world, comparatively, we’ve seen more and more original members of rock bands dying and fans divided over the band continuing with very few or no original members left. Most recently, this happened with Frankie Banali the drummer for the band Quiet Riot. Kevin Dubrow, the lead singer died years ago. Banali originally retired the band vowing never to play again out of respect for Dubrow. Then a few years later he decided, with the blessing of Dubrow’s family, to continue. Quiet Riot would cycle through singers, including James Durbin, an American Idol finalist. Jizzie Pearl was the singer for a little while, then left when Durbin stepped in and recorded two albums, then left, and Pearl is back as the current singer.

And then a few weeks ago, Frankie Banali succumbed to death by pancreatic cancer. The band had committed dates and have decided to continue on, essentially without any members of the classic lineup of Quiet Riot (Dubrow, Banali, Carlos Cavazo on guitar and Rudy Sarzo on bass).

The surviving members of QUIET RIOT said it was “Frankie Banali’s wish that the band continue and we keep the music and the legacy alive.”

Quiet Riot ‘Isn’t Going Anywhere,’ Says Guitarist Alex Grossi -Blabbermouth.net

Quiet Riot is noteworthy for being the first heavy metal band to chart #1 with their album Metal Health. I saw them on their follow-up tour for Condition Critical in the 80s. They were a good band, albeit formulaic, and it seems they could never match the success of Metal Health. A lot of 80s bands put out 1 or 2 great albums and then just faded into obscurity.

Sarzo and Cavazo are still alive and one would think they’d be the ones most likely to carry the band name forward, but they are involved with other projects. Chuck Wright, the current Quiet Riot bassist did play bass on a couple songs on the recorded Metal Health album, so that’s about the closest connection the band has to the classic lineup.

As more bands become brands, it’s essentially the same thing as what’s happening with James Bond. Should the brand, IP, franchise continue without the original creators?

James Bond is a somewhat unique case. He’s a character that can continue to evolve with times, since he’s done it already. As a fan of the original Fleming Bond, I’ve become less interested over time in the modernizing of the character. That’s not to say some of the recent Bond films haven’t been good, they just haven’t been Goldfinger or Dr. No. Even some of the cheesy 80s Bond films with Roger Moore like Moonraker seem closer to the flavor and spirit of Fleming’s original character than more recent iterations, but it’s a deeper and more complex issue.

Should James Bond Continue?

I think yes. How he is portrayed is the subject of greater debate among fans. Personally, I’d like to see a retro Bond explored next. Go back to the 60s and give us another cold war spy thriller.

Yes, the times have changed and a lot of what happened during those times would not be socially correct in a film post 2020, but hey, do it anyway. No cell phones, no internet, just Bond and Q’s gadgets fighting and foiling global dominators. At least give it a try and see what the ticket sales say. If it works, make a few more. When the retro fad energy dries up, then go back to the modern Bond and see what a James Bond today would be like.

My feelings on rock bands is essentially the same. Let the artists play the music as long as people will pay to see it. Cover bands have existed forever, and will continue, so why not? The music should continue. Whether or not to tour under band names without original members? It’s a case by case basis. Rush touring without Neil Peart? Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson say no for the moment, but maybe in a few years they decide to get out there again. AC DC can go on as long as they have Angus Young, but when he’s gone? Well, there’s always Hell’s Belles.

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer that fits every circumstance. Generally speaking, when the character or franchise becomes big enough, when it attracts a large enough audience, it gains its own form of immortality. It can live well beyond the creators.

What do you think? Should they?

6 thoughts on “Time To Die for Bond? – Should Brands, Franchises and IP continue without the original creators?

    1. I think the 80s might have been too campy for some, but I really liked some of those Roger Moore Bond movies. Jaws was a great villain and he had some nice comedic touches to offset the somber mood you’re speaking about in some of the more recent movies.

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  1. I think Bond’s a bit of a unique case, in that Fleming’s books provided an enormous amount of source material. So even when the actor playing Bond changed, the films were all based on books or short stories written by the same author, which provided a certain amount of continuity. I find that now that they’ve exhausted the books and started branching out into original stories, they don’t always feel like James Bond movies anymore. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s more anti-hero than hero these days, which I personally think is a good shift. (I get why others don’t agree, though.) For me, as long as they keep making them, I’ll keep watching them.

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    1. Fair points. Would you like to see them go retro and make stories written in Fleming’s era? Sure it would be out of time and not very PC correct in 2020, but I think it would be a different way to approach the post Bond 25 Daniel Craig era, at least for a movie or two. Pay homage to the source material with a newly written thriller, but framed during that same time era.

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  2. It would depend on how they were handled. Not saying this is how you mean it, but often ‘not very PC’ is shorthand for ‘perpetuating harmful ideas and stereotypes,’ so if they’re going to go back to lesbians named Pussy Galore who suddenly turn straight because James Bond sexually assaults them, and racially stereotyped villains, then no. (When I say I like Bond being presented as an anti-hero, the main reason for that is that he’s a sexual predator, and it’s nice to finally see that being called out as one of his bad qualities.) But a throwback story with the same vibe as the Connery era and properly handled non-white, non-male characters? If they managed to successfully walk that tightrope, I’d watch it.

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    1. Bond is a womanizer, the way he treats women is despicable. But that’s his character, flawed and rough, and clearly that sort of treatment toward women is abhorrent, Yet at the same time, that’s what the character was like.

      A bond character too much like that in 2020 would never be accepted, but I think he could be portrayed with little sexist womanizer, without the abuse and that might hold enough of the spirit of Fleming’s original character without too dramatic departure from it.

      Daniel Craig’s Bond is a shadow of Fleming’s original character. As time has transpired. we get more of the type of story, but changed characters. It’s true that in time people can and do change, but Bond’s transformation is stark.

      But back to my suggestion, I was more talking about the setting (60s) and lack of modern day technology, and yes, they should have women characters with offensive names. They were Fleming’s signature tongue-in-cheek, which is something, again, that can’t be done in 2020 without all sorts of issues.

      Pussy Galore is an awesome name for a female pilot and henchwoman of Goldfinger 😉

      Interestingly enough, I think Fleming “borrowed” the naming from Roald Dahl, who also liked to play around with character names. A sidenote is that Fleming adapted one of Dahl’s stories for film (Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang), so he had admiration for the use of offensive names.

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