bond 25

Spectre has literally just opened in theaters and here we are, already talking about the next 007 movie. Then again, this comes with the territory James Bond – when you’ve been around for 53 years and 24 movies, the series itself becomes bigger than a single entry. You have to consider each movie as a part of the whole, and that includes speculating on where the next movie will take us.

Right now, we have no idea where the 25th James Bond movie will be going, who will direct, or even if Daniel Craig will come back for another round with the character. After all, director Sam Mendes sounds like he’s done and producer Michael G. Wilson has confirmed that Craig is not contracted for five films, as previously reported.

Hit the jump for the latest updates about what’s to come for Bond 25.

Reactions to Spectre have been all over the place. Serious Bond aficionados love it and hate it. Normal people love it and hate it. The question of whether or not its flaws are shrug-worthy or a deep genetic corruption that poisons the entire movie has been sweeping the internet. After the near-universal praise for Skyfall, the mixed reactions to its sequel must feel like a bit of a bummer for everyone involved. No wonder every interview with Mendes and Craig sounds so tired and/or angry.

You can feel the exhaustion in each and every one of Mendes’ words in this new interview with Deadline, where he discusses the making and release of Spectre at length. It’s a good interview, full of good quotes that fans will want to parse over and dissect, but there’s a finality to it. Mendes never confirms that he won’t back for a third tango with Mr. Bond, but he makes it clear that Spectre could easily be the definitive end to the Craig Bonds and his involvement in the series:

Without giving too much away, the difference here for me is, this movie draws together all four of Daniel’s movies into one final story, and he completes a journey. That wasn’t the case last time. There is a sense of completeness that wasn’t there at the end of ‘Skyfall,’ and that’s what makes this feel different. It feels like there’s a rightness to it, that I have finished a journey.

Mendes goes on to explain that he wants to take on other projects and tackle other stories, and not commit to another massive movie right after he’s finished this one (he compares it to asking a runner to commit to another marathon right after crossing the finish line). Sure, Mendes could be back for Bond 25 after his batteries recharge. He did say he was done after Skyfall and look what happened there. However, it is in our professional opinion that you shouldn’t count on it.

Meanwhile, across the internet, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Wilson, who has had a hand in producing the Bond movies since 1979’s Moonraker. When asked if Daniel Craig was locked into the next movie, the veteran producer finally gave a definitive answer: “We don’t have a contract.” However, he feels confident that he’ll return for at least one more, saying “I think we’ve got Daniel Craig.”

Daniel Craig has not been shy about his distaste for playing James Bond as of late. And could you blame him? In Mendes’ interview, the director goes into great detail about how grueling the Spectre shoot was and much physical agony Craig suffered on set:

We were in Mexico City, when Daniel said, “I can’t run. I can barely walk.” And he had only run about one day at that point, and I thought, “We’ve got four months to go. If you can’t run now, how are we going to do this?” He was very distressed because he was in pain, A, and B, because he thought he was letting us down. All we could say was, “Go rest. Do what you have to do to your knee and we’ll go down for a week or two and reorganize and reschedule, so that you can come back with some strength.” So there were two days there where I thought we’re never going to do this. We’re never going to make this, and we were absolutely got to the point where he could easily have called up and said, “I still can’t walk. We have to stop and we’ll pick it up again after the year, and release it the following year.” Weirdly, that created a turning point, where the opposite happened.

If Craig stopped playing Bond right now, he’d tie Pierce Brosnan with four films as the character, trailing Sean Connery (six) and Roger Moore (seven). All in all, a solid run with the character. Spectre wraps everything up with a bow. If he stops, no one will truly feel like he left his run unfinished.

And yet, Craig is a co-producer on Spectre and he now has a deeper stake in the franchise. Sticking around means bigger a payday and potentially more of a creative say in the direction of future movies. More importantly, it would mean going out on a film that wins over everyone. If this is his final chapter as Bond, the mixed reviews could muddy his legacy. One more go, one more home run, could lock him in as the best Bond since… ever? That could be worth the pain.

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