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Reports in the English media have hinted towards the plot of the next James Bond film.

007’s next outing isn’t released for another eleven months but it has already had a troubled history. Go back three years to the announcement and everything looked rosy. The commercial success of Skyfall and Spectre cannot be ignored. But there was some concern when the director of those two hits – Sam Mendes announced he would not return a third time.

Bond mainstays Neal Purvis and Robert Wade joined to write the screenplay but things soon changed. The celebrated director Danny Boyle joined and brought with him a new script and premise. Writer John Hodge joined with Boyle but the situation soon went south. In August 2018, Boyle and Hodge departed production citing ‘creative differences’. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga came aboard alongside writers Paul Haggis and Scott Z. Burns.

In March 2019, another writer was brought onto the production, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Best known as the creator of Fleabag and Killing Eve, the Brit has become a well-known figure. Waller-Bridge was brought on board to punch up the script and now, we may have learned why.

Reports in the English media suggest that Waller-Bridge was specifically requested by star Daniel Craig. Playing Bond for the fifth time, Craig is said to have called Waller-Bridge a necessary addition to explain the film’s complicated plot. The movie is said to revolve around genetic engineering with Bond searching for a missing scientist.

“The movie’s premise is genetic warfare, which is fascinating — but you gotta boil it down and make it accessible,” an unnamed source told the Daily Mail.

“And that’s why Phoebe was hired. She has somehow made sense of it.

“There aren’t many people in the world bright enough to bring some humour to the topic of genetics and the Human Genome Project.”

Principal photography for the film began in Jamaica in April 2019. But the production hit another hitch when Craig, 51 picked up an injury. The film’s star reportedly hurt his ankle while filming a chase scene and underwent a small surgical procedure. Craig is set to miss two weeks of filming but production continued without him.

It’s an interesting premise for Bond 25. Some familiar faces will be returning for 007’s next adventure but there are some new additions. Ana De Armas and Lashana Lynch have joined the cast with Rami Malek playing the film’s villain. Presumably, either De Armas or Lynch will be playing the missing scientist.

The plot itself bears more than a little resemblance to that of a previous Bond movie. Die Another Day (2003) was Pierce Brosnan’s final portrayal of the gentleman spy. The film saw Bond come up against a genetic scientist, Dr Alvarez played by Simón Andreu. The movie hardly holds up to scientific questioning and with hindsight, not much else.

Die Another Day was a rather disappointing film in the Bond saga. It was poorly received by many fans and critics despite performing reasonably well at the box office. Whether the poorly-executed movie science contributed to that is another matter. The Daniel Craig Bond films have certainly aired more on the side of realism. Fight scenes are more physical and actions have more consequences.

With that in mind, it could be advantageous for the film’s scientific plot to make a reasonable amount of sense. Every Bond film carries pressure but this one has even more than usual. Hollywood today has a number of well-performing action and spy franchises.

But James Bond is about far more than just box office performance. The pressure on 007 is immense with so many brands and companies owing Ian Fleming’s character. Everything from Aston Martin to Royal Doulton have released official Bond merchandise down the years. But perhaps the drinks and entertainment industry owes more to Bond than any other. Online casino Betway ranks Bond amongst the best examples of gambling in popular culture. Similarly, Bond has adorned a 007 vodka for Smirnoff as well as an official partnership with Heineken.

With that much on the line, the pressure is on Cary Joji Fukunaga and his creative team to get this right. James Bond is still an enormous franchise but that is no guarantee of success. If these reports are accurate then it sounds like an interesting premise. But as Die Another Die showed, complicated scientific plots can have a negative effect on a film’s success. Let’s hope that isn’t the case for Bond 25.

  

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