Sam Mendes Says ‘Spectre’ Is a James Bond Origin Story
James Bond has always been more of a figure than a character, sliding through the decades as constantly fluctuating collection of what society enjoys at any particular time. 007’s evolution into something more complex and human in the Daniel Craig era is also a reflection of the times. This is what we want out of an action hero in 2015. Now, Spectre looks to take this route to its natural conclusion. According to director Sam Mendes, his film will answer one of the great unanswered questions in cinema: Where did James Bond come from?
Other movies in the series have danced around this subject before quickly dismissing it. We knew Bond was an orphan whose parents were killed in a climbing accident. We knew that he joined the British military before settling into a role at MI6. But that’s been about it. He was just Bond, James Bond, fully formed and ready for action. For better or worse, Mendes (via EW) says Spectre will demystify and humanize the origins of the greatest fictional spy of all time:
The Bond creation myth never happened. I felt there was an opportunity there: What made him? And who were the people who affected him along the way? You’re sort of telling the story backwards of how Bond became Bond.
On one level, it’s always great when any Bond movie does anything different. This series has a habit of falling into ruts. On another level, we Bond fans are a traditional lot. We like that Bond is an empty vessel. The lack of defined motivations and personal backstory make him truly immortal. The fact that Craig’s tragic, all-too-human Bond is about to solve this mystery (potentially for all past and future Bonds as well) is slightly disconcerting.
But at the same time, bring it on! There is nothing Bond fans enjoy more than arguing about Bond minutiae. Spectre is dredging up so much old Bond lore that it should keep up busy for years.
In the same article, Craig himself had this to say about the movie;
A lot of the film is a celebration of what it is to be Bond. But it’s not retro. Hopefully it’s not just classic Bond but a classic thriller.
In other words, it’s Mendes’ job to should “Bold! New! Exciting!” and Craig’s job to say “But it’s still Bond!” Spectre opens on November 6, 2015.