In the wake of the release of Spectre, which was deemed by many fans to be a disappointment following on from the spectacular feat that was Skyfall on the 50th anniversary of Bond films, the future of the franchise has been left in mystery. Daniel Craig was infamously quoted as saying he would rather slash his own wrists than ever play James Bond again in an interview a mere year ago, and since then rumours have been rampant as fans try to speculate which actor will take up the 007 mantle. Rumours have spotlighted Tom Hiddleston of Avengers fame, and even looked towards Luther‘s Idris Elba, which sparked controversy when current Bond author Anthony Horowitz claimed he would be too “street” to play the role. However, if a recent report is to be believed from Radar, Sony are not ready to let Craig leave the franchise yet, and are willing to pay him $150 million to work on two more Bond films.
The report claims the films would be shot “virtually back-to-back”, and would be the last of Craig’s Bond while the studio “phase in a younger long-term successor” in a third movie, that would mark a new era for Bond. It should be noted that the report makes no mention of a response from Daniel Craig. The idea certainly seems plausible; $150 million for two films doesn’t actually seem like a lot when Skyfall earned over $1 billion. Furthermore, producers have confessed their fondness of Craig previously, with Barbara Broccoli saying in January “I hope we can continue with Daniel, I love him.”. However, given Craig’s public comments about his distaste in the idea of returning to the franchise, coupled with the lukewarm reception fans had to Spectre, it’s questionable as to whether Sony would want to start their new Bond film with such strange press only to start getting a replacement ready later, rather than just have the replacement for the next Bond film. Additionally, the validity of the report could be considered questionable given that Sony’s contract to co-produce James Bond films expired with the release of Spectre, opening up the potential for other studios, such as Warner Bros., to bid for the contract. With Spectre‘s budget reportedly bloating out of control on production, Sony may not be so keen to fight aggressively to keep the Bond franchise.
James Bond remains a lucrative property, regardless of what studio it ends up, and regardless of whether Daniel Craig plans to return or whether a replacement will lead Bond 25, you can expect a reveal sooner rather than later, as MGM will no doubt not want to leave the franchise in limbo for too long.