Can Spectre Disprove the “James Bond is a Brainwashed Codename” Theory?

If there is one fan theory I love above all others, it’s that James Bond is a codename. I’ve written about this extensively, including my own unique take on it, which is that James Bond is a codename given to every agent who has been brainwashed into believing that:

  • his name is James Bond,
  • it has always been James Bond,
  • there are no other James Bonds before him
  • he grew up at a place called Skyfall.

My interpretation, as described thoroughly in my post “Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename,” (which was then thoroughly discussed and dissected in a reddit post on the subject) takes most of its evidence from the film Skyfall, including the relationship between Judi Dench’s M and Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva. I believe it’s implied that Silva is an agent previously brainwashed into thinking himself Bond.

This guy.
This guy.

But what does all of this mean when considering the new James Bond film, Spectre?

What do we already know about Spectre?

Many people already consider Skyfall to have disproved the codename theory, arguing that the graves of the dead Bond parents and the visit to Bond’s family estate prove he can’t possibly be a guy whose nickname/codename is Bond. Plus, as people always point out, we already know James Bond’s codename: 007.

Either the gravestones of Bond's parents... or another detail in the grand brainwashing codename conspiracy. I prefer the latter interpretation.
Either the gravestones of Bond’s parents… or another detail in the grand brainwashed James Bond codename conspiracy. I prefer the latter interpretation.

This dig into Bond’s backstory appears to go deeper in Spectre, with the catalyst for the film’s action apparently involving a box of possessions from Skyfall. And the villain is none other than Christoph Waltz, who is either:

  • classic Bond villain Blofeld
  • a new character named Franz Oberhauser
  • or both.

(It’s worth noting that Waltz emphatically denies that he is Blofeld.)

Regardless of how evil Waltz is in Spectre, it's hard to believe he can be more evil or charismatic than he was as Hans Landa.
Regardless of how evil Waltz is in Spectre, it’s hard to believe he can be more evil or charismatic than he was as Hans Landa.

But, most importantly about Waltz’s character, he is certainly someone who already knows James, as we see in the teaser trailer:

And who is the other guy? To whom Bond’s face is familiar? To whom James may be bringing death? (Edit: it’s been pointed out that this man is Mr White, from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.)

And then there is this trailer, in which we learn that James is “who links them all”

But what does this mean for the James Bond codename theory?

The real question is whether we can continue to believe that Bond is a brainwashed spy who wasn’t born as James Bond, but that he doesn’t know that.

I would say, yes. I would say, I hope so.

Consider what we hear Oberhauser telling him in the second trailer: “It was me, James. The author of all your pain.”

Did Franz Oberhauser author Bond’s pain? Or did he create Bond himself? Is he part of this brainwashing, codename-assigning conspiracy in which some of us so fervently believe?

Will it confirm the James Bond codename theory?

No. Certainly not. But it cannot disprove it either. We will continue to believe, and there will undoubtedly be a reading of the film that allows for the James Bond Codename Theory to continue to exist.

We will know soon. Spectre comes out on November 6th. As Oberhauser says in the trailer: “It’s been a long time. Now, finally, here we are.”

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Too Street? What You Should Know About Horowitz, Elba, and Bond

Unlike many of the people who are angry with Anthony Horowitz over his comments on Idris Elba’s inability to play James Bond, I read the entire article. Why do I assume that the outraged did not read the entire article? Because, well, if they had, they would be even more outraged. It’s that bizarre.

There are also other things that people might not understand about this entire scenario, especially because of the way this has been reported. When people talk about “James Bond author,” it can be confusing, especially for people who don’t know much about the Bond franchise. As a Bond fan, I’ve attempted to clarify some of these elements for those who might not clear on them.

Horowitz has only written one book about James Bond, called Trigger Mortis, and it comes out in September 2015.

This is something that many people may not understand: James Bond began as a literary character, and still exists as a literary character.

The latest Bond novel. About him, not written by him.
The latest Bond novel. About him, not written by him.

I have never read a new James Bond novel, but I know people who have. They’re fun summer reads to take on vacation. They could be labeled as “authorized fan fiction.” Since Fleming passed away, his estate has commissioned one of these novels ever couple years. Jeffrey Deaver, the guy who wrote The Bone Collector and a bunch of other thrillers, wrote one of them in 2011.

Horowitz doesn’t like the new James Bond films

“Skyfall is my least favourite. I know it is heresy to say so, but it is the one Bond film I have never liked.”

He also thinks that Spectre, the one out this year, looks dumb based on its trailer (below).

If it’s not clear, this guy has little-to-nothing to do with the Bond films. So if anyone thinks that a boycott of Craig’s fourth 007 film might solve something, think harder.

Horowitz is very butthurt about not getting to write a James Bond book sooner.

He almost said no to writing this. But he said yes, because how couldn’t he?

He brought back the character Pussy Galore for this book.

Sigh. This is how I know people haven’t read this entire article. Because the character Pussy Galore is in it, and she’s still named that.

And the only time that it’s acknowledged that she has a silly name is when it embarrasses Bond.

Horowitz also says something very strange about Pussy Galore

“In the original book, the fact that Pussy was raped as a girl becomes something attractive. If I had put that in I would have been killed.”

Sooooo that’s the only reason you didn’t include that, Anthony? What?

James Bond naked wrestles a man in the book

Without having read the book, and only the interview, I’m still not clear on the context of this.

Horowitz has a play about to open called Dinner with Saddam

It’s true. He does. Not sure what to do with this information, but I found it interesting enough to be worth sharing.

Elba handled this whole thing in a classy way.

First, he posted this on his Instagram:

Yes, I screenshotted this from my phone.
Yes, I screenshotted this from my phone.

But, more importantly, he captioned it with:

Always Keep Smiling!! It takes no energy and never hurts!

Learned that from the Street!!

#septemberstillloveyou

Idris Elba is pretty cool.

Horowitz kinda apologized, but his apology makes it clear he isn’t really sure what he did wrong.

I think this article does a good job explaining how Horowitz’s apology doesn’t quite get it. It mostly comes across as a guy who is upset that he upset other people, but still doesn’t know what they’re so mad about and just wishes they would stop being so mad at him.

And finally, the audiobook James Bond of Trigger Mortis is going to be performed by David Oyelowo

mlk

Know who that is? He portrayed MLK in Selma. So, kinda, technically, David Oyelowo is the first black Bond.

What did I just read?

This article was way more blog-spammy and listicular and a “hot take” than what I normally publish on here. But I felt a lot of this had to be said, especially because the articles I was seeing about it just weren’t cutting it.

You can read his entire interview with The Daily Mail here.

Also, unfortunately, it sounds as if Horowitz’s novel doesn’t confirm the James Bond Codename Theory. Bummer.

What is happening in the SPECTRE teaser trailer?

I don’t know.

But here it is:

It appears that Bond has secrets, or at least a secret, and the secret involves a family member, or at least someone from his childhood.  And that this secret entity is probably tied to some kind of shadowy organization.  And that this shadowy organization might be called Spectre. Continue reading “What is happening in the SPECTRE teaser trailer?”

Why Vin Diesel Should Be the Next James Bond

We are close to the end of what is, quite possibly, the greatest franchise ever: The Fast and the Furious films.  While I initially disliked these movies, (referring to the fifth installment, prior to actually seeing it, as “more-or-less the same shitty movie they made the last four times”), I had a change in opinion after seeing Fast Five.  Sure, I’m still uncomfortable being lumped into the same category as the kinds of people who choose to see films that are fast/furious, because I drive a station wagon and because I get the impression that many of the films’ fans (although, notably, not their creators) place a higher value on people driving fast cars quickly than they do on character development, realistic dialogue, or really any aspect of films other than cool shiny fancy cars.

But all of my arguments against the Fast/Furious Films are ultimately irrelevant because of one thing: they are very, very entertaining.

Furthermore, there is nothing pretentious or forced about these films.  In fact, they’ve been (rightfully) praised for their progressive approach to race and gender (you can find good articles on the genius and progressive attitude of these films here, here, and here, among many other places) .  The Fast/Furious films feature a variety of talented actors, brilliant cinematography, and clever, straight-forward, emotionally-driven plots on par with the original Die Hard.  Additionally, while most franchises lose steam after the second or third sequel, the Fast/Furious films have both maintained all the positives of their first installment (family drama, moral conflicts, cool cars) while continually diversifying and innovating (shifting emphasis from racing to heisting, adding talented actors such as Dwayne Johnson, Tony Jaa, and Jason Statham).  And yes, I have previously written about this shift in my perspective, in the post Why Bale should be in the “Fast Five” Sequel.

Unfortunately, it seems like that Fastest Seven is the end of the franchise.  Paul Walker’s death, along with the inevitable ending of all franchises, means that the Fast and the Furious cannot exist forever.

Similarly, Daniel Craig cannot be James Bond forever.

I'm not saying this guy isn't a great Bond.  He's a great Bond.  But change is inevitable.
I’m not saying this guy isn’t a great Bond. He’s a great Bond. But change is inevitable.

While, yes, Craig will portray Bond in 2015’s Spectre, it’s unlikely that he has too many good Bond films left in him.  Audiences grow bored, actors grow stale, and the dark-and-gritty-reboot seems to be on its way out.

The next step is simple: Vin Diesel as the first American James Bond.

See, he has worn a suit before.
Here he is, in a suit.  Is it that far of a stretch?

Continue reading “Why Vin Diesel Should Be the Next James Bond”

The Most Interesting Responses to the Brainwashed James Bond Codename Theory

After posting the James Bond is a Codename, and Skyfall Proved It theory on the Fan Theories subreddit, /r/fantheories, a discussion with over 100 comments broke out over it.  These are some of the more interesting responses I saw in this discussion.  All original comments are credited to the redditors who provided them.  The comments themselves are in italics, with my opinions appearing before and after.

1.  /u/KodiakAnorak commented with this terrifying/awesome fan fiction set-up and extension of the original idea: 

Imagine a “Project Bond”, if you will, that ties into your theory. The grown men aren’t brainwashed at all. The children are genuine orphans taken by the British Government, trained and raised from a young age (before they can remember) as “James Bond”, the ultimate assassination machine. The only truly original Bond was the one from the book series. The rest are copies, raised in the image of a brutal killer. To protect their people, the UK created monsters… Continue reading “The Most Interesting Responses to the Brainwashed James Bond Codename Theory”

Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename (And Skyfall Proved it)

Interested in reading some fiction by the author of this article? Take a look. 

For decades, there has been an ongoing debate over the continuity of the James Bond films.  You can call it the James Bond Codename Theory.

Specifically, the debate is between two options:

  1. the James Bond films do not care at all about continuity, and yes, each character is named James Bond, and he’s the same James Bond, who cares that he looks and acts different all the time, or
  2.  the James Bond films tell one long story, in which a variety of men adopt the codename of James Bond when they join MI6.

Well, the debate has mostly subsided after Skyfall, as many people found it to be proof that James Bond’s name is James Bond, considering that Daniel Craig’s Bond goes to his childhood home, named Skyfall, where he looks at the gravestones of his parents, whose names are Mr. and Mrs. Bond.

Seems straightforward... or is it?
Seems straightforward… or is it?

This suggests, definitively to many viewers, that James Bond is absolutely not a codename. Continue reading “Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename (And Skyfall Proved it)”

Why Bale Should Kill James Bond

Do you read The AV Club?  If not, it’s the sister publication to The Onion, self-described as “the web’s smartest take on TV, film, music, and lots more.”  Which nicely sums it up, as it lets you know how arrogant the writers of The AV Club are.  (Not that I hate the AV Club or anything.  I actually read it frequently, as it’s pretty much the only “entertainment news” I can handle.)

Anyway, a recent AV Club article informs us that Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem are both in the new James Bond movie.  Their response is  “At least we know they’re going with the whole gritty reboot wave everyone has been riding for the last five years.”  A typical dismissive, negative response.  Which is also completely inaccurate, considering that Casino Royale was itself a gritty reboot.  Bond had no gadgets, no Q, and no Moneypenny.  He bloodily killed a guy in a bathroom in the opening scene, and got severely tortured while naked (rather than placed in an over-elaborate, easily-escapable trap).  Also, the Bond girl died.  By drowning.  And Bond responded to this by saying “the bitch is dead.”  That’s a gritty reboot.   Shut up, AV Club.

However, let’s talk about this: Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem in the new Bond movie.

Ralph Fiennes:

Do you see?

And Javier Bardem:

Call it.

Okay, so maybe they are going darker and grittier with it.  But maybe not – remember that Bardem is also in Vicky Christina Barcelona and Fiennes is in Maid in Manhattan.

Continue reading “Why Bale Should Kill James Bond”