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.”

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.