Madness descended upon the internet earlier this week when the Westworld showrunners stormed into a the /r/westworld subreddit for what proved to be one of the larger online pranks in recent history.
The gist of the prank was simple: the Westworld team announced that they would be spoiling the entirety of the show for the Westworld superfans. Their logic was that the fans of Westworld seem to love guessing spoilers, so they might as well have them all revealed in advance.
This was a clever stunt, a well-executed, but most importantly: the Westworld team had created a genius act of public shaming that should bring into focus the absurdity of many aspects of internet fan culture.
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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:
But, more importantly, he captioned it with:
Always Keep Smiling!! It takes no energy and never hurts!
Learned that from the Street!!
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
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.
There is at least one major question about the new Star Wars film that goes unanswered: will there be Force Ghosts?
At least, this is what I’m wondering. Obi Wan’s Force Ghost really kicked up the original trilogy a notch, and I doubt I’m the only one who thinks Liam Neeson should have made a few posthumous appearances in Episodes II and III.
But the question is, why don’t all movies have Force Ghosts in them? And I don’t mean all Star Wars movie. I mean all movies. (I’m also unclear on whether or not Force Ghost should be capitalized, so I’ve chosen to capitalize it throughout the article).
Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed in Creed.
The new Rocky spin-off (or whatever you want to call it) looks amazing. But Rocky training Wallace Creed is not enough.
I understand that the creators felt it would be too much to bring back Creed senior, considering he died in Rocky’s arms in the fourth film of the franchise.
We need the original Creed, Mr. Weathers, and if we are going to stick to the canon then the only option is through a Force Ghost. Imagine if, as Wallace gets up there for his big fight, he looks and see the original Apollo Creed standing next to Stallone. Cheering for him. It has to happen.
Han Seoul-Oh in every Fast and Furious future sequel.
This dude is the best thing about the fifth and sixth fast, furious films… although he died at the end of the third one. Which makes no sense, but it is what it is. (They’ve explained it by saying that the third one takes place AFTER the sixth, which makes no sense but let’s just accept that and try to work around it.)
Unless they decide to retcon him back to life, which I would be okay with because I think it’s something that this franchise should be okay with, the only other way to bring him back is that he’s a Force Ghost driving a Ghost Car. Or he appears in Vin Diesel’s passenger seat and gives advice and reminds people not to drive too fast or they might die in a fatal car accident like he did.
Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic World
How much better would it have made Jurassic World if, when the kids find the jeeps in the old abandoned Jurassic Park complex, there was a ghost of Jeff Goldblum hanging out there.
He could discuss chaos theory and give them advice based on his previous dinosaur adventures. Maybe he can be in Jurassic World 2: Jurassic Universe?
All the previous James Bonds, lined up in a row, looking at Daniel Craig, at the end of his last James Bond movie
It would make for a pretty powerful moment, and would also be a nice way to confirm the old “James Bond is a codename” theory.
Bobby Fischer in Searching for Bobby Fischer
One controversial element of the film Searching for Bobby Fischer is that Fischer never saw the film, didn’t like his name being used, and received no monetary compensation for it being made.
But what if they had offered him the role of himself, as a Force Ghost, at the end of the movie, cheering on the protagonist? That would’ve both made Fischer feel better AND made it a better movie.
Every movie ever?
The real question might be: what movies shouldn’t have a Force Ghost in them?
A few years ago, I wrote a blog post called The Maramduke Fart Paradox, in which I discussed the strange search engine terms that lead people to this website. Among them was “keanu reeves girlfriend 2011,” “mob bosses with sunglasses,” and a wide variety of questions about the ’90s film Blank Check.
Well, the search terms have never stopped being strange. Here are some of the more interesting ones that have lead people to this site. Presumably some of them left satisfied, some left immediately, and others left far more confused than they were before they visited.
I’ve also decided to do this in the form of a top ten list, because everyone likes top ten lists. But with 14 because I couldn’t narrow it down to 10.
14. skyfall proof that james bond isnt a codename
Whoever ended up here was certainly disappointed, as I consider Skyfall to be proof that James is definitely a codename. Other 007-specific search terms include james bond is a codename, james bond fight, james bond theory, and is james bonds codename 007? (The answer to the last one is undebatebly yes.)
13. matthew mcconaughey as jake in the sun also rises
Wow. That’s a really cool idea. Not sure if it would work, but yeah, cool idea.
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?”→
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.
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.
After posting the James Bond is a Codename, and Skyfall Proved Ittheory 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”→
James Bond is a codename, but James Bond doesn’t know that it’s a codename. Because the man who knows himself as James Bond has been brainwashed. And all the answers live within the 2012 film Skyfall.
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:
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
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.
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.
And Javier Bardem:
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.