No matter what a studio, filmmaker, actor, or producer wants to do with the James Bond franchise, they have to make it past the gatekeepers of the character, Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. And though it’s clear that they’re willing to take chances with the character and the franchise, as a whole, according to a new report from Variety, there are just some things they will not entertain, particularly with proposed spinoff franchises.
In an era where every popular franchise is seen as fertile ground to build a “cinematic universe” filled with spinoffs and TV series, the James Bond franchise has remained incredibly linear. 25 films in, and there has yet to be a true spinoff or TV series (well, except for “James Bond, Jr,” but most of us probably have forgotten that by now). Well, even though Bond’s footprint has pretty much stayed on the big screen in his own series of films, it seems as if there have been plenty of potential spinoffs and series that were proposed. But for one reason or another, they never happened.
Variety mentions one potential spinoff, in particular, that was quickly squashed by Broccoli and Co. that sounded downright terrible. The report calls the nixed show a “Smallville”-like television series that would have followed a teenage Bond at Eton.” Oof, that doesn’t sound good. And yet, it definitely sounds like something a studio would have come up with. Thankfully, Broccoli and Wilson turned that down before it even got started.
However, there is a project that Broccoli and Co. were trying to get off the ground but found that the studio wasn’t interested. And this project would have starred Halle Berry. The report claims that a film focused on Jinx, the secret agent from “Die Another Day” that was played by Berry, was shot down by MGM after concerns about a budget of $80 million that was proposed.
What’s interesting is that, according to actress Naomie Harris, who has starred in the recent Bond films, a similar female-led spinoff was stopped by Broccoli years ago, which could have had Barry Jenkins attached to direct. So, it would appear that the gatekeepers of Bond are very, very picky about which spinoffs they’ll consider and which ones get the ax almost immediately.
Those fans anxiously awaiting a spinoff or TV series featuring James Bond or other characters from the franchise might be waiting a bit longer. Unlike Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and most every other studio, the 007 franchise is avoiding the cinematic universe trend. For now.