Any Bond movie in the making will inevitably attract vast quantities of media speculation and gossip. Despite a run of more than 55 years, our fascination with the world’s best known secret agent shows no signs of diminishing. Yet this week, as Daniel Craig pulled out of the TV show Purity in order to start preparations for James Bond 25, the hype is remarkable, even by Bond standards.

After all, this seems certain to be Craig’s last hurrah as 007. The Chester-born actor turned 50 this year, and while Roger Moore carried on in the role till he was 58, saving the world is a young man’s game. Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan both hung up their tuxedos for the last time in their early 50s, and Craig seems destined to follow in their footsteps.

As such, James Bond 25 is going to be more than just another Bond film. It will look to break new boundaries in terms of action and gadgetry, while remaining true to some of the themes that have been constant across the years.

Hello, old friend

When Ian Fleming first created Bond, he was the archetypal loner – perhaps inevitably given his career and lifestyle. Such downtime as he had was spent prowling the top casinos of the world, and given their popularity in the internet age, you can be sure that there will be some baccarat or roulette action in the next instalment. Just don’t expect him to give up on Monte and be searching on his smartphone for the top online casino quite yet – there are some areas of tech that even 007 eschews in favour of the traditional approach.

Bond’s personal life has certainly seemed stark and barren – he married once, only to have his wife gunned down just hours after the ceremony in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But if there is one true friend that has been there across the years, it is his CIA counterpart Felix Leiter.

The character has appeared in ten Bond films over the years, and has been played by seven different actors. Jeffrey Wright took on the role most recently, and starred alongside Craig in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. It seems fitting that the pair should be reunited one last time.

It’s possible

Wright, who is best known for his role in HBO’s hit series Westworld, recently participated in a Reddit AMA session relating to the series finale. A fan asked him whether he had been approached to play Felix in the next Bond film, and he answered: “It’s possible. Thanks.”

That might sound non-committal, but when Naomi Harris and Ben Wishaw were asked similar questions regarding their roles as Moneypenny and Q, both said that they had not heard anything yet. It’s proved enough to put the rumour mill into overdrive, with many arguing that if he wasn’t involved or didn’t know, Wright would simply have said so.

If Wright does return, he will become the longest running incarnation of the character, in terms of films, bringing the total to three. However, when it comes to years, David Hendison’s record will take some beating. He first played Leiter in the 1973 film Live and Let Die, and returned 16 years later alongside Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill – despite two other actors having played the character in the intervening years.

What next for James Bond 25?

Filming will get underway later this year at Pinewood Studios and the new Bond film is scheduled for theatrical release on 26 October 2019. Rest assured, there will be plenty more gossip between now and then, so watch this space!

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