Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and Columbia Pictures have today released details on the narrative and central cast of their twenty-fourth cinematic adaptation of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. Starring Daniel Craig - who reprises his role as Agent 007 for the fourth consecutive time after starring in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall - and directed once again by Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes, the follow-up to last year's sensationally celebratory 50th Anniversary adventure will also see Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris resume their already-popular portrayals of Q, M and Ms Moneypenny respectively.
What's more, with the news that the motion picture in question will go by the not-so-covert codename of Spectre (better known as the organization headed by the white cat-stroking Blofield - a version of whom Christoph Waltz is rumoured to be playing here - in the classic films), it seems that the franchise's ongoing connections to its sizeable past won't terminate with the defenders of British social order mentioned above. Indeed, these links are only evidenced by the official plot synopsis that accompanied today's reveal event, the full text of which reads as follows: "A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization [no prizes for guessing its name, we'd imagine]. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE [see what we mean?]."
That Fiennes' incarnation of M will tackle "political forces" in order to ensure the survival of MI6 here is an enticing proposition in itself, not least since it means that not unlike Quantum of Solace, Spectre will pick up the pieces laid down by Skyfall last November rather than opting for the traditional standalone narrative structure favoured by the executive producers of the Connery, Dalton, Moore and Brosnan entries of old. If Bond's newly-appointed boss is to keep MI6 afloat, however, he'll doubtless need both some help from fellow agents and the right amount of competition from deadly adversaries. Enter the film's just-announced central cast, a star-studded line-up which has already raised our anticipation level to maximum simply on the basis of its inclusion of both Sherlock's Andrew Scott and Django Unchained's Christoph Waltz. Read on for all of the juicy details...
- The dazzling Aston Martin DB10 plays itself, naturally - who could've possibly called that one?
- Andrew Scott (Sherlock; Pride) will portray MI6 agent Denbigh, the final allegiances of whom remain to be seen...
- Evidently riding the wave of his success as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, Dave Bautista has stepped aboard 007's bandwagon to play the enigmatic Mr. Hinx.
- Lea Seydoux mightn't have appeared in many major productions so far - with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol marking the single notable exception - but that shouldn't prevent her from taking Bond by storm as Madeleine Swann.
- She'll have her work cut out, though, as Monica Bellucci (The Apartment; A Burning Hot Summer) is set to vie for the audience's affections (or scorn, depending on the moral standpoint of her construct) in the role of Lucia Sciarra.
- As eagle-eyed readers will probably have noticed, we've saved the most thrilling casting announcement for last - Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bastards; Django Unchained; Muppets Most Wanted) will play the mysterious antagonist of the piece, Oberhauser!
Spectre will begin filming next Monday, December 8th before infiltrating UK cinemas worldwide on October 23rd, 2015 and doing likewise in the United States on November 6th, 2015.