James Bond’s Next Era Will Change How The Franchise Has Released Movies For The Past 60 Years

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Summary

  • James Bond 26 is still in the early stages of development, indicating a slow and careful approach to crafting the next era of Bond movies.
  • The release pattern of Bond movies has slowed down over the years due to increased competition in the film industry and the need to find a gap in the calendar.
  • The wait between Bond movies could become the new normal, with four- to five-year gaps expected due to increasing budgets and potential spinoff releases.


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James Bond 26 is highly anticipated, but it’s still nowhere near release-ready, and that’s an indicator of the rollout of the next era of Bond movies. Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007 came to an end with the epic swan song No Time to Die. The 2021 movie was the last in a five-movie arc that began with Casino Royale and perfectly wrapped up Bond’s character arc by boldly killing off the expert spy. That means that the next iteration of Bond will be rebuilt from the ground up, and the studio and Bond producer Barbara Broccoli are taking their time in crafting Bond 26.

Whether the series will return to standalone stories or have another overarching narrative isn’t clear. James Bond 26 could differ from Craig’s 007 era and embrace the camp nature of the older movies, or it could double down on the serious tone of Craig’s films. The next movie could see a younger Bond in his 20s, or the film could feature a more senior 007. Ultimately, Bond 26 could take any form, and that’s why the studio hasn’t been making any quick decisions it might regret. However, for better or worse, that’s a sign that the next era of Bond releases will be completely different from the past 60 years.


James Bond Movies Used To Release Amazingly Fast

James Bond in M's office in From Russia with Love

Dr. No was first released on October 5, 1962, and then From Russia with Love was released almost exactly one year later. This annual release pattern continued for Sean Connery’s entire original run as Bond before George Lazenby took over for On Her Majesty’s Service two years later. The average time between each of the seven Roger Moore Bond movies was just two years, too. Even in the 2000s, James Bond movies still had gaps of two to three years, which is extremely consistent for a 60-year-old franchise. However, the prolific nature of the franchise began to slow down with Craig’s Bond films.

It’s only natural that Bond movies have taken longer to release with each consecutive film. Unlike in 1962, there’s so much competition in multiplexes now, and studios need to find a gap in the calendar where there’s no counter-programming, which can lead to delays of up to a year (John Wick: Chapter 4 was delayed by 10 months to avoid competing with Top Gun: Maverick). As James Bond’s set pieces and action sequences get increasingly bigger, the movies’ productions generally take longer, too. Despite this, No Time to Die was significantly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Days Of Short James Bond Movie Gaps Are Probably Over

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 smiling with blissful resignation as he's about to be blown up by a missile in No Time To Die

It will be years before James Bond 26 is released, and a tentative 2025 release date is the absolute earliest. Production hasn’t begun yet, and it’s still in the very early stages of development. While the new James Bond might have been cast behind closed doors, it still hasn’t been announced, and there’s been no word of the story’s development either. However, a long wait between Bond movies when the studio changes actors isn’t irregular. There was a huge gap between Timothy Dalton’s last movie and Pierce Brosnan’s first film. There was a four-year wait between Die Another Day and Casino Royale.

Despite that, the long wait for Bond 26 likely won’t be a one-off, and four- to five-year gaps between 007 movies could become the new normal. The budgets for James Bond movies are drastically increasing, with the last two costing over $250 million each (via The Numbers). Recent Bond movies haven’t been as successful as they should have been at the box office, either, as No Time to Die underperformed. With that much box office fragility, no studio would double up on movies. Amazon is also developing a number of James Bond spinoffs, and those releases in between theatrical 007 movies could increase the wait for proper Bond films.

Only 1 James Bond Movie Took Longer Than No Time To Die

James Bond in a tank in GoldenEye

The wait for No Time to Die was notoriously long, as it arrived six years after Spectre. Granted, the movie was delayed by over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, even its original planned release date of April 2020 would have been 4.5 years after Spectre, which is a long wait for an immediate follow-up. No Time to Die also had an overly long development, as Danny Boyle was originally attached to Bond 25 but left the project due to creative differences. However, GoldenEye still took longer to arrive than the constantly delayed No Time to Die.

The development of GoldenEye was plagued from the start, as the studio didn’t know what direction to take with the 17th installment of the franchise (via Film Stories). The movie was in development with Dalton to return as Bond, but following a ton of legal issues and several script rewrites, Eon Productions ultimately took a totally different route and cast Pierce Brosnan. While this delayed production was a one-off, between the six-year wait for No Time to Die, the increasing budgets, and even director/studio conflicts being contributing factors, GoldenEye-length waits could become the new normal starting with James Bond 26.

Source: The Numbers, Film Stories