The Bond 26 Production Timeline is a comprehensive listing of all of the news, rumours and developments surrounding the production of the 26th official James Bond film.
Sunday, 2 October, 2022: Speaking at the BFI’s ‘In Conversation: 60 Years of James Bond‘, producer Michael G. Wilson says that when it comes to reflecting changing times however, James Bond films should “not just embrace everything immediately“, arguing that “sometimes things that you think are really important and key are completely out of date 10 years later“.
Wilson goes on to say that the films will continue to draw on Ian Fleming’s original novels, with the author’s “rich” storytelling allowing for various interpretations of the stories and character.
“If you actually read the Bond novels, they’re pretty good literature when you get down to it [and] Bond’s a very complex figure,” Wilson said. “That’s why it’s lasted so long, because you can pull out of Fleming all kinds of situations and interpretations of Bond, and each one of the actors that’ve played it have taken it on as their own and reinterpreted Fleming but they’ve always found the basis for the character in Fleming, which shows you how rich he was a novelist.”
Friday, 30 September, 2022: To coincide with the 60th Anniversary of James Bond, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson appeared on The Empire Film Podcast, where they reiterated that there will be a “reimagining” of the films and that the new actor will be in the role for at least a decade.
“When you change the actor you have to reimagine the direction the film’s gonna go in. When you hire an actor, you’re hoping you’re going to spend a decade at least with them and make four or five or six films with them. So you have to think through, ‘what is the trajectory? What is that actor going to bring? How are you going to move the series into another direction?’”
“We’re going to take our time. We want to get a sense of where we want to go with the series and we want to do that before we bring anybody else on. We’ll start the process probably with Robert Wade and Neal Purvis and we’ll see where we go!”
Thursday, 22 September, 2022: Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson confirm that following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, James Bond “will now be working for king and country.”
Broccoli also confirms that they are “nowhere near making that decision” regarding the casting of the next James Bond actor, and emphasises that their main focus when entering into a new era of Bond is thinking about “the trajectory of the Bond films and the storylines and where we want to take them. So, that’s really the main focus at the beginning“, and goes on to say that, “once we have a sense of where we want to go, then we’ll start thinking about casting. We’re not just casting someone for one film. We’re casting someone hopefully for a decade, at least.”
Speaking on the narrative arc and villain that the new iteration of Bond may face, Broccoli says “We always sit down with our writers, and we start by thinking about ‘What is the world afraid of?’ We start by thinking about, ‘Who’s the Bond villain?’ We try to focus on that as the sort of über story, and then we want to also look at Bond’s emotional life, and what he’ll be facing personally that he hasn’t had to deal with before. So he has two big issues in the films — one is the geopolitical one and the other is the personal one.”
Wednesday, 21 September, 2022: Speaking to Variety, James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson say it’s still “early days” in the search for the next 007 actor, but whoever it is, must be in it for the long haul.
“The thing is, it’s going to be a couple of years off. And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10-, 12-year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing?’ Not everybody wants to do that.
That’s why, when people go, ‘Oh, who are you going to get?’ it’s not just about casting an actor for a film. It’s about a reinvention, and ‘Where are we taking it? What do we want to do with the character?'” And then, once we figure that out, who’s the right person for that particular reinvention?”
Sunday, 14 August, 2022: In a joint press release, MGM has announced a new multi-year deal that will see Warner Bros. handle the international distribution of its theatrical titles.
Previously, MGM titles were released overseas by Universal Pictures. Under the terms of the old contract, Bond 26 will be released in cinemas by Universal Pictures.
The terms of the new MGM agreement with Warner Bros. includes the international distribution of subsequent James Bond films, from Bond 27 onward, should the film(s) be released within the time period of the partnership. It is currently understood that the new multi-year deal can be extended beyond three years, with the option for an additional two year period.
Wednesday, 29 June, 2022: In an exclusive feature published by Deadline, producer Barbara Broccoli reveals that it will be “at least two years” before Bond 26 begins filming, and that the search for the next James Bond actor has yet to begin, as “it’s a reinvention of Bond.”
Speaking at the BFI Chair’s Dinner at Claridge’s Hotel in London, Broccoli says, “Nobody’s in the running. We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away.”
Sunday, 27 November, 2022: [Rumour] British tabloid, The Sun, reports that British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson “went for a screen test to be the next Bond in September and producers and Barbara loved him.”
“He is now one of the front-runners.”
As with all reports from British tabloids, the article should be taken with a grain of salt.
Saturday, 3 December, 2022: [Rumour] Celebrity gossip and pop culture site, Deuxmoi, claim that Aaron Taylor-Johnson “is the next Bond” and that he has already filmed “a mini trailer of just him doing the famous Bond shot” which will be released in March / April 2023 “to announce him as the new actor.”
It should be noted that while Deuxmoi has, in the past, been accurate in its reporting and anonymous tips, it also posts fake rumours submitted by studios.
Saturday, 10 December, 2022: [Rumour] Further Deuxmoi’s claims, The Sun reports that an insider has revealed that “Aaron [Taylor-Johnson] has impressed bosses so much that he has filmed one of the franchise’s famous gun barrel teaser scenes, something all the Bond actors do. That move takes him a step closer to signing a deal.”
“Bosses at the brand were really impressed with his unique blend of acting intensity and his impressive back catalogue of action films.”
Sunday, 1 January, 2023: [Rumour] British tabloid, The Daily Mail, report that Burnley-actor Lucien Laviscount, currently starring in Emily in Paris on Netflix, has caught the eye of James Bond producers.
Furthermore, the tabloid claims that “it can also be revealed that despite Ms Broccoli saying no announcement on a new 007 film is imminent, stunt men and women are being tested at Pinewood Studios,” with a source stating that, “They want to be ready for when things start moving with the new Bond.”
Monday, 2 January, 2023: Matthew Belloni, the former editor of The Hollywood Report, and current author for Puck News, has confirmed that the Aaron Taylor-Johnson casting rumours are true.
“And, obviously, the granddaddy of casting coups: James Bond. The Aaron Taylor-Johnson rumours are true — he sat with producer Barbara Broccoli, and the meeting went well, per sources. But while Taylor-Johnson fits the bill — great actor, British, fits the younger direction the Broccolis want to go, accomplished but not particularly famous — he’s about to be a much bigger star. If Sony’s Spider-Man spinoff ‘Kraven the Hunter’ or Universal’s Ryan Gosling two-hander ‘The Fall Guy’ works, Taylor-Johnson might end up, ironically, too famous to take on Bond.”
Friday, 6 January, 2023: While a guest on The One Show (BBC) actor Rory Kinnear (Quantum of Solace – No Time To Die) responded to questions regarding the next James Bond actor, stating that “I always feel slightly bad for the people who are being highlighted, because it never tends to be them. They are very good at keeping the real person secret. I’d be interested to see who does take over, obviously, but it tends not to be the frontrunner. That’s historically.”
Monday, 9 January, 2023: EON Productions Annual Report and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 December 2021 state that “Looking forward, the directors the directors anticipate to display continued growth and profitability whilst concentrating on the next development of its next film toward its production.”
Wednesday, 11 January, 2023: [Rumour] Giant Freakin Robot’s “trusted and proven sources” report that “Aaron Taylor-Johnson is close to securing the role of James Bond in the latest iteration of the character after three intense meetings and a successful screen test. According to our trusted and proven sources, the ‘Bullet Train’ actor is at the penultimate step of becoming the next 007 after months of speculation and increasing reports that he is in high contention for the role.”
Tuesday, 31 January, 2023: [Industry Rumour] Speaking on January 31st Edition of The Hot Mic, film reporter Jeff Sneider (Below the Line, The Ankler, LA Mag) reports on the unconfirmed rumour that Bond 26 “could possibly be Michael G. Wilson’s last movie […] The idea is that Michael is going to stick around to recast James Bond. Get this new Bond off the ground, and then once its out in theatres, he would step away and let his son Gregg [Wilson] take over and Gregg would be the producer of these movies with Barbara Broccoli.”
Wednesday, 15 February, 2023: Speaking in the Hollywood 2023 Issue of Vanity Fair, Aaron Taylor-Johnson responds to the rumours that he is in the running to play James Bond, stating that “It’s flattering. You can have something really positive [written about you], but you can also have something really negative that can circulate. You just want to stay in your lane, stay grounded, stay around the people that you love and love you back, and stay in that world. Because the moment you start believing the shit people say about you, you’ve lost your fucking mind. You’ve lost it.”
In the same issue of Vanity Fair, Regé-Jean Page also responds to rumours that he is also in the running to play James Bond, stating that “It’s a conversation people are having, and it’s terribly flattering that they’re having it. I leave them to it.”
Sunday, 19 February, 2023: Speaking to LADbible on the red carpet of the BAFTA Film Awards, producer Barbara Broccoli said that, despite all of the rumours about the next James Bond, casting hasn’t begun yet.
Acknowledging there has been a lot of speculation about the new Bond, she said: “No, we haven’t even started casting yet. There isn’t even a script.”
Tuesday, 28 February, 2023: Amazon Studios appoint former Warner Bros President of Production Courtenay Valenti as Head of Film, Streaming and Theatrical for Amazon Studios and MGM.
Julie Rapaport, who was the interim head of both studios, will continue to oversee the slate for Amazon Originals and MGM in her new role as Head of Film Creative and Strategy.
Wednesday, 1 March, 2023: In a new interview with Total Film, Taron Egerton responds to the rumours that his name has been linked to being the next James Bond, stating that “Yeah. I mean, I think they’ve already got someone, and it’s not me.”
Pushed on whether his answer is based on instinct, Egerton adds: “Yeah. I mean, I’ve never been a part of the conversations. I’ve never met the Broccolis. They’ve never enquired about me. I’ve just never been one of the guys that they’re looking at. I just don’t think I’m the right person for that. I think there’s much, much, much better candidates for that role than me. But, you know, I’d be a very willing audience member. They’re brilliant films.”
Saturday, 4 March, 2023: In the weekend edition of The Guardian, Idris Elba responds to the long running rumours that he has been approached to take on the role of James Bond.
Although he remains close to James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Elba dismissed the idea of them ever offering him the role, stating that “I can’t speak for them, but from my perspective, there’s never been any sort of truth to any of it. It’s a compliment and it’s an honour, but it’s not a truth.”
Thursday, 9 March, 2023: [Industry Rumour] Speaking on March 9th Edition of The Hot Mic, film reporter Jeff Sneider (Below the Line, The Ankler, LA Mag) says that he’s “heard that Aaron Taylor-Johnson is not a lock for [James] Bond […] Unless it’s way too early, a lot of people feel like it’s a done deal that it was him for a while. And I don’t know that it is.”
Saturday, 18 March, 2023: Speaking to The Telegraph, Taron Egerton reaffirms that he has not been approached to play the role of James Bond, stating that “I don’t think I’m the right choice for it. You have to be consistently statuesque to be that guy. And that’s something that I am still striving for. I’ve always struggled with my weight.”
Playing Bond, he notes, “is a bit like being a brand ambassador as well as being an actor. And that could be really fun in microcosm, but I’m sure I read that Barbara Broccoli said that it’s a 15-year commitment… It’s sort of irrelevant how I feel about it, anyway, because I can tell you there have been zero phone calls.”
Tuesday, 21 March, 2023: [Rumour] British tabloid The Sun “reports” that Daisy May Cooper is talks to take over the role of ‘M’.
A “source” claims that “Daisy is a close pal of Phoebe [waller-Bridge], whose involvement in James Bond was such a success that it sparked an unlikely conversation. Suddenly the production team were getting excited about the prospect of really taking ‘M’ in a different direction.
With Daniel Craig leaving, it seemed the time to start looking at changes across the board and the dynamic between Bond and ‘M’ is at the heart of the films. So this opens the door to it being a bit lighter and more comedic going forwards — and will of course impact the direction the new 007 goes in too.”
Cooper responded to the claims during a speech read on her behalf at the Royal Television Society Awards, saying that “I can’t be there because I’m filming Bond… jokes, the only M I’ll ever be is Mental.”
Sunday, 2 April, 2023: [Rumour] The Mail on Sunday “reports” that No Time To Die co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been in “early discussions” with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli to co-write and direct Bond 26.
A “source” claims that “It’s very early days, but Barbara has been quite open about saying Phoebe would be her first choice to direct and co-write the next film. Barbara believes Phoebe is a huge talent and brings a fresh, modern take to Bond. They’ve already had very early discussions, but there are lots of variables in the equation, including Phoebe’s increasingly packed schedule.”
The “source” furthers that “Phoebe’s a workaholic and her schedule is packed. But the next Bond won’t go into production until next year and won’t be released until 2025, so everyone is hoping she can work it into her schedule.”
Friday, 7 April, 2023: Speaking to the Radio Times as part of their Bond at 70 series, franchise casting director Debbie McWilliams says “There’s no conversation being had at the moment. Barbara Broccoli has been heavily involved in other projects. You know, it’s not unusual for there to be quite a big gap between different Bonds, it has been known to have a five-year gap. So, no, nothing.”
McWilliams claims that most of the recent casting rumours make her laugh, stating that “I don’t listen to any of it. It makes me die laughing, actually, most of the time. When I hear about who the bookies’ favourites are, and who’s number 15 and all this kind of thing… I mean, it’s just hilarious – and the fact that people are remotely interested is even funnier, I think. It’s a curious phenomenon, is all I can say!”
Tuesday, 11 April, 2023: Continuing her conversation with the Radio Times for the Bond at 70 series, casting director Debbie McWilliams confirms that although the search for the next James Bond has yet to begin, the actor will be “thirty-something” in line with franchise tradition.
Speaking about the casting process for Casino Royale, McWilliams says “We did look at a lot of younger actors. and I just don’t think they had the gravitas, they didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on, because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility.”
However, McWilliams furthers that an older Bond doesn’t necessarily mean an established movie star, insisting that the next actor to take on the role would simply be “who’s best for the part“, noting the different levels of fame and success enjoyed by the previous 007 actors prior to taking on the role.
Tuesday, 11 April, 2023: [Rumour] British tabloid The Mirror “reports” that British star Charlotte Kirk is “tipped” to be latest Bond girl and “was seen at the studios responsible for filming” the fictional spy series.
The Mirror reports that a spokesperson for the actress said: “I can confirm that Charlotte would certainly accept a role in Bond. With Charlotte’s award-winning roles, infamous curves and sliver screen good looks it is natural she would position as a favourite for Bond. Charlotte is currently the number one action female on the movie scene – her latest film The Lair made it to Number One in the US Box Office for action fiction thriller.”
Friday, 14 April, 2023: Deadline report that Amazon has been sifting through MGM’s extensive IP catalogue looking to identifying titles for potential film and/or TV development, and notes that “there are currently no plans for other James Bond series beyond the unscripted competition series [007’s Road To A Million] announced shortly after Amazon’s acquisition of MGM closed as the franchise producers are focused on figuring out the next film installment“.
Monday, 17 April, 2023: World of Reel reports that they have “been hearing since January, that Denis Villeneuve is the #1 target for Bond producer Barbara Broccoli” and that these claims have been backed up by DeuxMoi.
Villeneuve has previously expressed interest in directing a Bond film, stating on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that “the answer would be a massive yes. I would deeply love to one day make a James Bond movie“. Villeneuve came very close to directing Daniel Craig’s final outing, with Baz Bamigboye reporting that Craig actively pursued him, however he turned down the role after he was offered the opportunity to direct his ultimate passion project, Dune.
In a memo shared with staff, Courtenay Valenti, Amazon Studios and MGM’s Head of Film, Streaming and Theatrical noted that, “the integration of the MGM film group and Amazon Studios is complete. Six weeks ago, we combined the AOM and MGM creative development and production teams under Julie Rapaport. Julie’s team is now executing our larger film strategy across both distribution platforms. As a result, now is the right time to combine both theatrical distribution groups into one unified team.”
Wilson steps into the role following the sudden death of Erik Lomis, and will oversee Amazon and MGM Studios’ domestic theatrical distribution strategy, reporting to Valenti.
Thursday, 18 May, 2023: DeuxMoi have published a new submission, advising to read with caution, that Paul Forman from Emily in Paris “is the producers’ new current favourite“.
Friday, 19 May, 2023: Speaking to Variety Rupert Friend reveals that he declined to audition for the role of James Bond in Casino Royale because he felt that “at this point in my life and career, I’m too young, I don’t have the experience, I don’t have the acting chops and I don’t have any of the hard knocks — emotionally, psychologically, physically — that a great Bond should have. So I’m gonna politely decline. That was probably a bit of an eyebrow raise for them.”
But Friend now believes that he has the life and acting experience, admitting that “very, very recently, last week [in mid-April], it started to come back into my consciousness that, let’s put it this way, maybe I’ve got the scars and the bruises now. [laughs] From having literally been around the block or in the school of hard knocks, but also having navigated film sets and directors and difficult situations. You sort of realize you’re at a point where you can take things on that perhaps you couldn’t before.”
Wednesday, 24 May, 2023: In a new interview with Variety, Australian actress Rebel Wilson has revealed that last year she audition for an unspecified role in Bond 26, which is currently in the script stage.
It was Wilson’s turn hosting the 2022 BAFTA Film Awards which ultimately put her in contact with James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, after she had to clear some Bond-related jokes with the producers ahead of the awards show.
Friday, 11 August, 2023: In a new interview with Slash Film, American actor David Dastmalchian says he would love to play a Bond villain: “Trust me when I say that I can bring something to an enemy of 007, whether he or she or they be played in a way that no one has ever seen Bond brought to life before, which is of course the way that you guys always do it. I think there’s no one to push Bond to the limits of their capabilities the way that I could, and I would love to do it.”
Friday, 18 August, 2023: In a new interview with NME, Daisey May Cooper discusses the origins of the ‘M’ casting rumour. “I think it was on the radio… they were discussing who they want to be the next M and then somebody mentioned my name and from then it just went like fucking wildfires. I had the Daily Mail knocking at my parents’ door at night.”
When jokingly suggested that she’d make a great younger, spunkier M after Judi Dench or Ralph Fiennes, she laughingly replied: “Yeah, give me a f*cking part. Move over, Dench!”
Sunday, 20 August, 2023: Crockett & Jones have confirmed that they will be continuing their official partnership with EON Productions, for the foreseeable future.
Crockett & Jones has previously worked with the James Bond franchise on Skyfall, SPECTRE and most recently on No Time To Die.
Monday, 21 August, 2023: Speaking to the Radio Times on his future in the franchise, Ben Whishaw said “I was only contracted to do three films, and they’re done. How many films have they made – 25 or something? I think they have to keep renewing it if they want to keep going!“