Today there's a press release with a surprising announcement; the full text is below, followed by my Bond Dork-To-English translation.
Los Angeles, CA (November 15, 2013) – Danjaq, LLC, the producer of the James Bond films, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), the longtime distributor of the Bond films, along with the estate and family of the late Kevin McClory, announced today that Danjaq and MGM have acquired all of the estate’s and family’s rights and interests relating to James Bond, thus bringing to an amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically for over 50 years.
So, way back before Eon and MGM became involved in the 007 business, Ian Fleming was working with a guy named Kevin McClory to make a James Bond movie. Their film treatment died on the vine, and Fleming turned the story into a novel - Thunderball. To Eon's chagrin (and McClory's delight), Fleming didn't divulge McClory's role in the story's genesis when he sold the rights to them. Long story short*, McClory ended up with a producer credit on Thunderball and, after a bunch of court battles, full shared rights to that book and its contents.
One of its contents is Ernst Stavro Blofeld. When the dust settled, Eon couldn't use the character - or SPECTRE - without McClory's permission (which is why the bald guy with the cat is never named in the opening of For Your Eyes Only). McClory, on the other hand, was free to adapt Thunderball as often as he pleased. He did it once, with Never Say Never Again in 1983; he tried again in 2000 with Sean Connery set to return once more in something called Warhead 2000, but the project collapsed. But today's news changes all that, and it would seem that Eon and MGM have all their ducks in a row to return SPECTRE and Blofeld to the 007 mythos.
Will they? Certainly. The question is will they have Quantum's Q logo grow a few more tentacles to become the iconic SPECTRE octopus, or will they save Blofeld for the fella who takes over after Daniel Craig turns in his PPK? Odds are the plot of Bond 24 is set; my money is on Craig facing off against SPECTRE and Blofeld in Bond 25, at the end of his five-film run.
*Long story longer: check out Everything Or Nothing on Netflix for the whole scoop.