It must be Friday, because there’s Bond speculation flying about, and this time it revolves around two rumors: the title of Bond 25 and a potential addition to the cast. Let's address the big one first, though: both mainstream and movie news websites are excitedly reporting that the film’s working title is Shatterhand and will start shooting at Pinewood Studios in England on April 6th 2019.
The source for the title claim is industry newsletter Production Weekly, which lists BOND 25 (w/t SHATTERHAND) amongst forthcoming productions in its latest issue. However, going back a little further into the archives shows the exact same information listed since June of last year, although confirmation that the shoot will no longer start on March 4th is new, lining up with a rumour that’s been doing the rounds all week which makes sense in the light of last week’s news of the movie’s revised release date and script rewrite.
Going further back still, Shatterhand was touted as a working title even before Daniel Craig’s return to the franchise was confirmed, in a July 2017 article in The Mirror. The same article claims the movie was set to shoot in Croatia, France and Japan, while Dave Bautista was due to return alongside Christoph Waltz.
This last detail is reason to pause, because Dr. Guntram Shatterhand is the alias used by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (aka Franz Oberhauser) in Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice novel, so the title Shatterhand would indicate the return of Blofeld after SPECTRE. As of this writing, nothing’s been announced about Waltz appearing in Bond 25 (although his IMDB page doesn’t list any upcoming projects precluding it) and we’re in the dark as to the actual plot, so this is all entirely possible.
At the same time, working titles aren’t gospel (Blue Harvest anyone?), and while recent Bonds have stuck to simple numerical signifiers like B24 and the unforgettable Bond 18, at various points in its production The World Is Not Enough was known as Bond 2000, Death Waits For No Man and Fire And Ice. Even confirmed titles aren’t immutable: Moonraker made a lie of the The Spy Who Loved Me when James Bond did not in fact return in For Your Eyes Only, while Licence To Kill was known as Licence Revoked until test screenings showed that US audiences associated the phrase with a particularly bad day at the DMV. Surprising as it is that we don’t have anything more concrete, continuing to refer to Bond 25 seems the safe bet for now.
Today's other snippet of Bond news comes from good old Baz Bamigboye over at the Daily Mail, with a report that Barbara Broccoli and Cary Joji Fukunaga have their hearts set on signing Lupita Nyong'o to the movie. Obviously Nyong'o has Jordan Peele’s Us and Star Wars Episode IX: No Title Yet, Either in the can, but might not be able to find time for Bond now that the all-female spy thriller 355 (in which Jessica Chastain is going to fight Marion Cottilard on motorbikes, c’mon!) looks like it’s gearing up for production.
Bamigboye also reports that Scott Z. Burns is “only” halfway through his month-long rewrite of the Bond 25 script, although that sounds more like he’s ahead of schedule, depending upon exactly when he started work. It’s details like this which will fill out the fascinating production history of this movie one day…
Over to you: happy or not with Shatterhand as a title? Suggest your own and potential Bond roles and character names for Lupita Nyong'o below.
As of this writing, Bond 25 will be released on April 20th 2020.