With all the rumours flying about in regards to everyone from Clive Owen to Dougray Scott being lined up as the next 007, it was something of a surprise when the far more low profile Daniel Craig was confirmed as the successor to Pierce Brosnan for next year's "Casino Royale". Hard to say what Craig will be like in the role - but Chester born actor is certainly the ideal age (late thirties) to carry the franchise to a new high should he win over audiences. If successful, methinks we can expect Craig in the role of 007 for another decade at least, if not more (Brosnan and Moore played 007 well into their fifties).
However, "Casino Royale" is supposidly a prequel/ "back to basics" Bond film... and this has always proven difficult for Eon to translate into big box office. Usually, the 007 owners like to do things by the tried and tested formula of hot women/ striking locations/ widescreen photography and ball busting stunts but whenever the series has gone for a more minimal, gritty action thriller approach the commercial reaction has been lukewarm to say the least. This was what toppled Dalton's interpretation of Bond (although 1987's "The Living Daylights" is a fine, if overlong, movie whilst 1989's "Licence to Kill" is a largely underseen gem), not to mention Lazenby (ironically "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is still the best of the lot to date). Even when Moore was required to take on 007 with a grittier, nastier personality (in 1981's "For Your Eyes Only") it lasted for one film... and 1983's "Octopussy" quickly threw Moore back into the zany/ arched eyebrow spy-comedy that he obviously excels in. "For Your Eyes Only" remains one of Moore's less successful Bonds among the general public although - after "The Spy Who Loved Me" - it is surefire bet for his second best.
So what am I saying? Well, we should all be happy that the Bond franchise is making a comeback after the misstep of "Die Another Day", which is a fine fantasy romp but perhaps a bit too over the top for even 007. However, before we really begin to anticipate the dawning of a new era for the character let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Bond buffs, such as myself, are all too aware of the difficulty in bringing in changes to the character that we know and love.
If they are going with a "back to basics" Bond, here is hoping that the public embraces Craig with wider arms than they afforded to Lazenby and to Dalton.