Rami Malek is officially revealed as the chief villain, while ‘Fleabag’ creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge is confirmed as having joined the writing team.
What has been known for several years simply as Bond 25 is now… still Bond 25.
In a special announcement on Thursday, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson together with director Cary Joji Fukanaga revealed who would be joining Daniel Craig in his fifth and final 007 outing, and teased elements of the plot, but didn’t unveil a title.
Rami Malek, fresh from his Oscar-winning turn in Bohemian Rhapsody and rumoured as the main villain for some time, was officially confirmed, alongside Lea Seydoux, reprising her role as Dr. Madelaine Swann from the previous Bond outing Spectre, plus Ben Whishaw who returns as Q, Ralph Fiennes as M and Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny. Also returning are Spectre’s Rory Kinnear and Jeffrey Wright, who appeared in Quantum of Solace, while newcomers include Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Billy Magnussen (Game Night), Dali Benssalah, Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) and David Dencik (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).
However, for those hoping for a title – the subject of much online speculation – Wilson said that this wasn’t ready to announce, claiming that keeping it a secret was “a tradition.”
Instead, fans were given details of the plot, which sees Bond having left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. But his peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Fukanaga said the locations would include Jamaica, Norway, where the team has already shot, Pinewood and London before finishing in Italy.
Bond 25, from longstanding 007 gatekeeper and producer Eon, is being released in the U.S. on April 8, 2020 by Metro Goldwyn Mayer through its United Artists Releasing joint venture with Annapurna, and through Universal and MGM in the U.K. and internationally from April 3, 2020.
Rather than the usual press conference at the U.K.’s Pinewood Studios, considered 007’s spiritual home, the announcement was made via a live-stream from Jamaica, the scene for iconic titles including Dr. No and Live and Let Die and the home of Bond creator Ian Fleming’s Goldeneye villa. Most of the cast were in attendance, with the exception of Malek, who recorded a message from New York.
“I promise you all I will be making sure Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride of it in this, his 25th outing,” he said.
The film has already been through more ups and downs than most Bond titles.
Trainspotting director Danny Boyle was originally set to helm from a script he had put together with his long-standing collaborator John Hodge. But they parted ways with Eon over “creative differences” and Fukunaga was announced in late 2018, with regular Bond scribes Neil Purvis and Robert Wade having returned to the writing team, later joined by The Bourne Ultimatum’s Scott Z. Burns. Just last month, reports emerged that Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge had been brought on board to liven up the script. Waller-Bridge’s involvement was confirmed by Wilson.
The various changes have seen the release of the film — which has already begun some pre-production work in Italy, Norway and Jamaica, and at its regular base at Pinewood — get pushed back several from late 2019 to February 2020 and now April 2020.