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Has Bond 26 started production?

Is it finally happening, the first steps towards Bond 26? It’s starting to look more and more like something is going on. Although for now, we must rely on boring paperwork to find answers.

🇳🇱 Klik hier voor het Nederlandse artikel.

We have been waiting for news about Bond 26 for some time now. Although the official social media likes to remind us of No Time to Die (2021), we moved on from that film almost two years ago. Bond enthusiasts want to look forward. We’re speculating about directors and actors, but little seems certain. Until now. The website Production Weekly tracks all films in production and compiles them into a large list, which they then publish. And what film is suddenly on that list? Indeed, Bond 26.

Without the paid version of the website, you can only read the list of film titles. Subscribers also have access to the real insider information: a summary that keeps track of each film’s production status. Bond 26 appears on the list for the first time, meaning it’s being worked on at some level. To me, it seems to be in a very early stage of pre-production. Amazon/MGM approving EON Productions’ financial plans and giving the green light is enough to be mentioned.

Bullets for Winter is Bond 26 (according to IMDb)

If you search IMDb for the films EON Productions is currently working on, you find three titles. There’s Remote Control, about a British secret agent who discovers a conspiracy against China, starring Gerard Butler, which is in pre-production. No Place to Hide is a biographical film about whistle-blower Edward Snowden. But the one that’s of interest to us is Bullets for Winter. Clicking on that title reveals no details. However, there’s a link to the IMDb Pro page. Bullets for Winter redirects to… Bond 26!

There it is, on IMDb Pro, the film page for Bond 26. The movie is labelled as ‘announced’. This labelling can happen quickly. Barbara Broccoli making press statements like “We’ll get to Bond 26 after celebrating 60 years of Bond” and “We need to reinvent the character” is enough to assign the ‘announced’ status. Remember that IMDb, like Wikipedia, can be easily edited, though Pro pages are more secure.

EON and Frozen Film Company Limited

I’ve mentioned a mysterious subsidiary of EON Productions before, Frozen Film Company Limited. This company was mentioned in EON’s last annual financial report. All Bond films since Casino Royale (2006) have been officially made by EON and a separate holding, created for each film. For instance, Spectre (2015) was made through B24 Limited, and No Time to Die through B25 Limited. These subsidiaries are set up years in advance.

I’ve been scouring the internet for two years to find B26 Limited. Without success. But the annual report made me wonder. What if the special subsidiary for Bond 26 already exists? Frozen Film Company Limited has been around since October 1st, 2015, and recently transitioned from a dormant to an active company. EON is doing something with Frozen Film Company Limited. The question is: what? Notably, it’s listed as a ‘non-trading company’, which means it’s sometimes inactive, likely to be in a start-up phase, but still conducts financial transactions. However, all previous subsidiaries listed ‘Motion picture production activities’ as their main activity.

Covert operation or false hope?

An occasionally inactive company, but with ongoing transactions. That’s vague. Evidently, Frozen Film Company Limited finds itself in an early stage of development. But is it the right company? We’re not sure. If it is in fact the subsidiary for Bond 26, then it’s the first time EON is (probably intentionally) vague. But they’re allowed to be. And if we suddenly see ‘Motion picture production activities’ appear once the company starts its activities, then we’re likely on the right track.

Putting all the pieces together, things start to make sense. ‘Bullets for Winter‘, ‘Frozen Film’, the choices seem intentional. The Bond series was put on ice after No Time to Die. And Bond 26 will soon pierce through the cold Bond-less winter like a bullet. It reminds me of the fake titles for other movies, meant to avoid attention. Or maybe I’m wrong, trying to make connections that aren’t there. Perhaps this entire article is too far-fetched.

Where’s Michael?

Because if we look objectively, there are some unexplained holes in my theory. According to the British Companies House, three people are labelled ‘officers’ of Frozen Film Companies Limited. Bond producer Barbara Broccoli is a director, along with David Pope, co-producer for the Bond films since Skyfall (2012). EON’s accountant John Roebuck is secretary of Frozen Film. But where’s Michael G. Wilson? He’s mentioned in all previous subsidiaries. Not in this one.

So, is Bond 26 the movie where Michael G. Wilson retires? There’s been much speculation, following a notable speech by Barbara at the premiere of No Time to Die. Nobody knows what Michael will do. The assumption is that he will remain as a consulting producer, like Albert R. Broccoli did with GoldenEye (1995). Michael would help choose the new Bond actor, but the actual production work would be his half-sister’s responsibility.

Welcome back Phoebe?

However, that’s an assumption. There have been no signs from EON that Michael is about to retire. And on the IMDb Pro page, Michael is listed as a producer, as usual. Though I’m coming back to my earlier remark that anyone can edit IMDb. Because who’s listed on that page as a writer, albeit with (rumour) added? Phoebe Waller Bridge. She (in a much-publicised role) revised the script for No Time to Die and has since been sporadically linked to Bond 26.

The rumour that Phoebe Waller-Bridge has a script ready for Bond 26, or has even been asked to start to write one, seems unlikely. Whenever Barbara Broccoli is asked about Bond 26, she refers to the story and writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. They are the ones that need to sit down with EON, is what Barbara always says. Those two veterans, involved with Bond since The World Is Not Enough (1999). Not Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

The true beginning

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade bring me back to the question that looms over this article. This financial stuff is nice to know, but when will those two start writing? When will EON appoint a director? Who will be the seventh 007? The answer, dear reader, is that we probably won’t know for a while. Hollywood is facing a writer’s and actor’s strike that might be resolved in the coming weeks. The unions are still negotiating with the film bosses.

But things are moving. Has MGM’s new Head of Feature Film Production, Peter Oillataguerre, accelerated things? Maybe. Even though rumours about directors are circulating, I think this proves that the road to Bond 26 is slower than we might’ve hoped.

Let’s put it this way: if we get any news on October 5th, 61 years after the premiere of Dr. No in 1962, it’s unlikely to be the announcement of an actor or director. Best case scenario: we get a release date, because Amazon wants to set a target. Worst case scenario: we get no news at all on James Bond Day. We might have to be satisfied with the thought that, in secret, hopefully, work is being done on Bond 26.


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Corneel Vanfleteren

Nadat Corneel Vanfleteren op zijn dertiende A View To A Kill zag, wilde hij toch meer weten over de reeks, zo raakte hij steeds meer geïnteresseerd. Met Skyfall als eerste Bond-film in de bioscoop en het vieren van 50 jaar Bond was het duidelijk: deze filmreeks had een aantrekkingskracht als geen ander en werd Daniel Craig een beetje 'zijn' Bond. Hoewel Corneel intensief de filmproducties volgt, is zijn goede voornemen om toch maar eens de boeken te lezen.

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