“I started a number of stories that were incomplete,” Sam Mendes explained to Charlie Rose in a recent interview. Mendes was of course talking about Skyfall (2012) the 23rd official entry in the James Bond film franchise, which he directed. Though Skyfall was a massive success, both at the box office and with critics, the award winning director was initially reluctant to return to the franchise. Mendes said to Rose that he decided to return when he realized he could tell “the second part of a two-part story.”
There certainly were plenty of elements introduced in Skyfall ripe for exploration in a follow-up. (SPOILERS AHEAD) Maybe the biggest development was the death of Judi Dench’s M and the introduction of her replacement, Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). Over the course of the three most recent Bond films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall, M had developed a complex relationship her subordinate, Bond (Daniel Craig) – one that was authoritarian, antagonistic, and motherly. It’s hard to say at this point how the already rebellious Bond will respond to a new authority figure he barely knows.
Other characters whose relationships with Bond could be explored include Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw). In the pre-Skyfall films, Moneypenny was simply a secretary whom bond shared mild flirtations with. In the new canon, Bond first knew her as field agent, and during a mission she accidentally shot him. Q, another character from classic series has been drastically altered. Instead of an older, sagely figure, he’s now noticeably younger than Bond, and the two don’t seem to have much respect for each other.
Combine the new character dynamics with several plot developments that occurred in Skyfall – such as the fact many MI6 agents had their covers blown – and Mendes has a lot to work with. See how it all comes together on November 6, 2015 when Bond 24 comes to U.S. theaters.