Filmmaker Danny Boyle has revealed the plot of his canceled James Bond film. The 65-year-old Oscar winner had initially been set to direct No Time to Die but stepped away from the most recent 007 release early into its pre-production. Boyle was replaced by Cary Fukunaga, who managed to deliver a reasonably well-received conclusion to the super spy saga. The film marked the end of Daniel Craig’s terms as Bond and opened up a new era for the famed Ian Fleming character and the 55-year-old film franchise. Over the years, choosing the right filmmaker to take on a Bond film has become increasingly important. The decision of who will be behind the camera is almost as hotly contested as who will play the British secret agent. With his impressive resume of hit films like Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, and 28 Days Later, Boyle seemed the perfect choice to take on the challenge of James Bond. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. Not a lot has been known about Boyle’s decision to step away from the franchise, only that he left the beleaguered No Time to Die production after producers reportedly disagreed with his vision for Bond.
Now for the first time, Boyle has directly spoken about his plans for Bond and how it would have done something different with the iconic IP. According to Indie Wire, Boyle acknowledged that his time on No Time to Die was marred by his uncertainty over whether or not he should be involved with a franchise. Previous reports had speculated that Boyle parted ways with Eon Productions after his suggestion to kill off Bond didn’t go over with producer (and Eon heir) Barbara Broccoli. And while this still could have been a major issue, it’s clear that something more than an exploration of Bond’s origins was wanted from No Time to Die. As it stands, Fukunaga delivered a unique iteration of Bond, one which has left fans guessing what exactly is next for the famed franchise. The decision to kill the character off reportedly had been in the works since the release of 1995’s GoldenEye, which means that it was something else about Boyle’s vision that didn’t line up with what producers had in mind.
It could also be that a Bond film set in Russia didn’t quite feel intriguing enough for Eon. After all, the franchise has become known for its globe-hopping settings over the years. Boyle is right that James Bond did get his start during the Cold War era, but even the earliest 007 films showcased the super spy in exotic tropical locales and various cities around the world. A single location paired with an examination of Bond’s origins might not have been enough to keep audiences intrigued, and at this point in Bond’s legacy, that’s a vital ingredient.
Marvel triumphantly returns to the far-flung future of 2099 with the first issue of Spider-Man 2099: Exodus. From the very first page of this new miniseries, Miguel O’Hara’s world sweeps the reader away with promises of danger, intrigue, and a Marvel Universe that’s quite unlike anything that’s come before it. With scarcely a dull moment to be found, Spider-Man 2099: Exodus continues the darker tone established by the world of 2099 while simultaneously setting up countless avenues for future stories. Spider-Man 2099: Exodus – Alpha #1 by Steve Orlando, Paul Fry, and Neeraj Menon quickly brings the reader up to speed. In the year 2099, Neuva York is run by the Cabal, an organization that has taken over the world after utterly destroying the Avengers. Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of the future, tries his best to temper the damage they do to his city and hopes to eventually bring the shadowy group down. When he steals a drive of encrypted files from a Cabal satellite, Spider-Man teams up with a now-digitized Ghost Rider to decipher the Cabal’s plans, and together they discover that the Cabal has pulled a dead Celestial down to Earth for nefarious purposes. And just like that, the stakes are set: Spider-Man must get to the impact site and figure out what the Cabal is planning before their agents fulfill their sinister mission.
Orlando, Fry, and Menon wastes no time in establishing the dark tone of the series. Unlike groups such as AIM, or Hydra’s Secret Empire, the Cabal’s takeover of society is so complete and so pervasive that they do not need to hide in the shadows. In only the second panel, a Cabal recruit dismembers a civilian in broad daylight, with the police standing down and apologizing when he smugly flashes his Cabal badge. With the villains given such a stunning level of carte blanche to operate with, the reader has no way to prepare for or anticipate what the Cabal might try to do next, keeping the suspense high.
Every moment of the book breathes with imagination. “Hacking” isn’t just someone sitting at a computer; Spider-Man and Ghost Rider use VR to actually go inside the drive’s software and quite literally battle the firewall which takes the form of a giant green goblin (an image that is not without import for the true Green Goblin’s return). In a world where the villains don’t have to play by the rules, Spider-Man is seen interrogating criminals much like Batman would, webbing up a Cabal initiate, and threatening to drop them. In a wonderful subversion of expectation, Spider-Man cuts the line – only for the next panel to show that his captive was only a few feet above the ground. This creative flair remains evident in each action sequence: the Cabal satellite doesn’t just explode, it folds into nonexistence. When Cabal forces storm Spider-Man’s hideout, Ghost Rider manifests through the technology in the building to form a skyscraper-sized body. Social media has been embraced to the point where events instantly appear on the news as they happen, broadcast on city-spanning screens. For once it feels justified that anything can happen in this world, without the need for retcons or editorial handwaving.