Considering SPECTRE are returning in the latest Bond film, I thought the time is ripe to discuss what type of role the organisation will have in a modern context.
In the earlier Connery films, SPECTRE had a rather large ambit but in the most part where a terrorist organisation. For the time they were used as a proxy to essentially avoid making the Bond films overly political. Opposed to having the Russians appear as the villains time and time again, SPECTRE presented themselves as an apolitical threat. Will SPECTRE still serve this function?
I see the organisation going one of two ways:
1. I don't think the version of SPECTRE used in those films would be correct in a modern more opaque political and social climate. Furthermore, I think Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight films already went down this route of presenting a modern day terrorist group wrecking chaos in 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight Rises' with The League of Shadows. In many ways the League were a take on groups like Al Quadia; where there leaders are essentially zealots with ideological motives and their followers have a religious devotion to their cause. In comparison SPECTRE from those early Fleming novels and the films are a little more quaint, so should the modern SPECTRE evolve and become a League of Shadows type group? Possibly with Blofeld worshipped by the members as a God?
2. The other option I see available is the possibility that SPECTRE are not a terrorist group and instead a long-standing secret organisation that have been manipulating the world order from behind closed doors for a while. There has always been talk that such groups exist and have there own rituals and ceremonies like the Freemasons or the Illuminati. The Illuminati of course have their known iconography with the eye in the pyramid and SPECTRE have their Octopus rings - this would lead some credence to the idea. Could SPECTRE be such a group? Much like in Stanley Kubrick's 'Eyes Wide Shut' the organisation could be depicted as a powerful group of elite people, big CEOs, world leaders etc who are in control and can manipulate current affairs to there own satisfaction. In this sense Blofeld would we the chief architect of the group. Furthermore, if the do go down this route I don't think SPECTRE will be the type of organisation who make demands on world leaders or hollow out volcanoes as anonymity would be the name of there game. In this sense the head of the British secret service could have ties to such a group.
What do we think?
I would much prefer it if they went back to the books and made SPECTRE as Fleming intended: a secret organisation that does the things it does simply because it can, not because of any ideology or dream of a new world order. SPECTRE would become the middle man for the real terrorist groups of world, providing weapons, stealing intelligence and selling to the highest bidder, kidnapping and extortion, assassination ect.
The CEO's, criminal masterminds and whatever other people that would be control of this SPECTRE wouldn't be working towards a NWO, but instead doing it for themselves and simply because they could.
I don't think the revamped organisation will be too dissimilar, regard it's objectives and aims, to the one of old. I see them being about power and control. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they retroactively make or imply that Silva is a SPECTRE agent, or affiliate. His talk of 'Destabilising a multi-national by manipulating stocks, interrupting spy satellites, rigging elections, all to the highest bidder' strike me as actions easily attributable to a new, modern SPECTRE.
This wouldn't surprise me. They must be well aware that a lot of fans had issues with this particular aspect and it would go some way to rectifying it, although it's still a head-scratcher when you take is as a standalone film. I think it's fair to say that the organisation must've been in operation for some time, at least as far back as CR.
I am all for a return to Fleming's SPECTRE and I think this is what we will have. That said, I think there will be a hint of Eyes Wide Shut's sex cult in it. At least symbolically.
But White himself never stated that he worked for QUANTUM. Whose to say that White hasn't been playing both sides?
Or simply that Quantum is a proto SPECTRE like in the novels SMERSH was. Or a sort of puppet club. Or merely a parallel organization shating some of the same members. Whose to say Quantum was the only group of villains to have the same idea.
Just like Naomie Harris did about Moneypenny.
Also, Waltz as Blofeld makes sense. It certainly is a more inspired choice than what many suggested in these forums, which often seemed to be the entire cast of Breaking Bad.
Perhaps he will only be a spectre at our shoulder?
Infact, I hope we don't meet this head man or woman until Bond 25 or Bond 26. Every Connery film dealt with SPECTRE with the exception of Goldfinger which I felt was somewhat overkill. I hope Craig will do Bond 26 (won't be getting my hopes up for this one though) and that no.25 will actually be a standalone film like Goldfinger with nothing to do with SPECTRE, and that 26 will wrap up SPECTRE, or at least give us a fairly stable conclusion regarding their demise but with some room for resurrection and continuation perhaps when the new half Chinese/African man ;) takes over as Bond and continues a couple of battles with SPECTRE, albeit a SPECTRE with possibly somewhat of an achilles heel due to Craig's Bond inflicting some major damage to it's tentacles but certainly still an organisation that is capable of holding their own.
After this, maybe they could resurrect themselves after a number of years but following a decent break. Or maybe Craig's Bond should just bring them to an end in his era. Hmmm.... This maybe could be a bit too rushed though, particularly with a supposedly strong, well spread outfit like these people. Afterall, Gardner resurrected them in For Special Services (my favourite Gardner Bond book) if I remember correctly.
If the head of the organisation is Blofeld, I hope he'll be referred to by his full name, Ernst Stavro Blofeld and not merely called by his surname. Nor do I hope that the name is used too often - maybe just once or twice. I don't really care too much if the head is not named E.S.Blofeld but I guess it would be a kind of nice and a desirable hark back to the old school days.
I'm not against a modern take of SPECTRE but I would like some of the gothic, sinister elements to remain there like the garden of death in YOLT, the book, and the piranhas in the very loose film adaptation. Infact , I think it's time to introduce Barracuda's to the cinema side of Bond's world. We've had them in the books but never in the films.
Whether Eon have actually thought this far into the future and consulted the crystal ball, who knows... :)
Fantastic scene. Have seen this film several times. It would be cool if SPECTRE was somewhat gothic and surreal like this what with the Venice carnival costumes and masks but that won't happen as they're essentially a business organisation, and probably not appropriate in the context anyway. Also, you can just imagine how Mendes would be accused unrelentlessly of ripping off Kubrick. The master in the clip has the perfect voice for the new Blofeld or whatever the name of the head of SPECTRE will be, presuming there is even one.
I love that scene too (and the whole movie, an underrated masterpiece IMO). I thought that the meeting scene in the trailer was clearly reminiscent of it.
If it does, get lost EON.
Me too. I immediately thought of 'Eyes Wide Shut' when I first saw the trailer.
On second thought, I definitely don't want SPECTRE to end with the Craig era. Having said that I don't want them to appear in every film either. I hope that Silva proves to have nothing to do with SPECTRE. I'd like to think that Skyfall was a stand alone film with nothing to do with these criminal organisations - Quantum/Spectre. If Craig does two more flicks following SPECTRE, the next should have nothing to do with SPECTRE/Quantum and the last should deal with a temporary wrapping up of Spectre, only to have them resurrect themselves in the future with a new Bond, however, not in the first Bond film with the new actor.
Yes. I'd say: three or four all in all.