A Young M Spin-Off

Oh dear, you're probably thinking. Here comes another spin-off discussion when we know that spin-offs are rarely successful, but please hear me out.

The problem with most spin-off movies or TV shows from movies is that they take a well-known character from a popular franchise (eg Wolverine from X Men), develop a more detailed backstory for that character and then give us an "origin" movie. That's the formula, right?

I think that the secret to success here is to take a lesser used character than the franchise's main protagonist (but no less loved for all that) and develop a movie or TV series that is similar in theme to the original, but with minimal reference to the original.

How about if we go back to the M of the original movies (as played by Bernard Lee), who is meant to be the M as portrayed in the books as one Admiral Sir MIles Meservy RN and imagine his World War One adventures as a young midshipman and his subsequent rise through the ranks. He would be instrumental in developing SIS (MI6) as we know it today and the series could even stretch to World War Two, when as a senior officer (say Commander), he has a chance encounter with an upcoming wet-behind-the-ears RNVR whippersnapper called James Bond.

I don't think this would make a good movie franchise (although it may well), but it could be a good TV series. I hear Eon are looking to branch out into other media, so why not do something with a character that they have full rights to?

What does everyone think?

Comments

  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    I wrote a spec script for a Leiter series a few years back. It was written with Wright in mind. To get the level of talent and quality you'd require it would take US backing, hence Leiter. I'm not sure 'M' has the scope I'd want from a Bond spin-off, but that's just my opinion.

    In reality I'm pretty sceptical of spin-offs. My own effort was merely a side project that I dipped into when I suffered block on any other pieces.
  • DariusDarius UK
    edited October 2015 Posts: 354
    Point taken @RC7, but I was thinking more along the lines of a TV series, which would not necessarily need US backing. Of course, a feature movie would -- but such a movie may well sell better to backers in the US if it follows a successful TV series that has done well on syndication.

    As regards a Leiter spin-off, I'd be interested to see a sample of your spec script, because Leiter is one of the most under-used characters in the Bond movie canon. I suppose the fear is that he'll upstage Bond if he's over-used. However, I feel that the Leiter of the Fleming novels complements Bond very well, rather than upstages him, and it's a pity this doesn't come out in the movies more.
  • Posts: 4,599
    I think the issue with any TV series is that the production values for Bond movies are now so high (and so are expectations) that TV could never do it justice and any feeling of cheapness could rub off on the movies.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    patb wrote: »
    I think the issue with any TV series is that the production values for Bond movies are now so high (and so are expectations) that TV could never do it justice and any feeling of cheapness could rub off on the movies.

    Yeah, which is why you'd need a f*** tonne of US investment. It would still essentially have to be a character piece first and foremost.
    Darius wrote: »
    Point taken @RC7, but I was thinking more along the lines of a TV series, which would not necessarily need US backing. Of course, a feature movie would -- but such a movie may well sell better to backers in the US if it follows a successful TV series that has done well on syndication.

    As above, you run the risk of it looking cheap without substantial American backing.
  • DariusDarius UK
    Posts: 354
    The difference is though, that this would be a historical costume piece, which, hopefully, would set it apart in the eyes of the viewing public from the main movie franchise. I think that when dealing with historical drama, a little roughness around the edges is almost expected.

    True, production costs would be a little on the steep side, but IFoyle's War[/i], which was a rip-roaring success on British TV. If the same level of success can be reproduced in the "Bondiverse", then the rewards may well be substantially higher.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,969
    The Admiral is at least an intersting tv-series title. Actually, if the Bond reference is kept to a minimum (it's enough to call the main protagonist 'Miles Meservy') it could be quite interesting. It might even end, as a series, with him hiring his new agent, 007.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Darius wrote: »
    The difference is though, that this would be a historical costume piece, which, hopefully, would set it apart in the eyes of the viewing public from the main movie franchise. I think that when dealing with historical drama, a little roughness around the edges is almost expected.

    True, production costs would be a little on the steep side, but IFoyle's War[/i], which was a rip-roaring success on British TV. If the same level of success can be reproduced in the "Bondiverse", then the rewards may well be substantially higher.

    It's certainly feasible. You'd film it in the UK, but I think you'd want to co-pro it with the US just to guarantee a level of gloss. It could look great.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    James Bond is not Star Trek.

    Any TV Show would hurt the legacy of the movies.
    A big fat NO
  • Posts: 4,599
    The ST point is very fair, its great to upscale and space after all is big and therfore fills the screen, harder to go the other way,
    what are the precedents for a successful movie (series) to spin off onto TV?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    Indy and what a flop it was
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Indy and what a flop it was

    It's very unlikely a Bond TV spin off will ever happen, but I'm indulging the OP as at least he wants to discuss something other than the relentlessly tedious 'Craig' threads.
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