In the most discussed of several script doctorings during what has been a troubled production, Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge was hired last April at Craig’s request to sharpen up the dialogue. For the more hidebound fans, that signalled that Bond would be no fun any more. Waller-Bridge, however, proved to be rather more of an old-school fan herself. “It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”
Accordingly, the star of the trailer is undoubtedly Nomi, a formidable MI6 agent played by Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch who is here revealed to have 00 status. The rumour is that she has supplanted Bond in the wake of the events of Spectre, but the trailer says nothing about that.
What we see is Nomi telling her fellow agent just where he now stands. “The world has moved on, Commander Bond,” she says. “So stay in your lane. You get in my way, I will put a bullet in your knee. The one that works.” Next up, we see the two of them marching grimly up a corridor with Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) saying “I knew you two would get along.”
So that’s new. But really, the point of any franchise trailer is to reassure us that come release, we’re going to get more and better of what we expect. So that two minutes and 35 seconds includes snap moments of Ralph Fiennes as M (“Where’s 007?” – cut to a yacht) Ben Whishaw as Q (“So you’re not dead?), his old American friend Felix Leiter, played these days by Jeffrey Wright (“You’re the only one I trust”) and his old foe Ernst Blofeld, hammed to maximum porcine splendour by Christoph Waltz, telling him that his weakness for Madeleine Swann – Lea Seydoux, who has skirted the series convention by marrying Bond rather than joining his used-girl scrapheap – will be his downfall.
So the gang’s all here. So is the usual serving of action, staged with verve by director Carl Fukunaga. We see flashes of a couple of great motorcycle stunts and Bond’s pimped Aston Martin, with Gattling guns where a conventional car has headlights, for what is a James Bond movie without gadgetry?
There are spectacular backdrops: Italy bathed in the golden light of the magic hour, Norway under snow, a return to Jamaica where Bond author Ian Fleming lived. It’s all there; everything checks out. On Daniel Craig’s watch, every Bond film – even Quantum of Solace, which made no sense at all – has been an event. Roll on April 2020.