One of the many features of the James Bond franchise is its tendency to avoid on-going plot arcs and references to previous films. Other than a few recurring characters and references to organizations like SPECTRE, each Bond film up until 2006’s Casino Royale was mostly stand-alone. Then things began to change, which had probably as much to do with the current tendency in Hollywood to create interlocking sequels as it had to do with the actual demands of the James Bond universe. Now, director Sam Mendes has basically stated that the as-yet-unnamed Bond 24 will build on questions left unanswered in Skyfall.
In discussing Bond on the Charlie Rose show, Mendes explained that he began some stories that did not come to any conclusion in Skyfall. Those stories will be carried through into Bond 24, with characters aging and being affected by the events of the previous film. It’s a slight change from the typical tendency of Bond films to show the lead as being unaffected by what has gone before. That being said, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were directly connected to one another, but it was so much so that it can be argued that Quantum was incoherent as a result. Hopefully that will not be the fate of Bond 24.
Whether the on-going story structure of the new films is a good thing for the Bond franchise must be a matter of perspective. James Bond has always been an extreme, at times even parodic character, and the recent entries to the franchise have made him far more serious-minded than any previous incarnation. The humor has largely gone out of it all. Add to that references to the previous films, and you have a franchise that depends on the viewer remembering what happened in the film before – all of which can be very trying for casual fans.
You can make up your own mind about the direction of the Bond franchise when Bond 24 comes out in the fall of 2015. Until then, check out the full Mendes interview below, in which he discusses far more than just James Bond.