Christopher McQuarrie Should Direct The Next Bond After No Time To Die


As the Daniel Craig era of James Bond draws to a close, it’s become clear the franchise needs a new direction – and Mission: Impossible veteran Christopher McQuarrie has the chops to helm that change of course. Having begun in the mid-2000s, the Craig-led films bear the darker, grittier tone of their decade of origin. Now the industry has moved into the 2020s, the Bond films feel a little out of step with today’s blockbusters. One such comparable franchise, Mission: Impossible, has itself undergone changes since its inception during the late 90s. After McQuarrie took over as the writer/director beginning in 2015, they’ve ascended to the class of the genre, earning both critical praise and strong box office numbers. To make the jump from one espionage action franchise to another just makes sense.

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Daniel Craig succeeded Pierce Brosnan in the titular role after the latter finished his tenure with Die Another Day. Craig lent the role a less-romantic, more compelling tone moving forwards. This new Bond was born out of a post-9/11 desire in media for grounded realism in American action media. Its contemporaries Jason Bourne and 24 laid the foundation on which Craig’s debut Casino Royale (2006) would build its success. Critics praised the film’s reinvention of the franchise; out with the zany silliness, in with the brooding intensity. The film became the then-highest grossing installment.

Meanwhile, Christopher McQuarrie was developing an action/thriller filmmaking career of his own. He burst onto the scene first as a writer, earning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Usual Suspects – only his second produced script. Following a somewhat disastrous directorial debut in 2000, he didn’t return to the director’s chair until 2012, at which point the Craig-led Bond franchise was nursing its own step backward after Quantum of Solace (2008) failed to find similar success as its predecessor. McQuarrie built a relationship with Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher (2012), earned praise for his writing on the inventive Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and managed to parlay both these moves into directing the fifth Mission: ImpossibleRogue Nation (2015), which continued that franchise’s steady increase in critical praise.

The James Bond Series Needs To Become Fun Again

These two franchises, Bond and Mission: Impossible, followed opposing trajectories into the 2010s. While the Daniel Craig vehicles became more engrossed in grit and muted color palettes, the Cruise-led spy flicks delighted in genre conventions without succumbing to campy crutches. From Brad Bird’s Ghost Protocol (2011) through McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible followup Fallout (2018), the franchise displayed a playfulness that was becoming more dependably successful in a marketplace saturated with dark, dreary reimaginings of old IP. Audiences who had somewhat jaded of Zack Snyder’s deconstructions of the superhero could reliably enjoy the thrills and earnest fun of installments in the Fast & Furious or Mission: Impossible series.

The same reasons critics and audiences lauded Casino Royale in 2006 are also what plague the late-stage Craig entries. Though each film is well executed (including the impressive one-shot opening of Spectre), the excitement of seeing a grittier 007 had dissipated into malaise as the market has become saturated with similar efforts from other action films. To evolve, Bond must take its cues from its more colorful and forward-thinking contemporaries, like Mission: Impossible. And what better way to adopt those films’ success than by commandeering their director?

Christopher McQuarrie Would Be Perfect For James Bond

Enter: Christopher McQuarrie. Though much has been made about Nolan’s Bond inclinations post-Tenet, it’s the other Chris who would make the most obvious fit to reinvent 007 in the 2020s. In his screenwriting, he’s demonstrated an ability to craft clever genre films with innovative twists. His work on The Usual Suspects is well-reputed, and perhaps the most untarnished component of that film in the wake of Kevin Spacey’s auspicious industry downfall. His integration of the Groundhog Day formula into a sci-fi action thriller in Edge of Tomorrow is easily one of the most underrated feats of screenwriting in the last decade. Along with directing, he has also written the last two Mission: Impossible films, imbuing them with his creative DNA and proving himself equal to the task of helming a franchise in the vein of James Bond.

And in fact, the notion of directing Bond is no stranger to McQuarrie, who in 2018 gave an interview with Yahoo! Movies in which he discussed the allure of such a proposition. He discussed his love for the Pierce Brosnan era and for the lighter tone they employed. He remarks on the key to Bond being “an attitude,” and most interestingly hones in on a transitionary period as being the most opportune time to potentially take the reins. Entering one such period after the release of No Time to Die, the pieces all appear to be in place for the Mission: Impossible director to bring his likable characterization, pitch-perfect action, and levity to make the Bond franchise fun again.

Why Chris McQuarrie Might Not Want James Bond

Despite his enthusiasm, the Christopher-McQuarrie-to-Bond line is not without a few obstructions. The process of directing such massive outings as Rogue Nation and Fallout is, by McQuarrie’s own admission, taxing; and Bond is not likely to provide him any reprieve from this stress or exhaustion. Not to mention, McQuarrie’s time with Mission: Impossible is far from over, as he has two projects still ahead of him: the seventh and eighth installments, on which in addition to directing, he is the sole credited writer. Perhaps if the Bond interim period extends beyond the current 2023 projected release date for Mission: Impossible 8, there’s a chance he’d be available, but likely no less drained.

Then there’s the matter of expectations. Certainly, Mission: Impossible is a franchise of some repute, but few if any in the spy genre can equal the historical weight of Bond. The scrutiny he’d face in taking the franchise in a new direction would likely be greater than any he’s encountered in his long career thus far, and would undoubtedly contribute to the stress he already feels in his current position. Nevertheless, McQuarrie’s enthusiasm in the aforementioned interview begets fan enthusiasm that he may be the perfect choice to reinvigorate the storied James Bond franchise. To hear him say “I’d love to see a Bond who enjoys being Bond” is music to fans’ ears, as it is precisely the direction the series needs as its tally of films eclipses the quarter-century mark.

Key Release Dates
  • No Time to Die/James Bond 25 (2021)Release date: Oct 08, 2021
  • Mission: Impossible 7 (2023)Release date: Jul 14, 2023
  • Mission: Impossible 8 (2024)Release date: Jun 28, 2024
Gal Gadot Reveals Hilarious Image of How She Hides Her Costumes on Set

About The Author

Gabriel Ponniah (139 Articles Published)

Gabriel Ponniah is a filmmaker and writer originally from Columbia, Maryland. He has worked both in and out of the entertainment industry as a freelance creator and for several production companies in film, tv, and talent development. Gabriel is excited for his eminent return to work in the industry in Los Angeles after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with highest honors in Radio-Television-Film. When he’s not dissecting films, he’s playing basketball, cooking, or cheering on his favorite sports team: The New Orleans Saints.

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