Now, usually working titles don’t really mean much, or give anything away about a movie, but “Shatterhand” has some interesting links to Bond lore that could hint at the film’s plot – and even how Craig could make his exit.
Shatterhand is a reference to Dr Guntram Shatterhand, who appears in Ian Fleming’s 1964 Bond novel, You Only Live Twice. The book follows on directly from Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and is very different from the 1967 Sean Connery film of the same name.
After the murder of his wife, Tracy (famously played by Diana Rigg in the movies), the emotionally traumatised 007 is reassigned to Japan. There, he is requested by head of Japan’s secret intelligence service to assassinate Shatterhand and his wife, who, according to Wikipedia, operate “a politically embarrassing ‘Garden of Death'”.
Bond soon realises that the pair are actually Tracy’s killers, Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt, and secretly turns the mission into one of revenge.
007 eventually kills Blofeld, but after receiving a head injury he loses his memory and ends up living the life of a Japanese fisherman (you might remember Connery controversially being made up in yellowface in the You Only Live Twice film).
Will the new James Bond movie draw on this plot? With the decreasing number of original Bond stories that haven’t been adapted to the big screen, it certainly feels ripe for the picking. As long as they skip the yellowface.
Christoph Waltz has said that he won’t be back as Blofeld in the new film, but then again, he swore blind that he wasn’t playing Bond’s archenemy in the first place, so you’ll forgive our scepticism.
Perhaps more interestingly, Léa Seydoux is confirmed to be coming back as Bond’s Spectre love interest Madeleine. Could she replace Tracy by dying early in the film and kicking off Bond’s You Only Live Twice mission of revenge?
And if we follow this train of thought, might Craig’s Bond end up with a case of amnesia, living a life free from the trauma of his unhappy past?
Short of killing him off, it seems like one of the neatest ways of bringing his tenure as 007 to a neat close. As long as they skip the yellowface.
The 25th James Bond film will be released on April 8, 2020.
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