So spoilers if you haven’t seen the 2012 Bond movie Skyfall, but at the end of the film, James Bond’s longtime boss at MI6, M (played in the more recent films by Judi Dench), dies as a result of injuries she sustains helping Bond fight off the bad guys at his family home. R.I.P., M. But what we’re learning today is that there was an earlier crack at a follow-up to 2008’s Quantum of Solace, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Peter Morgan, that would have seen M die at the hands of Bond himself.
While the part about M dying obviously made it into Skyfall, the rest of Morgan’s version, titled Once Upon a Spy, was shot down by producers. Here’s the framework, via The Guardian.
Once Upon a Spy would have flashed back to M’s days as an MI6 agent stationed in Berlin during the cold war. Her affair with a KGB agent has lasting ramifications three decades later when the man’s son, a Russian oligarch, surfaces to blackmail the spymaster. Bond is called in to tackle the villain, but is forced to kill M at the movie’s denouement.
You can get into some pretty dicey territory when you start talking about plot points from abandoned drafts and early versions of screenplays, because there’s often a very good reason they were abandoned. For example, there’s very little stopping someone from writing something like “… and then James Bond grows wings and flies off toward Ibiza to attend a party on Dave Navarro’s yacht,” which, while certainly something that would evoke a passionate response from Bond fans, wouldn’t make it past the first round of edits. But this one feels more notable, both because the “Bond kills M” thing would have been a huge deal and because it kinda, sorta, almost is what happened, just with Javier Bardem in a hilarious wig being responsible instead of Bond.
If you’re gonna make a change, always lean toward Javier Bardem in a hilarious wig. That’s Screenwriting 101.
(Via The Guardian)