The future of the world's foremost secret agent has been the topic of speculation and uncertainty for some time now. Current James Bond actor Daniel Craig has long been rumored to be done with the franchise, though that has yet to be confirmed.
While there aren't any new developments on that front, the executives and studio heads over at MGM have been talking about the immediate future for 007. Amazingly, the studio posts their regular MGM investor conference calls online for anyone to hear (kudos for transparency, MGM). The most recent one was where Bond was brought up.
One executive noted that "Bond is the most valuable property that we have, and it's been on a cycle of every three-to-four years, and I anticipate it will be on that same three-to-four year cycle."
This answer came as a response to a question about maximizing the studio's Bond-age (see what I did there?) by releasing a new film in the series "every two years," a production level that hasn't been done since the studio followed up 2006's "Casino Royale" with 2008's "Qauntum of Solace."
Also of interest is the looming expiration of MGM's partnership with Sony as their distribution partner for the Bond series. When asked if MGM was in talks with any other studios, the executive refrained from providing specifics. He added that "every studio is interested" in partnering with them on the Bond series and that the three-to-four year cycle means there's "no rush" to kick Sony to the curb for a new distribution partner (though that won't stop other studios from trying).
Back to Craig, he's been on the three-to-four year cycle ever since 2008. Though he (jokingly) said "I'd rather slash my wrists than make another right now" during the "Spectre" press tour, he'd still be afforded the same lengthy break if he chose to return for one last go around in 2018 or 2019. If not, there are a handful of actors who have been mentioned as possible replacements including Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, Damian Lewis, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hiddleston and more.
Sadly, the conference call didn't include anything juicier than these little tidbits, but at least we have some idea of how the studio is approaching the franchise. We'll keep you posted if anything of interest pops up.
Follow Brandon Katz at @Great_Katzby