James Bond will pit his wits against a new terrorist organisation in "Casino Royale" with a story-arc to echo real world threats...

New Threats Face 007
22nd October 2005

Back in 1995 when Pierce Brosnan was revealed as James Bond in his first teaser sequence, the "GoldenEye" trailer ran the catchphrase: "It's a new world. With new enemies. And new threats. But you can still depend on one man".

Fast-forward ten years, and a new 007 is about to be ushered in again with a similar pretence. During Pierce Brosnan's tenure as Bond, the world has seen an uprising of terrorist activity and a "global war on terror" lead by the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq. Craig's era as 007 will see an overlap with that real world situation.

With the story of Ian Fleming's debut 1953 novel set against a Cold War backdrop, which is no longer relevant to today's political and social climate, the writers of "Casino Royale" have brought to story forwards fifty years.

Smyert Shpionam
The book's villain, Le Chiffre, is an agent of SMERSH whom Bond bankrupts in the casino, ultimately leading SMERSH to assassinate their own man.

SMERSH was in fact a real world organisation created by the Soviet Union to carry out acts of vengeance, responsible for ensuring loyalty to the state, and eliminating its enemies. SMERSH is a contraction of Smyert Shpionam (roughly translated - "Death to Spies"), its name was so feared during the Cold War that "no sane man would dare speak it".

Ian Fleming utilised this real world threat as Bond's enemy in the early novels, before introducing SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion ) - a private organisation lead by Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have brought the plot up to date by introducing a new organisation for James Bond to face off against in "Casino Royale" and subsequent movies, much like the Connery era story-arc of SPECTRE in the 1960's. Details on the new villainous organisation are sketchy, but they will take on a terrorist role, based out of a fictitious country.

Above: Donald Pleasance as the iconic Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, in the 1967 film "You Only Live Twice".

Fact / Fiction
The producers were careful not to overlap 007 with certain real-world events back in 2002, following the tragic events of September 11th a year earlier. But "Die Another Day" did contain a subtle reference to the changing times when M meets Bond underground after his time spent captive in North Korea: "While you were away, the world changed." Bond replies, "Not for me."

The latest plotline is likely to cause controversy in certain parts of the world, much like the last film "Die Another Day" that cast a North Korean as the central villain with dreams of world conquest. Protests were made in both North and South Korea, countries divided by a demilitarised zone that acted as a centrepiece to (the fictitious) Colonel Moon's plans.

Although 007 may see things in black and white, the world around him is far more complex, and "Casino Royale" will be taking a brave step in developing storylines that have significant overlap with today's political climate.

"Casino Royale", the 21st James Bond film, will be directed by Martin Campbell and shooting is scheduled to commence on January 17th 2006 for release on November 17th 2006, distributed by Columbia Pictures. British actor Daniel Craig will James Bond, the sixth actor cast as 007. Stay tuned to MI6 for the latest and most accurate coverage of Casino Royale.

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