Hot off “Shadows Never Lie”, I’ve got a whole future Bond timeline in the works it seems. Having gotten an inspiration recently, I’ve fleshed out the next one I’d make after “Shadows Never Lie” a bit, and I’ve got a title now, “Ever Rending”, to go with the idea of setting it primarily in Siberia, with the beautiful Lake Baikal being a centerpiece.
Rending, of course, means to split, to burst, to violently sunder, and true to its name this installment would be intense, a real thriller. I’m thinking we’d begin with James Bond meeting some Russian girl from Siberia in some swanky high-class social setting, a girl who’s a total femme fatale type (a dark seductive aura and I’m thinking platinum blonde hair, so as to contrast with the dark-haired Indian Bond girl in “Shadows Never Lie”), who Bond finds intriguing. I’m thinking Bond gets in with her against his will, much like in “North by Northwest”, perhaps via being mistaken for the girl’s contact assassins there are looking for, leading them to attack Bond, who has no idea what’s going on but uses all his wits to dispatch them as usual.
The Chase is on!
One thing leads to another, and he’s led into an adventure where they have to fend off assassins and are betrayed at every turn, knowing not who to trust if anyone, not even each other. The girl was betrayed (or at least that’s what she says…) by her former lover (husband?) and is a financial and investing genius, which is how he got his vast fortune that he, quite famously, has leveraged into a company that delivers nuclear desalination to freshwater-poor places in the world like California, the Desert Southwest, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. And parts of Africa? Might be a cool way to incorporate some underused African locations into this movie.
The villain and the assassins the leading couple are fending off all work for SPECTRE, which after being absent in “Shadows Never Lie” returns to menace Bond and the world once more in “Ever Rending”. The villain, who is genuinely a scientific genius, lost both of his hands in some kind of research accident, replacing them with prostheses that are studded with diamonds all over them, leading to his nickname: “Diamond Hands”, and yes, that is a deliberate reference to the stock and crypto trading expression. All his minions, who work for a closed-loop unit of SPECTRE, wear one glove that’s diamond-studded, but only the mastermind himself has the privilege of wearing two diamond gloves.
Since we’re nearing the “Metropolis” centennial, why not make Diamond Hands a bit like Rotwang? As they already did with one of the minions in “Die Another Day”, but whatever; by “Ever Rending” it will have been a couple decades since then! The villain has his own plans, and, most importantly for SPECTRE, he ends up going rogue by compromising his mission to go on a quest for vengeance against Bond for stealing his woman. By the end this inspires SPECTRE to take down his whole unit, deeming them a loose cannon and a threat to their organization. Despite SPECTRE reappearing, Blofeld does not appear in this story, at least not directly; like in “Thunderball” we see all the members of SPECTRE’s ruling council with the chairman being only referred to as “Number One” and seen only in silhouette.
The Plot Thickens
On their chase around the world, Bond and company uncover that the nuclear desalination plants are not only desalination plants; they’re also sites for the splitting of water into hydrogen, which is being fed into pure fusion warheads, which can easily evade non-proliferation laws and regulations. Diamond Hands has figured out a way to produce these weapons, a secret known only to him. The use for them is revealed later, when Bond follows the trail into Siberia, eventually ending up at Lake Baikal, frozen in all its icy glory in midwinter: the construction of an SDI-style system of bomb-pumped laser satellites in space, capable of both an X-ray laser mode to shoot down nuclear missiles and a laser mode for offensive attacks (see Project Excalibur). Worse yet, the system is capable of generating an electromagnetic pulse in the microwave frequencies that interfere with human nervous system functioning, a “brain bomb”. The idea is for SPECTRE to neutralize the world’s nuclear arsenals and achieve the ability to blackmail the world. Much of the actual weapons systems concept is speculative (not to mention classified), but is based on real work conducted for the Strategic Defense Initiative. Read more at this excellent blog.
Rocket Ice Boats on Lake Baikal, and another Way to rend
Naturally Bond has to stop this system from launching, and arrives at Lake Baikal just before the rocketship carrying all this stuff is set to launch from the depths of the lake. At some point in the mission Q gives him a gadget: a rocket-powered iceboat which is also capable of powered flight. Posing as a recreational tourist as he and the girl scout the area, his cover doesn’t hold and he’s attacked in person by the villain, who has a rocket-powered iceboat of his own.
The rocket launches ahead of schedule, heralded by the ice of Lake Baikal melting and breaking up as Bond and Diamond Hands duel on the collapsing ice sheet; as the rocket is visible approaching underneath the clear ice, it all breaks up, prompting both duelists to take off into the air and have a brief dogfight as the rocket breaches the surface on its way up into space.
Bond, in a desperate move, moves his own rocket close to the rocketship in a death-defying ascent and jumps onto it, Bond girl barely hanging on for dear life, climbing into the rocket ship as their own iceboat-cum-rocketplane runs out of fuel and crashes into the water. The villain does the same thing, not bearing the thought of letting Bond get away.
The climactic duel is fought in the rocketship itself, I’m thinking with swords (another homage to “Die Another Day”!). Maybe the villain is a fencing enthusiast and the rocketship was supposed to be his own personal retreat after the SDI-like system was in place, filled with swords and fencing facilities so he could spar with his minions. Bond ends up having to grab a sword to defend himself (maybe his other weapons were lost in the course of the jump), and the villain thinks it a gentlemanly way to kill Bond, so they have a final swordfight inside the rocketship, which Bond wins of course. With his dying breath the villain taunts him that he won’t be able to stop the rocket, but Bond figures out a way to destroy the rocketship as it reaches the lower reaches of space, Bond and girl coming back down to earth in an escape pod. Think something like “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”.
“Shaken, not Stirred”; or tying a Bow around the Ending
At the very end we see James Bond having come full circle back to the swanky place he began the mission, patronizing a bar there, with the Bond girl sitting on his lap in his arms on the barstool, happy as a lark. James tells the bartender to get them a martini, “shaken, not stirred”, which is the last line of the film. The party and bar life continues as we zoom out to a very wide view of the scene, just enough to give a good portrait, before the credits roll and the scene gradually fades to black.
A bit science-fictional for Bond, but still not as over-the-top as “Die Another Day” (not that that would be a bad thing, but whatever). And certainly the actual evil plan isn’t half as bonkers as “The Spy Who Loved Me” or “Moonraker”.
More Original James Bond Titles!
As for the title, “Ever Rending”, it’s the first of a spate of new titles I’ve had a brainstorm about today. Other include:
- A Traitor’s Ransom
- This one is a play on “a king’s ransom”, and would be an obvious choice for some kind of hostage story involving a traitor
- No Slumber for the Shent
- “Shent” is the simple past tense and past participle of “shend”, which is an archaic English word meaning to blame, destroy, spoil, overpower, or surpass. The shent in this film could be some kind of disgraced spies or former allies of Bond, or maybe something else entirely. In any case it’s one of my favorites of this list!
- Save this one for long after “Ever Rending”, because we wouldn’t want the diamond motif to come back too soon. It could refer to a villain or some other character with a diamond heart, presumably artificial, or a character to whom diamonds are close to the heart.
- A Taste of Hemdt
- “Hemdt” refers to the Icelandic word “hefnd”, pronounced “hemt”, meaning revenge. Totally unphonetic for English-speakers, hence the spelling change. The “d” inserted before the final “t” gives it a vaguely German flair, and avoids bringing hemp to mind.
- The Sign of Spadille
- Spadille is an obscure term for an ace of spades, and a story with this in the title ought to have playing-card and casino motifs, in the same vein as “Casino Royale”. In particular a Bond girl named Spadille is a possibility. A weird name, but still not as far out there as Domino or Solitaire.
- Far Away from Fair
- Lifted straight from a lyric of Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” (the full version is “You were my life/But life is far away from fair”), I’m not sure what it might mean as a movie title, but it might be one of the more hauntingly atmospheric Bonds.
- Pretender of Hearts
- A play on the Queen of Hearts, another card motif.
- Nothing But the Lie
- A play on “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. To be worthy of the title the deception in this one should be a doozy.
- Assassins Tell No Tales
- A play on “dead men tell no tales”; obviously this story would need to be about assassins. Possibly with an assassin as the villain, like in “The Man with the Golden Gun”.
- Silence of the Spheres
- A play on “music of the spheres”. I might like this one best of all, since it’s suggestive to me of some villainous organization of musical people, possibly deeply ensconced in the performing arts, centered on spheres, either metaphorical or literal, as in some kind of structure or technology, perhaps with a mystical Neoplatonic vibe.
Notice that none of these have the words “kill” or “die” in them, and that’s deliberate, as the Bond franchise has become kinda lazy in its titles. I think out of this bunch I might take “Silence of the Spheres” as the third installment in my future timeline. “Shadows Never Lie”, “Ever Rending”, and “Silence of the Spheres” would be an awesome triad to cap off the 2020s in James Bond with I think.
And yes, given one film every three years, a good pace, it’ll take the rest of the decade to bring all three of them off. Leaving plenty of stories and ideas left to use as the 2030s beckon. Yes, the future of Bond could be bright, if it’s in visionary and competent hands. Let’s hope that “what if” becomes reality.