Today, we look at the time that the Bond films killed off Ernst Blofeld just to show that they didn’t need him.
In Meta-Messages, I explore the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a creator comments on/references the work of another creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their work. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.”
As you may or may not know, Ernst Blofeld and SPECTRE, the terrorist network that he was in charge of, did not actually debut until the ninth book in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series of novels, Thunderball. The problem is that that novel started as a screenplay and through various legal shenanigans (BY Fleming, which is why he ultimately lost big when it went to court and he was forced to settle), Kevin McClory, one of the screenwriters of the initial screenplay, received the film rights to that novel.
Well, that meant that he had the rights to Blofeld and technically SPECTRE itself. He worked with Eon Productions for a film version of Thunderball, and he allowed them to use SPECTRE and Blofeld, but after his licensing deal with Eon ran out, he wanted to make another film version of Thunderball (he eventually did, as Never Say Never Again, in 1983) and while they were fighting back and forth in court as to whether he was allowed to do so, he threatened Eon over the use of Blofeld and SPECTRE.
Well, as a general “eff you” to McClory and to show that they did not need either Blofeld OR SPECTRE, Eon had the opening sequence of 1981’s For Your Eyes Only see an actor made to look like Blofeld (from behind, of course) try to kill Bond only for Bond to kill him…
It’s a whole opening sequence just to tell McClory he could keep Blofeld, they didn’t need him.
Of course, eventually, Eon bought out McClory’s rights and more recently, Blofeld and SPECTRE have made their way back to the James Bond films in a big way.
Okay, that’s it for this Meta-Messages. If anyone else has a suggestion for a good Meta-Messages, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!