A five-decade legal feud has finally come to a close, clearing the way for classic villains Blofeld and SPECTRE to rejoin to James Bond film franchise.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, producer Danjaq LLC and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced they’ve finally reached a settlement with the estate of screenwriter Kevin McClory to acquire all of the rights to the series.
McClory claimed that in 1959 he gave author Ian Fleming the idea for a Bond film set in the Bahamas. So when the Thunderball novel was released two years later without crediting McClory, he filed a lawsuit claiming co-authorship of some of the elements. Fleming and McClory reached a settlement that allowed for the 1965 film adaptation, that created a rights mess that allowed the latter to produce 1983’s Never Say Never Again (a Thunderball remake with Sean Connery), released the same year as MGM’s Octopussy.
Blofeld appeared in three novels — Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice — and seven films. Like Bond himself, the character was portrayed by several actors, including Donald Pleasence (You Only Live Twice), Telly Savalas (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and Max Von Sydow (Never Say Never Again).
Opening Nov. 6, 2015, the 24th Bond film is being written by John Logan, with Skyfall director Sam Mendes ready to return. Whether Blofeld and SPECTRE will appear in the next movie remains to be seen, but it’s exciting knowing that one of the greatest secret agents of all time can run up against his number one foe on the big screen again.