This year marks the 70th anniversary of James Bond, agent 007, but the spy's future on the big screen remains uncertain, with firm details yet to emerge as to who will be replacing Daniel Craig as the character.


Bond's life on the printed page has been rather more active however. In the 19 months since Craig's final Bond film No Time to Die hit cinemas, fans have been gifted three new novels set in 007's world, the latest of which – On His Majesty's Secret Service – sees Young Bond author Charlie Higson return to pen a new story released to mark the coronation of King Charles III.

Speaking to, Higson offered his thoughts on where the cinematic Bond needs to go next, arguing for a return to "escapist fantasy" after what he considered to be a "glum" final outing for Craig's version.

"With my book, I did it quickly, and I didn't overthink it," he said. "The problem with Bond in the film world is it takes so long now and poor old Eon are constantly having to switch studios and deal with a whole bunch of new executives who think they know what Bond should do...

"Really, you just want to say, 'Keep it simple, don't overthink it.' This is an international brand. People paying to see a Bond film want to see Bond doing Bond things – they want to hear that music come on... and away he goes! If you get too bogged down in thinking, 'Should he be doing this? Should he be doing that? Should we have a bit more depth to his relationships?', you're kind of overthinking it.

"I mean, the bits in the last film that I really enjoyed, and I think most people enjoyed, are the bits where Bond is allowed to be Bond."

Higson singled out a sequence in No Time to Die in which Bond infiltrates a SPECTRE gathering with the aid of Cuban agent Paloma (Ana de Armas) as a highlight.

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"You see that and think, 'Wow, yes, great Bond is back! I'm so looking forward to the next scene with [Paloma]!' and she never comes back into it. We're left with a slightly glum relationship at the centre of the movie, which is not fantasy for anyone.

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"The sequence at the beginning of the film, a fantastic car chase in Matera in Italy... but Bond's having a row with his girlfriend in the car! You think, 'I came to see escapist fantasy and I'm not getting it.'"

Ana de Armas as Paloma in No Time to Die. MGM

The author continued: "I'm good friends with David Arnold, who did a lot of the Bond movie soundtracks until [director] Sam Mendes's time, and he pointed out to me that since Casino Royale, which has got a great soundtrack, none of the films have used that bit of the [James Bond] theme, the swing section with all the brass, because he's not ever done anything in any of those films that warrants that sting...

"It's all a bit glum. It's lost that leap into total escapism, which that bit of the theme would always bring in. Suddenly Roger Moore is skiing backwards, firing missiles out of his ski sticks!"

As for who might end up replacing Craig, Higson insisted that "it doesn't matter who the actor is" so long as the character's on-screen antics meet audience expectations. "You don't want someone too old, ideally, mid-30s, but what they look like is irrelevant. It's what he does that matters, that he does James Bond things."

On His Majesty's Secret Service is available to buy now. Charlie Higson's new podcast Willy Willy Harry Stee, a history of the British monarchy, launches on Friday 5th May.

No Time to Die is available to stream on Prime Video, with other Bond films also available to purchase – try Amazon Prime Video for free for 30 days.

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