James Bond: What happened in Spectre?

Ahead of the release of No Time To Die, we've recapped the action from 007's last outing

James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Spectre

A new James Bond film is on the way – and with it set to be the final entry of Daniel Craig’s largely successful stint as the iconic double agent, it looks like No Time To Die will be pulling out all the stops for 007 fans.

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Due partly to complicated production issues – original director Daniel Boyle stepped down to be replaced by Carey Fukunaga (Maniac) and further delays were caused by an injury to Craig – we’ve had to wait slightly longer than usual between Bond films, with almost five years having passed since Spectre hit our screens.

And so to get you back up to speed with the major events of the last film, we’ve provided a handy guide below…

What happened in Spectre?

The film begins with a particularly memorable sequence – following 007 as he carries out an unauthorised mission in Mexico, killing a terrorist leader after parading through the Mexico City streets as part of the city’s Day of the Dead celebrations.

When he returns from the mission, the new M (Ralph Fiennes) suspends him from duty – but Bond being Bond he pays no notice, instead travelling to Italy to attend the funeral of the terrorist he had killed in Mexico. Meanwhile C (Andrew Scott), the director-General of a new Joint Intelligence Service, is attempting to get the 00 programme closed down and campaigning for Britain to join the global surveillance and intelligence initiative Nine Eyes.

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While in Rome, Bond seduces the terrorist’s widow Lucia (Monica Belluci) and discovers the existence of a terrorist and criminal organisation, Spectre, led by the presumed dead Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). Spectre is currently trying to assassinate former member Mr White.

Bond tracks down White, who is close to death, and promises him that he will find and protect his daughter, a psychiatrist by the name of Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). He finds her, and the pair are then told by Q (Ben Whishaw) that Oberhauser is linked to many of Bond’s previous missions.

Later, Bond and Swann are captured and escorted to Oberhauser’s base, where it is revealed that Spectre had funded the Joint Intelligence Service and that by staging attacks around the world had created the need for Nine Eyes – which C was planning on infiltrating in order to give Spectre access to a wealth of intelligence.

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Oberhauser tortures Bond and the extent of the pair’s shared history becomes clear – Oberhauser’s father had briefly been Bond’s legal guardian, which had made the young Oberhauser jealous and caused him to kill his father, fake his own death and create the alter-ego Ernst Stavro Blofeld specifically to target Bond. A slight overreaction, perhaps!

Just as things are looking pretty bleak for Bond and Swann, the pair set off an explosive wristwatch and are able to escape to London to stop Nine Eyes from going live. Although Q is successful in stopping Nine Eyes, Bond and Swann are both captured by Spectre operatives.

Against all odds, with Bond trapped in a building that is said to explode in three minutes, the double agent manages to save Swann and escape by boat, shooting Blofeld’s helicopter and allowing him to be arrested by M.

The film ends with Bond driving away with Swann in his repaired iconic Aston Martin DB5.

Who is Blofeld?

Ernst Stavro Blofeld is one of the most iconic baddies in Bond history, having appeared in three of Ian Fleming’s novels and seven films – with No Time to Die set to be the character’s eighth big screen appearance.

Prior to Spectre, Blofeld had last been seen in a cameo role in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only – although in that film he was unnamed due to a legal wrangle concerning the rights to the character.

Blofeld is a criminal mastermind and the archenemy of James Bond, hopes to achieve world domination as head of the crime organisation Spectre, and is known for stroking his famous white cat.

Actors to have portrayed him prior to Christoph Waltz include Donald Pleasance (You Only Live Twice), Telly Savalas (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and Charles Gray (Diamonds are Forever).

At the end of Spectre, Bond passed up the opportunity to kill Blofeld and instead allowed him to be arrested, so we expect to see him incarcerated at the beginning of No Time to Die. Knowing his past, though, we doubt he’ll be content to keep things that way…

Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) - Spectre
Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) – Spectre
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Who is Dr Madeleine Swann?

Madeleine Swann doesn’t have quite as storied a history in Bond as Blofeld, having only been introduced in Spectre, but she is set to return for No Time To Die.

Swann is a psychologist and the daughter of Mr White, a mysterious member of Spectre who becomes the target of an assassination attempt.

She disliked guns and prior to the events of Spectre had distanced himself from her father. After completing medical training and working as a consultant she went into hiding at the Hoffler clinic in Austria – before she was found by Bond and dragged into the action.

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No Time To Die lands in UK cinemas on 2nd April 2020