When that high-backed chair inevitably swivels around in the next James Bond movie, due out in 2016, there might be a very familiar face sitting there. Possibly with a cat on his lap.
Those who aren't familiar with the 007 series before Daniel Craig or Pierce Brosnan might think I just described Dr. Evil from the "Austin Powers" series, but according to a new rumor from the Daily Mail, a reliable source of Bond intel, new cast member Christoph Waltz may be playing the villain that inspired that spoof.
The latest rumor suggests that Waltz will resurrect Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the bald villain who has appeared in six official Bond films all together. The character has been absent from the series for over 30 years, so if this is the first you're hearing of Blofeld (poor you), here's a crash course on the ultimate 007 baddie.
Inseparable from Blofeld is the international terrorist organization that he leads. The Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion plagued Bond in his early days. The group met in dastardly conference rooms to discuss how they could throw the world into chaos, while reaping the financial rewards. Blofeld, even before his face appeared for the first time in "You Only Live Twice," was always there, pulling the strings.
The Many Faces of Ernst Blofeld
Waltz, if the rumors are true, will be the sixth character to play Blofeld on screen in the official EON Bond movies. Donald Pleasance ("Halloween") had the honor of playing the villain in his first facial appearance. Subsequently, Telly Savalas and Charles Gray took over the role. There have been minor attempts to explain his changing features, including a decoy storyline involving plastic surgery, but when the leading man changes every decade or so, continuity isn't a huge priority.
The Death of Ernst Blofeld
After seemingly dying in an explosion in "Diamonds Are Forever," the last official appearance of Blofeld came during the opening sequence of "For Your Eyes Only," when the wheelchair-bound villain trapped Bond in a remote-controlled helicopter.
And then 007 straight-up murdered him.
And His Sort-Of Return
Notice how I keep referring to "official EON Bond movies." That's because there is one film that doesn't fit in with the rest. One of the writers on "Thunderball," Kevin McClory, retained the rights to that story, SPECTRE, and Blofeld and remade the movie with Sean Connery in 1983 as "Never Say Never Again." That movie, in which Max von Sydow plays Blofeld, is considered by most to exist outside the official Bond canon, as a strange partial relative.
However, a recent settlement between EON, the production company that owns the series, and McClory's estate has returned Blofeld and SPECTRE back to the original producers, freeing them up to use him in the upcoming "Bond 24."
"Bond 24" is scheduled to hit theaters on November 6, 2015.