Despite several months where it appeared that 007 would be defeated by the mess that is MGM's finances, it appears that the return of James Bond is again a likelihood. Buried in this Bloomberg article detailing MGM's bankruptcy filings following a rejection of a takeover by Lionsgate, there is a nugget that states that MGM intends to have another James Bond film in theaters by November 2012. It was halfheartedly reported back in September that MGM wanted to have the next film in front of the cameras in the fall of next year, and this new development brings that just a little closer to reality. There was a great fear that a deceleration of bankruptcy would tie up the rights to the 007 franchise for years amongst different creditors. I don't pretend to understand the details of how MGM was able to file for Chapter 11 and keep the series intact. Any financial experts who want to explain in the comments section are welcome.
The gist is that MGM will seek a co-funder for the first new James Bond picture, with the goal of owning every 007 adventure after that in its entirety. Should everything fall into place, this will mean a four-year hiatus between James Bond pictures, which was equal to the amount of time between Die Another Day and Casino Royale (2002-2006), but less than the 6.5 year delay between Licence to Kill and Goldeneye (June 1989-November 1995). Of course, every time 007 was gone for more than three years (between 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun and 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me), we ended up with a new Bond and a new direction for the franchise. On the plus side, during the last four-to-six year gaps, we ended up with two of the very best Bond films of the series, both helmed by Martin Campbell (if Green Lantern under performs... ). There is no word on whether Sam Mendes, who had been linked to the theoretical next film before the house of cards collapsed, is still available and/or desired by the studio. And no, if Sam Mendes doesn't get the gig, it won't be Chris Nolan, so just stop it right now.
Perhaps more importantly, it is unknown if Daniel Craig (who will be 44 when the next film comes out) will still be in the tuxedo, although the increasingly busy actor has claimed on a number of occasions that he is still game if it can be worked out. Point being, we should know pretty quickly whether or not Craig will be returning and what direction the next film might go. MGM is going to want to show confidence in their two big franchises, the other being The Hobbit. While I certainly wouldn't advocate replacing Daniel Craig, should he not be willing/able to reprise the role... Chiwetel Ejiofor. Just throwing that out there just in case. That's pronounced 'chew-it-tell edge-oh-for'. Anyway, more on this as it develops, presuming there is real news to report and not just an unending rumor mill. But it's good news indeed for those who feared for the future of cinema's most durable franchise. Be not shaken nor stirred 007 fans, James Bond will indeed be back.