After a five decade long legal battle, MGM and Danjaq have finally acquired all of the rights to the 007 franchise.
The issue stretches back to a court case in November 1963 involving author Ian Fleming and screenwriter/producer Kevin McClory who helped Fleming adapt Bond to the big screen.
In essence, McClory has owned the film rights to the novel “Thunderball” and various other elements of the franchise. He attempted to use them to start his own Bond franchise in 1983 with the remake “Never Say Never Again”.
McClory passed away in 2006, and now his estate seems to have finally come to a settlement with MGM, though terms have not been disclosed. The biggest impact going forward is what it could mean for the villains in future Daniel Craig outings.
McClory’s estate essentially had the screen rights to both Ernst Stavro Blofeld character and the global terrorist organisation SPECTRE which served as the primary antagonists throughout the Connery-era Bond films.
The Craig-era films utilised ‘Quantum’, a SPECTRE-like organisation in the first two films which was left slightly dismantled but still running by the end of “Quantum of Solace”. It’s not known if the future films will pick up the story thread again.