Only two days ago, the Skyfall shoot in London gave us a first glimpse at Javier Bardem in action as Bond’s latest foe. That was exciting enough. As a lifelong Bond nerd, though, the latest round of set photos reveals a spoiler which has sent my excitement for the film rocketing by what I conservatively estimate to be ten times.
It’s the answer to the question of why Skyfall has the title it does, vindicating earlier claims that it would have important emotional connections to the plot. It’s a perfect 50th anniversary nod to Bond’s history and conclusively lays one particularly annoying rumour to rest. Given the SPOILERiffic nature of this story, details follow the jump.[All photos from The Foraging Photographer, story via MI6]
If you can’t make out what is written on that headstone, it says: ‘In Memory Of Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix Bond, Tragically Departed’. Along the bottom it reads ‘Mors Ultima Linea Rerum Est’, which apparently means ‘Death Is Everything’s Final Limit’. ‘Orbis Non Sufficit’, aka The World Is Not Enough, is usually recognised as the Bond family motto (see On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), but perhaps it was feared viewers might see it as a confusing reference to the Brosnan movie.
Regardless, any Bond fans reading this will immediately recognise the names as belonging to James Bond’s parents, who died in a climbing accident when he was young. (The Skyfall name seems a subtle acknowledgment of this). According to reports, following an attack on London, Bond takes M back to his ancestral home in Glencoe, Scotland – which Bond creator Ian Fleming stated as Andrew Bond’s village of birth as part of Bond’s obituary in the You Only Live Twice novel – also known as the Skyfall estate. The estate includes a chapel and graveyard, where many generations of the Bond family are buried: other headstones include Valentine Bond, Robert Bond, Celia Bond and Kathleen Bond.
A few of those names might even ring bells for those of you who are uber-mecha-super-ultra Bond nerds: Ian Fleming’s father was called Valentine; his grandfather was called a banker called Robert, while his brother, a respected travel writer called Peter, was married to Celia Johnson, star of Brief Encounter. Kathleen Bond could be inspired by a number of people, including Kathleen Pettigrew (the real-life Moneypenny) or Kathleen Kinmouth Warren, daughter of Admiral John Godfrey (the real-life M). There could of course be a Kathleen in Fleming’s family I’m unaware of.
The story of Bond’s parents has been mentioned in passing before – most recently by Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye – but it’s absolutely perfect for Bond’s ancestry to be such a prominent part of the 50th anniversary movie. The amount of care and attention on show bodes very well for the rest of the movie, while finally laying to rest the irritating rumour that every Bond actor is playing a different character, a notion pushed by Die Another Day director Lee Tamahori (which should tell you how much credibility it deserves). I could only be happier right now if Sara Bareilles arrived at my door to declare her undying love, bringing with her the world’s largest fry-up breakfast, served up by a party of labrador waiters and a newfoundland to pour the drinks. Woo, and indeed, hoo!