James Bond is one of the most iconic characters in all of cinema. He’s been played by six actors over fifty years. James Bond’s exploits have thrilled movie going audiences all over the globe. Bond currently serves as a pan-cultural symbol of adventure and excess. Bond is one of the most enduring and successful movie franchises of all time. With 23 straight films, it’s the longest running movie franchise in history.
During Bond’s long and involved history there have been numerous creative misfires and bizarre avenues that the franchise has explored. From the Star Warsploitation film that is Moonraker to Bond forced to go undercover as a clown in Octopussy, Bond has had it’s low, strange, or just plain weird moments.
None of the franchise’s troubles have been as persistant or as inconvient as Kevin McClory. McClory was a writer that initially proposed the idea of turning Bond into a film franchise to his creator, writer Ian Flemming, during a holiday. The two men not only concocted the idea of a film franchise but also co-created an arch villain for Bond and an evil organization for Bond to battle against. Eventually, the two men had a falling out and went their separate ways. Flemming eventually penned a novel loosely based on the ideas that he and McClory created titled ‘Thunderball’. Flash forward a few years and producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli approach Fleming to produce a series of films based on his novels. After the release of Dr No, the first Bond film, McClory sued Flemming, Saltzman, Broccoli and their company EON Productions.
After decades of litigation and actually being invited to co-produce the official EON adaptation of Thunderball, McClory eventually won a legal decision stating that he had the rights to Blofeld, SPECTRE, and Thunderball.
Eventually, McClory did in fact remake Thunderball starring Sean Connery. The film was titled Never Say Never Again and it was directed by Empire Strikes Back and Robocop 2 helming Irvin Kershner. The film, while having very interesting aspects, is viewed by most Bond fans as a bit of a faliure. Both because it wasn’t terribly successful at the box office and because it lacked so many of the Bond trademarks that EON held the copyright to.
And now, we get to the actual subject of this article. Warhead 2000AD. McClory, possessing the remake rights to Thunderball in in perpetuity, was preparing to remake the film yet again under the auspicious title of Warhead 2000AD.
The film would center on a ship that a rouge Spectre agent, Largo, who gets his hands on a nuke and menaces the free world. The plot, is obviously the same plot as both Never Say Never Again and Thunderball what makes it interesting is that it would have been released in the year opposite one of the most famous and successful films in Bond history, Goldeneye.
There are many conflicting reports as to whether the Bond in Warhead 2000AD would have been played by Conner or Timothy Dalton. In the years since the film was proposed Dalton has gone on record confirming that he has a positive relationship with EON Productions and that he would not have starred in Warhead because it would have damaged them.
As to the specifics of the remake little tidbits here and there have leaked out but nothing drastically different from the previous two incarnations of the story have ever been confirmed.
Warhead 2000AD is a constant topic among Bond aficionados the world over. The film is an endless source of interest and obsession. Ultimately, Kevin McClory failed in remaking Thunderball for a third time but the lead up to the remake, the court battle, and Sony’s involvement in the whole affair is something of constant concern for Bond fans world wide.