Presentation at ‘The World is Not Enough: The Impact of James Bond on Popular Culture’ Symposium, convened by the Popular Culture Research Network (POPCRN) at the University of New England — Online, 26 May, 2022.
A virtual symposium celebrating Ian Fleming’s birthday and focused on all things James Bond in popular culture. As the quintessential English spy serving on her majesty’s secret service the character of James Bond has been a mainstay of Western popular culture since the publication of the first novel Casino Royale in 1953. You may only live twice, but the character of Bond continues to regenerate, evolving as the popular culture landscape changes. Always at the centre of the Bond universe are the iconic books, films, songs, technology, Bond girls and fashion. This symposium explores the impact and durability of James Bond in popular culture.
“James Bond will Return: Franchise Longevity, the Bondian Formula and Popular Culture”
The ‘Bond’ franchise is one of the longest running blockbuster franchises in Hollywood history. The property first originated in 1953 with the publication of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale and its movie adaptation Dr No (1962) and has since developed as a cross-platform franchise made up of novels, a live television segment, movies, an animated television series, comic books, video games, and tabletop games. With a history spanning almost seven decades, the ‘Bond’ franchise is constituted by an extensive transtextual canvas that has enabled the development of a formula Bond producers call ‘the Bondian’. The persistence and transformations of this formula are instrumental to the history of the ‘Bond’ franchise, and it also informs how we understand the negotiations and developments that can drive franchise longevity.
This paper examines the relationship between franchise longevity, the Bondian formula, and popular culture. It will position the ‘Bond’ franchise within the contemporary franchise era and consider what the continuities and transformations of the Bondian formula reveal about the franchise mode in the early twenty-first century. The ‘Bond’ franchise is a compelling case study for understanding the working of the franchise mode because its long-running historical existence extending before and during the franchise era demonstrates how the franchise’s formula has worked to secure its longevity into the early twenty-first century and beyond.