With the announcement of the title and cast of the 24th James Bond movie this week, MI6 Confidential found a quote from Daniel Craig that explains why Austin Powers forced them to go a darker direction.

From an interview about Skyfall, Craig explains that wasn't just a general trend toward gritty reboots that caused the massive tonal shift from Die Another Day and Casino Royal. It was also how much the old tropes had become jokes:

The truth of it is that I always had this plan in my head is that we got to make them and begin them again and bring all that back in, but it had to happen the way it did. I can't see it happening any other way. We had to destroy the myth because Mike Myers fucked us - I am a huge Mike Myers fan, so don't get me wrong - but he kind of fucked us; made it impossible to do the gags. What I am proudest of in Skyfall is the lightness of touch we've been able to bring to back into it but not lose the drama and the action.

The Austin Powers movies not only took aim at every recognizable element of James Bond films, they were huge in pop culture and may have overshadowed some of the later Pierce Brosnan Bond outings, which came out in the same time period. So, says Craig, they had to cut ties with all of those things when Casino Royale came out.

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He also says that in Skyfall, they were able to bring some of the "lightness" of touch. It wasn't just the lightness that came back: the film also brought back the Bond staples of Q and Moneypenny that had been excised in the earlier films. And, from what we've heard about the new movie — Spectre — it seems like even more icons are coming back.

And that may very well be intentional, since the same 2012 interview has Craig name-checking the most famous villain and saying he could return:

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I think we set a good tone [in Skyfall], I think we set a real tone, but I am happy for fucking exploding volcano lairs. Obviously I am joking but what I love and what I really wanted to achieve with Skyfall was a level of fantasy, it's one of the less violent ones, there's less blood, and people aren't dying in a horrible way, and it feels like much more of a family movie, and they should be family movies. I don't want to go ludicrous and we've got to keep them in reality, but Christ almighty, the world's fucking weird and there's plenty we can start mining and taking out. If Blofeld turned up again, it wouldn't be a bad thing.

Not to give a two-year-old interview too much weight, but that last line is just more fuel to the speculation fire.

[via Cinema Blend]