There was recent news concerning the release of the newest and yet-unnamed James Bond movie.
The film should be in theaters at some point in 2020 and will be the 25th in the ongoing series that dates to 1962, making it not only the longest-running but most successful movie franchise in history.
What has been James Bond's hold on us? The concept of Agent 007 and his license to kill has captivated audiences since John F. Kennedy sat in the White House. And it has done so without nudity and only modest violence.
The strength of the Bond films has relied on snappy dialogue, gadgetry, breathtaking sets and, of course, the personality of the secret agent himself. That doesn't mean there has not been a dud or two along the way when it comes to the men who portrayed Bond, but audiences of the franchise are much like fans of the New York Yankees. They realize there will be a lean year here or there, but for the most part most seasons will be successful.
The new Bond film will also be the first since 2015, the second-longest gap in releases in the 57-year history of Agent 007. The longest break came between 1989 and 1995 when the series was re-establishing itself following the brief but disastrous Timothy Dalton era and introducing replacement Pierce Brosnan.
The 2020 Bond film will be Daniel Craig's finale in the role, which is sad. He's by far been the best Bond since Sean Connery created the 007 legend.
Here are some personal thoughts as Bond fans worldwide begin the countdown to 2020:
º Best Bond Ever: Connery gets the nod because he is the man who created the mystique and helped James Bond become an integral part of pop culture.
º Best Connery 007 Film: "Goldfinger (1964)" is the automatic choice for many, but "From Russia With Love (1963)" is right there with it.
º Best Bond Ever II: Craig has provided the role a grittiness it had never experienced and elevated the series into a far more dramatic realm. Many of the 007 films through the early to mid-1980s -- especially the Roger Moore efforts -- could not escape the feel of a comic book. That's no longer the case.
º Best Craig 007 Film: "Casino Royale (2006)," "Quantum of Solace (2008," "Skyfall (2012)" and "Spectre (2015)" have all been magnificent.
º Worst Bond Ever: No one's close to Dalton's ineptness. Creators cut ties with the English actor after two films, which were two too many.
º Best Bet to Succeed Craig: Craig insists the 2020 film will be his finale as Bond, so who is next? In my opinion, any of these would be excellent choices:
1. Idris Elba: He's been atop most rumor mills for five years and has established a solid resume in works such as "The Wire," "Luther," "Thor" and "Avengers."
2. Tom Hardy: His chances gained more momentum following a strong performance in "Mad Max."
3. Christian Bale: The quirky Bale has a tremendous on-screen intensity that would seem to be perfect for the new-age 007.
4. James Norton: Remember this name. Norton is an Englishman who has starred in several successful British TV shows and has always wanted to play a Bond villain. Maybe he'll get the chance to be Bond himself.