Well, Anthony Horowitz’s third Bond novel is out next year, and while there’s nothing officially confirmed, I have a feeling it might be the last of his contributions. He’s covered the beginning, middle and now the end of the Fleming timeline after all.
Which inevitably brings up the question of what’s next for the literary Bond. Do they continue with novels set after or during the Fleming canon, which has been the norm since 2008 (Carte Blance notwithstanding?) Do they attempt another modern-day reboot?
One option which I haven’t seen discussed yet anywhere but which could be interesting is the possibility of additional prequels - but not to Bond’s early missions as 007, but rather, to his service during WW2 and/or his early post-war service.
A WW2 set novel could feature the exploits of Lieutanant Bond during the war, as part of Naval Intelligence. We’d see the beginnings of his career in espionage, and the experiences that start to transform a teenaged orphan into one of Britain’s finest agents. Or we could see Bond work with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), as it is often speculated he did.
Then there’s the post-war era of course, with Bond first joining the Secret Service. We already know, from the odd reference in the Fleming novels, that Bond spent some time on a long assignment in Jamaica after the war, working with a man called Charles DaSilva. This could be an interesting period to explore - we have a Bond who’s a war veteran but who’s starting to navigate the realities of being a secret agent just as the Cold War begins. And it would also present us with Bond in the years leading up to his becoming a 00.
Both are exciting options, with the post-war option giving us something a little closer to the kind of Bond adventure we’re used to. Of course, an argument could be made that this approach doesn’t exactly give us the ‘‘James Bond 007’’ we all know and love. But if the world can accept Young Bond, then I think a Bond who’s actually old enough to be a spy, but young enough to be a very different take on the character, could be interesting.
Yet another option is to maybe set the book across two timelines, and have Bond in the 50’s or 60’s dealing with a mission that has its roots in an earlier mission from the war or post-war period.