Even Skyfall, which took a huge step forward in an effort to go back to the past with the inclusion of the classic mission briefing office, a male M, a new Q, and a new Moneypenny, still couldn't resist scoffing at the exploding Parker pen from GoldenEye and insisting that things were different. Nobody must have given Q the memo that the fingerprint gun was already used in License to Kill and the GPS tracker was in Goldfinger, but that's beside the point.
Spectre managed to have tons of references to the films of different eras, and as I was watching the film, each one of them that I spotted made me giddy with joy and confused my friends who aren't as into the franchise as I am. To help break down just why there were so many times that I was giggling like a schoolgirl, I figured I would compile a list to show off just why this was the film for a James Bond fan.
*NOTE: Some of these listed below are definitely planned, while others may actually just be me jumping to a conclusion and weren't actually intentional. I also may be missing some, so if you know of any others that aren't on this list, please send them our way in the comments!
Keeping the Continuity
Before we list the things that are homages, we should establish the difference between those kinds of references and the ones that are within the actual continuity of the movies. These Daniel Craig films do a much better job at keeping things together, where they are actual sequels to each other instead of more randomized followups. For example, Bond still has M's bulldog paperweight thing that she gave him in Skyfall. Characters like Vesper Lynd, Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene, and Raoul Silva are referenced, as is Felix Leiter. It's nice to see that the integrity of the series hasn't been muddied up yet.
The Obvious S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Connections
The S.P.E.C.T.R.E. organization itself makes its return, as does its leader, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Although he's not referred to as Number 1 in this movie, he's given his trademark eye scar from You Only Live Twice as well as his white cat and is first seen in the shadows sitting at a conference table, similar to how we were introduced to him in From Russia With Love and Thunderball before getting our first good look at him.
The Opening Gun Barrel
Before the Daniel Craig era, every James Bond film opened with the iconic gun barrel sequence. The music changed slightly from time to time, the actors were different (sometimes not even being the guy who played Bond himself, as the first three films used stuntman Bob Simmons instead of Sean Connery.
With Casino Royale, though, this stopped happening, which greatly annoyed me. I somewhat understood the lack of it for the first reboot, but when it wasn't the opening for Quantum of Solace or Skyfall, it got under my skin. Thankfully, this is restored to the start of the film for Spectre, which made me thrilled right off the bat.
James Bond Will Return
Just as the beginning's got its traditions, so too does the end of a 007 film. Even though it means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, as we know the franchise isn't going to die any time soon, I made sure to stay for the full credits to check out the usual "James Bond will return" text, which has followed every film in some fashion. Although they can't name the next movie like they used to, it's still reassuring to see those words and know that in a few years, Bond will be back in some form.
Something Comma Something
Have you ever noticed that the two most iconic lines of dialogue from the James Bond character both use the pattern "____, _____" in some way? It took four films, but finally, Daniel Craig's Bond was able to say both "Bond, James Bond" and "shaken, not stirred" in Spectre rather than dancing around it.
Aston Martin DB5
Easily the most iconic vehicle from the Bond series is the Aston Martin, particularly the DB5 model which became synonymous with 007 in Goldfinger. Since that film, it's been used several times to varying degrees, including Skyfall. It makes another appearance here, and after Bond points out the make and model of a Rolls-Royce earlier in the movie and waits for his baby to be restored, it gives off the vibe that the DB5 is going nowhere. It appears to have taken on a new life as Bond's preferred car, similar to how he was attached to his Beretta 418 before taking up the Walther PPK and later, P99. If Bond were to drive off into the sunset, it would definitely be in this car.
009's Bad Luck
The 00 agents are the best of the best, and since 007 is our protagonist, it's no surprise that he's at the top of that group, even. In fact, the only one who seems to be close to a match to his skill level is 008, who has yet to be killed in any of the films, probably because he's described as "a good man, more careful than Bond" in the novel Goldfinger. Some don't have that much luck, however, and the worst of them all is poor 009. One of them is killed in Octopussy while dressed as a clown, of all things. In The World is Not Enough, 009 somehow found a way to fail his task of killing Renard after putting a bullet through his head. In the novel Deadly Double, another 009 is killed, and yet another bites the dust in Serpent's Tooth.
While 009 does not get killed in Spectre, he does get his car stolen by 007 and made fun of for having bad taste in music. Poor guy.
Madeleine Swann = Tracy Bond / On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Did anybody else get the feeling that Léa Seydoux's character Madeleine Swann was very reminiscent of Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, aka Tracy Draco, aka Tracy Bond from On Her Majesty's Secret Service? Tracy is the daughter of Marc-Ange Draco, head of the Union Corse crime syndicate. Madeleine is the daughter of Mr. White, who is a member of Quantum, which is a subdivision of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Both of them have an action sequence in a snowy area, both want to resist Bond's charms, and both fall deeply for him in a way that convinces him to seemingly leave the spy game. Also, for extra added measure, On Her Majesty's Secret Service ends with Tracy and Bond driving off and her being killed by Blofeld, while Spectre ends with Madeleine and Bond driving off and her having been almost killed by Blofeld had Bond not been able to save her.
Moneypenny's Love Life
The relationship between Bond and Moneypenny has always been one of flirtation leading absolutely nowhere. Usually, it's Moneypenny expressing her frustration that Bond doesn't take her out or give her flowers or something, but every so often, Bond gets jealous. In GoldenEye, for example, Bond interrogates Moneypenny on the clothes she's wearing and the date she was going on. In Spectre, Bond overhears that there's a man sleeping over at Moneypenny's place and calls her out on it. By the way, was it just me, or was that supposed to be Denbigh that she was sleeping with and that plot point was just dropped?
The recurring joke for Q Branch's weapons is that they're not making it back to the lab in top shape. Just as Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese before him, Ben Whishaw's Q dislikes Bond's destructiveness, stating that when it comes to the car, he asked for it to come back "in one piece," not for "one piece" to come back.
River Thames Boat Sequence
In both this film and The World is Not Enough, Bond emerges from MI6 headquarters in a boat and proceeds to chase a villain on the River Thames. Bonus points for how both also involve the villain trying to get away in an aerial vehicle that eventually proves itself unsuccessful as it explodes—a hot air balloon in The World is Not Enough and a helicopter in Spectre.
Live and Let Die, Repeat
Excuse the Edge of Tomorrow pun—I couldn't resist. In Live and Let Die, one of the primary villains is the voodoo priest Baron Samedi. The opening of Spectre revolves around the Day of the Dead, involving many people dressed up as masked skeletons. Although the cultures are different, I would not be surprised at all if someone on the production crew managed to sneak in an actual Baron Samedi costume among the crowd.
Perhaps the most beloved fight between Bond and one of his villains is the train fight with Red Grant in From Russia With Love. Clearly, Sam Mendes and company have a fondness for that, as the henchman Hinx meets his demise while battling 007 in a train in a more modern and smashy-smashy take on the scenario.
Moonraker Control Room
This may be a stretch, but there is a scene where Blofeld is showing off a room filled with tons of people working at stations with monitors with surveillance all over the world. The first thing I thought of when seeing this set design was of something similar in Moonraker. Since there are no clear photos of this scene from Spectre yet, I can't post a comparison, but if you've already seen the film or if you plan on seeing it, look out for something that looks similar to this:
Did You Expect Me to Talk?
Everybody knows the scene in Goldfinger where Bond is strapped to the table and the laser is about to cut him to shreds. In Spectre, Blofeld has Bond strapped to what looks like a dentistry chair and threatens him with several needles and drills.
Speaking of Goldfinger, Bond has an ejector seat in his car which he uses to dispatch one of the villains. In Spectre, Bond uses his ejector seat on himself so he can escape the car and the clutches of Mr. Hinx.
White Tuxedo and Red Carnation
Another from Goldfinger was Bond's suit during the train sequence, which was a white tuxedo finished off by a red carnation.
Do You Know How to Use One of These?
In GoldenEye, Bond hands a gun to Natalya and asks if she knows how to use one. She proceeds to load it properly without any instruction, much to Bond's surprise. In Spectre, Bond assumes Madeleine has never used one before and goes so far as to point out where the trigger is. To his surprise, she dismantles it, explaining that she's used one before.
Hole of Operations
In You Only Live Twice, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.'s base of operations is a volcano, which erupts. In Spectre, they've made a base out of a crater that was formed from a meteorite. Take a guess as to whether or not it explodes.
The Hildebrand Rarity
A safe house in Spectre brandishes the name Hildebrand and states that it deals with rarities, which is an obvious reference to The Hildebrand Rarity—a short story which was included in the collection dubbed For Your Eyes Only. Thankfully, there's no subplot in this film about a fish.
Michael G. Wilson
Although I actually don't know for sure whether or not he's in this movie, Michael G. Wilson has made his cameo a regular Easter egg, so I have to imagine he's there somewhere. Perhaps he's in the meeting with the Nine Eyes? I'll be looking out for him on my second viewing for sure.
That's about all I could spot, but did you notice any others? Tell us in the comments below!