The long-running battle between Kevin McClory and his estate with MGM and Danjaq, who own the rights to James Bond and related characters, is finally over after fifty years with MGM able to acquire the rights to the 007 franchise that had been held by McClory, who helped come up with the story for Thunderball with creator Ian Fleming. In the process of doing so, McClory has claimed that he created many of the iconic characters from the world of James Bond, presumably Blofeld and SPECTRE, who would appear in successive movies following that.
The lawsuits started flying in 1961 when McClory sued Fleming and received partial copyright to Thunderball that allowed him to remake it with Sean Connery in 1983 under the title Never Say Never Again. Neither MGM nor EON Productions have ever included that movie in any of the many James Bond box sets, considering it to take place outside of canon. Sony tried buying the rights from McClory and were promptly sued by MGM and McClory and his estate continued to be a problem for MGM and Danjaq over the years.
What could this mean for the future of the James Bond franchise? Well, for one thing, Danjaq’s production division EON Productions could now theoretically introduce a new Ernst Stavro Blofeld or reintroduce SPECTRE after having created the crime organization “Quantum” for the Daniel Craig reboot Casino Royale.
No details of the settlement or the amount paid have been released.
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