The Biggest James Bond Movie Ever Had A Last Minute Title

James Bond Skyfall is the biggest movie to date and was nearly called Once Upon a Spy.

By Mark McKee | Published

When you have a franchise that is six decades old, firsts are hard to come by. There are always things that have been done, redone, rebooted, retconned, and reimagined to keep the property fresh throughout the years, especially when there are two dozen films within it. Daniel Craig‘s run as James Bond was teeming with firsts throughout his tenure, and his third run at the character, Skyfall, accomplished a few on its own. It was the first movie to kill off the main character, replace the M position, the first to show a backstory for Moneypenny, and the first to show his childhood home, called Skyfall, which nearly had a different name up until the last minute.

In the interview with THR, long-time James Bond scribes, who wrote Skyfall after 25 years when they began writing the super spy, revealed that their process went up to the last second before they submitted the script. According to the writers, the name of the estate was going to be Green Mantel or Mandalay, and the title of the movie was initially Once Upon a Spy. Apparently, everyone involved in the project believed that something was missing from the script; when they put their finger on it, they changed the name of the estate and the title of the movie to Skyfall

james bond skyfall

The title wasn’t the only thing that changed when the team began working on the film; James Bond almost had to deal with the death of M in the movie prior to SkyfallQuantum of Solace. When the writers were working on the script, they felt M’s death deserved a little more depth and emotion than the film had time for, and they decided to get rid of that storyline. They also changed the name of Ralph Fiennes‘ Mallory from the original name in the script, Mallender. 

Of course, not everything had to be changed; one thing that stayed the same from the moment they began working on the script was that the people involved in the project had nobody in mind for the villain except Javier Bardem. Daniel Craig wanted someone to be James Bond’s Equal in Skyfall, and the team had always been intrigued with Bardem; in fact, they had him in mind for the main villain of Jinx, the Halle Berry spin-off that was supposed to happen after her appearance in Die Another Day. When that project was scrapped, the working name of Silva in Skyfall was Javier, as if manifesting Bardem’s involvement. 

Daniel Craig’s third installment of his James Bond franchise was the first to reach $1 billion, and Skyfall influenced more than just the film; the music industry also felt the ripples with Adele’s opening credit’s theme song. While Once Upon a Spy sounds like a classic James Bond title and something straight out of a Roger Moore-era film title, we can’t help but think they made the right choice. Once Upon a Spy just wouldn’t have the same ring to it, even out of Adele’s pipes.