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Spectre’s Ralph Fiennes Reveals The Massive Cut Twist He Fought Against For His James Bond Character

Ralph Fiennes is no stranger to playing the bad guy. Through a career that’s seen him play a nefarious figure in Schindler’s List, In Bruges, and of course the Harry Potter series, the man is perfectly practiced in the arts of menace. But even he has a code when it comes to certain characters, and when it came to his role in Daniel Craig’s fourth James Bond film Spectre, Fiennes recently revealed there was a massive twist he fought to cut from his incarnation of M. What’s even crazier is, we think we know how that revelation was eventually kept in director Sam Mendes’ second 007 film. 

That Massive Spectre Twist Ralph Fiennes Fought Off

In a conversation on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Fiennes’ work as the most recent spy chief in the world of Bond was brought up. While the actor was appearing to promote his work on The King’s Man, he definitely had quite a bit to say about his connections to the James Bond universe. The most shocking revelation was the fact that, according to Ralph Fiennes himself, M was supposed to break bad in Spectre. Here’s why he fought against it: 

I think I can say now that I had to fight off an attempt by Sam in Spectre to make M – I said I don’t want to play M and then you turn around and make him the bad guy. M is never the bad guy. So I had to have some pretty intense discussions with Sam saying, ‘This is not flying with me.’ … It was like he was Blofeld or something, but that was a red line.

There certainly have been moments where M’s of past and present have been involved in dealings that may have been a bit shady. Even Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory wasn’t immune to that sort of thing, as No Time To Die saw his dirty little secret, known as “Project Heracles” endangering the world. But M has never been a flat out baddie, and has been held as a sacrosanct character in the MI6 family, alongside Moneypenny and Q. However, that twist that Fiennes fought against looks like it reared its head in Spectre after all, just with a different character holding the knife.

Andrew Scott sits menacingly at his desk in Spectre.

(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

How That Twist May Have Been Tweaked In Spectre’s Final Form

Throughout Spectre’s twisted tale of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Chrisoph Waltz) and his present day resurrection, a menace was embedded right at the heart of the intelligence community. Antagonistic bureaucrat Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott,) also known as “C,” turns out to be Blofeld’s link into a program known as “Nine Eyes.” Without going into too much details, as you can read more about how that affects Spectre’s role in the Daniel Craig era, C’s job was to make sure this massive worldwide surveillance net was installed without a hitch; and with the right man on the inside. 

Knowing now that Sam Mendes and company wanted to turn M into a villain in Spectre, it seems that if it wasn’t for Ralph Fiennes pushing back, this would have been the role he played. Presumably, James Bond and M would have had that heart to heart about moronic versus careless behavior, with Bond’s boss taking a swan dive into the lobby. It has to be said, Mr. Fiennes’ instincts were correct on this one, and the scene we got as a result is one of the film’s most memorable moments: 

Change is something that’s made the Daniel Craig era of James Bond all the more exciting, especially with the groundbreaking results of No Time To Die’s destined to be iconic finale. However, the drive for innovation must always be curbed by certain limitations; one of which is that you never make the MI6 family the villain. Who knows if that rule will be broken in the future, but for now, Ralph Fiennes seems to have ensured it’ll be a bit before those in the writer’s room try again. 

You can see Mr. Fiennes playing both M and Bond in his own way, thanks to his current releases on offer. No Time To Die is currently available to rent and own, through physical and digital platforms; while The King’s Man is showing only in theaters at the moment. For all of the adventure you could hope for in the new year, head over to our 2022 release schedule and see what twists await in the months to come.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.