The Queen’s Gambit was easily one of the best TV surprises of 2020. Viewers around the world were captivated by the fictional story of Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy hoping to rise within the male-dominated chess landscape while also dealing with addiction and emotional problems. The show is definitely unique in its depiction of chess, but one of the show’s consultants thinks it also has something in common with the early James Bond films.
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov is one of a handful of experts who was brought on to The Queen’s Gambit by the show’s creators. When he was recently asked about whether or not the story could be told outside of the ‘60s, he shot down the notion, saying that like the early James Bond films, the story is unique to that decade:
No, no. Chess has changed. This is the beauty of the story, that it belongs to America of the ’60s. It’s like James Bond movies: You can move James Bond, but you see the latest films, they have very little resemblance with the original ones.
Garry Kasparov makes a fair point, especially when you consider how “of the time” the earlier installments in the storied 007 franchise are. It’s true that the character of James Bond is still alive and well today, but the stories are quite different since they employ modern storytelling sensibilities. Plus, classic films like Dr. No and From Russia with Love just wouldn’t be the same without the pristine aesthetic that permeated many films of the ‘60s.
The whole story of Elizabeth Harmon, it’s the story of Bobby Fischer, but it’s a female version. You have drugs, substances, and alcohol, but it’s very difficult to uproot it from the ’60s and put it elsewhere. There’s a lot of people talking about the next season. I haven’t spoken to Scott about it, but it’s a big challenge because, A) you don’t have a book, and B) where does she go, from Moscow, from 1968? what’s next?
The Queen’s Gambit is based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel of the same name, and it was the only story the author wrote about Beth Harmon before his passing in 1984. With this, there’s no telling if Season 2 would actually become a reality yet, of course, the James Bond films (which are based on the novels of Ian Fleming) have managed to create additional films without source material. But admittedly, the reception to those particular films can vary.
Regardless of whether or not The Queen’s Gambit team can crack a story for a new season, the series works well as a limited series. So if we don’t get to see any more from Anya Taylor-Joy’s Beth Harmon, fans can rest easy knowing they received a satisfying tale.