James Bond meets the MCU in the Russo brothers’ spectacular spy saga Citadel. The Russos tell Total Film magazine, in the latest issue, which features Fast X on the cover, about the Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden-led series heading to Prime Video very soon.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about espionage thrillers, it’s that you can’t trust anyone or anything, and Prime Video’s spy series suggest the instability of the world – and the duality of the characters – from the off. This kind of duality has been explored in high-concept spy fare like the Bourne series and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. The Bond films as well, particularly in the Daniel Craig era but also notably in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, have explored the dichotomy inherent in 007 that makes it impossible for him to reconcile his job with a family life. Citadel shares other traits with the long-running 25-films-strong secret-agent franchise. So, is this the Russos’ answer to Bond?
"It’s an accurate way to talk about it, without question," says Joe Russo to Total Film. "I mean, we loved Bond growing up." The mission (yes, they chose to accept it), he says, was to compete with theatrical large-scale spy movies and stories. Anthony cuts in. "We’re immense fans of Bond, but our job is to try to take what we love about these sorts of genres and films that have influenced us and figure out ways to push them into spaces and places that surprise us … Our job as storytellers isn’t to bring you another version of Bond. Our job as storytellers is to bring you a fresh experience that you are excited and surprised by. So hopefully we hit that mark. We’ll see."
The Bond comparisons don't stop there either, with Joe sharing that conversations about creating new roles like Bond for women featured in their early conversations for the show. "This is a genre that traditionally has a male lead," he adds to TF. "And so what was interesting to us was upending that. Priyanka is really gifted physically. She is a badass on camera and she kicks a lot of ass in the show. Without giving too much away, her character is driving a lot of the action for the better part of the series, and Richard’s character is playing catch up. That was a really interesting and exciting idea for us."
The Avengers: Endgame directors also think Citadel could do for spies what the MCU did for superheroes. "We certainly do think of it as a spy-verse," says Anthony, "that’s the approach we took with it."
Citadel streams on Prime Video from April 28. This is just a snippet from our huge feature on the new show, which also features interviews with Madden, Chopra Jonas, and showrunner David Weil. Grab a copy of the new issue of Total Film magazine which is now out on shelves (and digital newsstands). Check out the covers below:
If you're a fan of Total Film, why not subscribe so that you never miss an issue? You'll get the magazine before it's in shops, with exclusive subscriber-only covers (like the one pictured below). And with our latest offer you can get a free pair of noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds worth £79.99. Head to MagazinesDirect to find out more (Ts and Cs apply)