Spectre (an acronym of Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), is a fictional global criminal and terrorist organisation featured in the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. Led by 007's nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the organisation first formally appeared in the novel Thunderball (1961) and subsequently in the movie Dr. No (1962). After a four-decade absence from the film series made by EON Productions, the organisation was reintroduced in the twenty-fourth Bond film, Spectre (2015) and reappeared in the twenty-fifth, No Time to Die (2021).
In the EON Productions James Bond series, which began in 1962 with Dr. No, Spectre plays a prominent role. The organisation is first mentioned in Dr. No as the organisation for which Dr. Julius No works. The film adaptation of From Russia with Love also features the first on-screen appearance of Blofeld, although he is only identified by name in the closing credits of the film. After being absent from Goldfinger, Spectre returns in Thunderball and subsequently is featured in the following films You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever.
Following Diamonds Are Forever, Spectre and Blofeld were retired from the EON film series due to a long-standing litigation case starting in 1961 between producer/writer Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming over the film rights to Thunderball and its contents. In 1963 Ian Fleming settled out of court with McClory, which awarded McClory with the film rights to Thunderball, although the literary rights would stay with Fleming and thus allow continuation author John Gardner to use Spectre in a number of his novels. Although Spectre and Blofeld are used in a number of films before and after Thunderball, the issue over the copyright of Thunderball did prevent Spectre and Blofeld from becoming the main villains in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. Consequently, the producers chose to dispose of Blofeld (not identified by name, but bald and accompanied by the character's trademark cat), writing him out of the series during the opening sequence of For Your Eyes Only.
In 1963 the producers of EON Productions, Albert R. Broccoli, and Harry Saltzman had made an agreement with McClory to adapt the novel into the fourth James Bond film. The agreement also stipulated that McClory would not be allowed to make further adaptations of Thunderball for at least ten years after its release. In autumn 1983, after almost a decade of development and complications, Warner Bros. finally released Kevin McClory's James Bond film Never Say Never Again. The film retells the story of Thunderball and reintroduces both Spectre and its leader Blofeld (Max von Sydow).
Due to the embargo placed on the series as a result of the copyright dispute, the rebooted 2006 series introduced a new terrorist cell known as Quantum, which is later revealed to be a subsidiary of Spectre. Starting with Casino Royale, it is revealed Le Chiffre and a reluctant Vesper Lynd are part of the group, serving under the mysterious Mr. White. Quantum of Solace elaborates the eponymous group, presenting Quantum as an amalgam of powerful business people and government operatives.
On November 15, 2013, MGM and Danjaq, LLC announced they had acquired all rights and interests of the estate of the late Kevin McClory, who had died in 2006. With the rights to Blofeld and Spectre in their possession, EON Productions officially reintroduced the organisation into its rebooted film series with the release of Spectre in 2015. Retconning the poorly received Quantum of Solace, the film placed Quantum as a subsection of the wider organisation with Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) the mastermind behind previous films—including Raoul Silva's vengeful rampage in Skyfall—taunting Bond with his previous failures and setting up a more traditional rendition of the Bond mythos for future installments. Spectre presents the organisation as a conspiracy of legitimate businesses and organised crime, moving to become a private intelligence agency.
Spectre reappears as a minor antagonistic force in the 2021 film No Time to Die. It is revealed that the organization ordered the assassination of Lyutsifer Safin's family, which was carried out by Mr. White. Lyustifer was spared, but his face was disfigured, and he swore revenge against the organization. Years later, following the events of Spectre, the organization staged an ambush for Bond in Matera, Italy at Vesper Lynd's gravesite, which had the effect of driving Madeleine Swann and Bond apart due to her perceived betrayal of Bond. Spectre would then reconvene in 2020 to celebrate Blofeld's 74th birthday which, in reality, was a trap set with the intent of killing Bond via Heracles nanobots. However, on Safin's orders, Valdo Obruchev reprogrammed the nanobots to instead target the members of Spectre, killing all in attendance. Blofeld was later killed via the same method, completely wiping out the organization.
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