Kevin McClory, also referred to as James McClory sometimes, has lost his appeal in a US Federal Appeals Court for rights to the James Bond series. McClory alleged in a 1998 lawsuit that he owned the rights to the novel "Thunderball" and to script materials developed while working on that screenplay, which introduced the world to the criminal organization SPECTRE, run by villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
SPECTRE first appeared in the very first Bond film, Dr No, however, a Thunderball script had been in the works before Dr No but after troubles with McClory it was put aside. McClory did work with Ian Fleming in the 1950's in an attempt to bring James Bond to the big screen and as a result sought royalties from Bond films released between 1962 and 1977. Which would see him pick up royalties for Dr No through to The Spy Who Loved Me.
McClory did work on the EON Productions version of Thunderball and was given both writing and producing credits. In 1983 Never Say Never Again was released which McClory also received writing and producing credits for, however, this was a non-EON film and is often disregarded by Bond fans as a real Bond film.
McClory has been in the courts over his rights to James Bond many times. In 1976 Kevin McClory went to court, this time supported by Sean Connery, and claimed that The Spy Who Loved Me, which was in production, featured elements of a script that both McClory and Connery were writing. They hoped to have production stopped.
In 1997 Sony aquired the rights to McClory's Bond rights and intended to launch their own James Bond series. But Danjaq Productions then sued Sony, its Columbia pictures subsidiary and Mr McClory. Sony and McClory counter-sued, however, Sony soon dropped their own case leaving McClory to fight Danjaq on his own in 1998.
However, in this case the court ruled that McClory had waited too long to bring his case to court and it was ruled that McClory had no rights to the James Bond franchise.
Which brings up to present day. McClory appealed the decision in a higher US Court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Heading the court Judge Margaret McKeown ruled on Monday to uphold the previous decision made by a lower court that Mr McClory had waited too long to bring his case.
"A hero seeking to redeem his stolen fortune. The villainous organization that stands in his way. Mystery! International intrigue! And now, not least of all, the dusty corners of the ancient law of equity," Judge Margaret McKeown wrote in a 35-page opinion.
"We conclude that McClory's claims are barred in their entirety … (and) affirm the district court's dismissal of McClory's suit," McKeown wrote. "So like our hero James Bond, exhausted after a long adventure, we reach the end of our story."
And much like that it seems that Kevin McClory will never again produce another Bond film. If you’d like to discuss this story please do so in the CommanderBond.net Forums. See you there!
Finally, a big thank you to Luke Freeman for sending the original news into me!