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Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers! Plot and/or ending details follow.


"Me. It was all me, James. Its always been me. The author of all your pain."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, born Franz Oberhauser, is the main antagonist of the Classic rebooted James Bond series, serving as the unseen overarching antagonist of the first three films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, the main antagonist of Spectre and one of the two main antagonists (alongside Lyutsifer Safin) of No Time to Die.

He was the fictional founder and head of the global criminal organization SPECTRE. Loosely based on the literary character created by Ian Fleming, Blofeld and was portrayed by Austrian-German actor, Christoph Waltz.

Re-invented for the Daniel Craig continuity of James Bond films (2006-present), Waltz's Blofeld is the foster brother of 007 and the leader of SPECTRE, which is bent on controlling global surveillance through the "Nine Eyes" program. In addition, the film explicitly links Blofeld with the activities of Bond's antagonists since 2006's Casino Royale, including Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene, and Raoul Silva.

Biography

Background

"Franz Oberhauser died twenty years ago, James. In an avalanche alongside his father. The man you're talking to now, the man inside your head, is Ernst Stavro Blofeld."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]

Born Franz Oberhauser, he was the son of Austrian climbing and skiing instructor, Hannes Oberhauser. In 1983[3], Hannes was given temporary custody over the 12-year old British orphan, James Bond, following the death of his parents in a climbing accident. Over the course of two years, he taught the boy to ski, climb and hunt.[4] Franz grew jealous of his father's strong paternal relationship with Bond; an obsession which culminated in the young man murdering his father in a staged avalanche in Kitzbühel. Also assumed killed, Franz subsequently fled and adopted his mother's maiden name: styling himself, "Ernst Stavro Blofeld". He re-emerged years later, as the leader of the vast and shadowy terrorist organization known as SPECTRE. Involved in numerous high-level underworld dealings, Blofeld was the architect of many of the events in Bond's Secret Intelligence Service career; claiming to be responsible for the actions of Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene, Raoul Silva, as well as the deaths of Vesper Lynd and former SIS head, Olivia Mansfield ("M").

Spectre

Dismantaling of MI6

By 2012-15, Blofeld had become increasingly utilitarian and ruthless. Alongside counterfeit pharmaceuticals, human trafficking and prostitution, his organisation increasingly made use of terrorism.[5] Conspiring with the Director-General of the Joint Security Service, Max Denbigh, SPECTRE orchestrated a series of global terrorist bombings in order to generate interest in Denbigh's proposed global surveillance initiative, "Nine Eyes". In return, SPECTRE would be given unlimited access to intelligence gathered by the highly invasive system. Around the same time, Blofeld ordered the death of former high-ranking subordinate, Mr. White, who had become disenchanted with the organisation and its trajectory. After failing to kill him outright with thallium, Blofeld dispatched assassins to finish the job.

Reunion with James Bond

Blofeld chairs the SPECTRE meeting in Rome

"Welcome, James. It's been a long time... and, finally, here we are! What took you so long?"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]

Despite its secrecy, the activities of SPECTRE had not gone unnoticed by the head of the Secret Intelligence Service. M had then posthumously dispatched James Bond to assassinate one of their operatives, Marco Sciarra, with the intention of drawing its members out of hiding. As predicted, Blofeld attended his funeral in Rome and, realizing that she is a liability, arranged a failed attempt on the life of Sciarra's widow, Lucia Sciarra. Later that evening, Blofeld chaired a rare meeting of the organisation at the Palazzo Cardenza; during which Mr. Hinx was violently chosen as Sciarra's replacement, with the brutal murder Guerra, with Blofeld watching as Hinx gouged out Guerra's eyes before breaking his neck. Like his predecessor, Hinx was dispatched to eliminate Mr. White. Bond discreetly infiltrated the meeting, but Blofeld perceived his presence and called out to the spy; sending Lorenzo to detain him. A skirmish ensued, and during the commotion, Blofeld swiftly departed for his Saharan Crater Facility while his men attempted to stop Bond.

Torture of James Bond

Blofeld welcoming James Bond to his base

"So, James, why did you come?"
"I've come to kill you."
"And I thought you came here to die.
"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]

Blofeld was not surprised when James Bond and Madeleine Swann, determined the location of his base of operations. Greeted with a formal reception, Blofeld took them on a tour of his data-collection facility. He attempted to psychologically intimidate the pair, demonstrating his organisation's vast reach, and sadistically taunted Bond with intimate knowledge his past failures. This included showing Swannn footage of Bond and Mr. White, moments before her father had shot himself, which Bond had furiously demanded that Blofeld turn off. Enraged and determined to prevent Swann from seeing her father's death, Bond charged at Blofeld, only to be knocked to the ground by one of Blofeld's henchmen. Concluding, Blofeld had Bond struck unconscious and strapped him to a Neurosurgical Chair, ready to be tortured.

Blofeld explains his identity to James Bond

Revealing his new identity, the mastermind declared his intention to intimately torture Bond by drilling into his skull, the seat of his soul; depriving him of the ability to recognize faces, and, ultimately, destroying his visual cortex, leaving him completely blind. He was saved by Swann, who hurled the spy's explosive wristwatch at Blofeld's control console, which violently detonated and threws him across the room. In the chaos, Bond escaped and shots a fuel line, causing the entire complex to be consumed in an enormous fireball. Somehow, Blofeld survived the conflagration, but was left severely scarred on the right side of his face and, ironically, blind in his right eye.

Defeated and Captured

Blofeld reveals his new scar to James Bond

"I've really put you through it, haven't I? Oh, that's brothers for you; they always know which buttons to press."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond

Bond returned to London to prevent "Nine Eyes", with Blofeld following him to exact his revenge. He separately abducted Swann and Bond, and took them both to the ruins of the old SIS Building, which was scheduled for demolition. 007 freed himself and confronted Blofeld inside. Separated by a pane of bullet-proof glass, the villain revealed that he had hidden Madeleine somewhere inside the building. It was set to explode in 3 minutes: giving Bond the sadistic choice of dying alongside her, or saving himself and living with the pain. 007 liberated Swann and they narrowly escaped the building.

Blofeld is finally captured by James Bond

Believing them to be dead, Blofeld departed by helicopter - unaware that they were pursuing him along the River Thames in a boat. One of Bond's gunshots started an engine fire; causing the aircraft to crash land on Westminster Bridge. The wounded Blofeld crawled from the wreckage and was confronted by 007. Held at gunpoint, he told the spy to kill him. But Bond refused, ejecting his magazine, clearing the chamber, and stating that he was out of bullets. As Bond departed with Madeleine, SIS chief, Gareth Mallory, detained the villain on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, under the Special Measures Act of 2001. With Denbigh dead and the "Nine Eyes" scheme foiled, Blofeld accepted his fate with resignation.

No Time to Die

Incarceration and Death

Blofeld is visited in prison by James Bond

"You said it yourself: she's very good at hiding things. And when her secret finds its way out, and it will, it will be the death of you..."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]

Blofeld was subsequently incarcerated in HM Prison Belmarsh, United Kingdom, and for years continued to lead SPECTRE from his cell via an advanced ocular implant. Apparently talking to himself from inside of his prison cell, his captors simply dismissed the behaviour as madness. Shortly after his incarceration, Blofeld continued his vendetta against Bond - smearing Swann for an attempt on the spy's life in Matera and manipulating him into leaving her. He would subsequently use her as a psychiatrist; the only person he would ostensibly speak to. Five years later, Blofeld's men obtained a top-secret British nanoweapon named "Heracles". Blofeld arranged to test the DNA-targeting weapon on his nemesis, and lured Bond to a meeting of SPECTRE in Cuba whilst he watched remotely via the implant. However, unbeknownst to Blofeld, he had been betrayed by the weapon's designer; who, at the urging of the vengeful terrorist Lyutsifer Safin, reprogrammed Heracles to massacre the SPECTRE members in attendance.

Blofeld is killed by the Heracles infection

Now the sole remaining member of the organisation, Blofeld came under the scrutiny of SIS, who confiscated his prosthetic eye and permitted Bond to perform an interrogation. Meanwhile, Safin blackmailed Swann into smuggling Heracles into Belmarsh with the intent of infecting Blofeld with the lethal virus-like weapon. Unwilling to do the deed, she inadvertently infected Bond; who, after being goaded by Blofeld, strangled him in a fit of rage. He was consequently infected with Heracles and perished within seconds.

Personality

"Tell me where he is!"
"He's everywhere... everywhere! He's sitting at your desk, he's kissing your lover. He's eating a supper with your family!
"
James Bond and Mr. White[src]

Blofeld was an unpredictable, dangerous, and utterly ruthless megalomaniac of the most diabolical kind. He was incredibly resourceful and had access to vast amounts of weapons, technology, organizations, and illegal activities - in other words, he was able to create and control the SPECTRE. He was an exceptionally calm and reserved person and approached all problems with an insidiously relaxed attitude, even if he was helpless while being held at gunpoint.

He was also extremely intelligent, but in all the worst ways. Blofeld was a master of psychological warfare and could intimidate people by his mere presence, and like all his previous incarnations, he ruled SPECTRE as an absolute totalitarian and tyrannical dictator, despising those who failed or betrayed him, with Mr. White being a perfect example of what happened if anyone dared to leave SPECTRE. His intelligence made him an incredible strategist and allowed him to outwit virtually all his opponents. His genius made him far-sighted and cunning to a fault, and he knew every detail of his opponents' moves, even to the point of placing a sheet of bulletproof glass between him and James Bond during their confrontation in London.

Blofeld was also intensely sadistic, describing himself to Bond as the author of all his pain. Throughout their confrontations, he would ruthlessly play a number of cruel and elaborate games with Bond's mind about his past and the people he had lost all his life, including Vesper Lynd and M, as well as his parents andothers, torturing Bond by drilling holes in his head and penetrating his brain, remaining calm and smiling when Bond screamed in pain, and condemning Mr. White to a very painful death by thallium poisoning. Blofeld had little self-preservation instinct, despite his vile character.

Even when Bond finally threatened him with a gun, Blofeld overconfidently pushed him to pull the trigger, although Bond decided to spare him, knowing he was not worth it. His extreme sadism was actually his undoing, as his need to see Bond suffer just because he felt his father preferred him to him prevented him from committing a more pragmatic murder, such as killing him when he was knocked out in the SPECTRE headquarters.

In prison, Blofeld still had not given up his grudge against Bond, organizing the destruction of Lynd's grave, sabotaging Madeleine Swann's relationship with his half-brother, and attempting to kill Bond in Cuba while he was in a SPECTRE meeting. Sadistic and petty as he was before his imprisonment, he loved to taunt Bond that he needed his help and that he was responsible for the latest attacks on Bond. However, Blofeld's pettiness proved to be his undoing, as Bond, enraged by the revelation of Blofeld's cruelty, temporarily lost his mind and strangled him, unknowingly infecting Blofeld with Heracles, killing him right after.

Henchmen & associates

Weapons & Vehicles

Quotes

"The Kartenhoff, the oldest in human possession. The very meteorite which made this crater. Think about it: so many years up there - alone, silent - building momentum until it chose to make its mark on Earth... a huge unstoppable force."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to this. All of us here together, a reunion! I'm so glad you came too, dear Madeleine.... you were just a girl when I saw you first. I came to your home once to see your father. Shall we?"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond and Madeleine Swann.[src]
"Information is all, is it not? For example, you must know by now that the 00' program is officially dead, which leads me to speculate exactly why you came. So, James, why did you come?"
"I've come to kill you."
"And I thought you came here to die"
"Well, it's all matter of perspective"
"Speaking of perspective.
"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld and James Bond[src]
"It's touching, don't you think?... Well, James, it looks like you're all alone."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"You came across me so many times and yet you never saw me. Le Chiffre, Greene, Silva... A nice pattern developed, you interfered in my world, I destroyed yours. Or did you think it was coincidence that all the women in your life ended up dead? Vesper Lynd for example, she was the big one, has he told you about her? And then of course, your beloved M, gone forever."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"This is important. I want you to understand something; The things that bring people together out of horror... beauty."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"Torture is easy, on a superficial level. A man can watch himself being disemboweled and derive great horror from the experience, but it's still going on at a distance. It isn't taking place where he is. As you know all too well, dear Madeleine, a man lives inside his head; that's where the seed of his soul is. James and I were both present recently when a man was deprived of his eyes and the most astonishing thing happened, didn't you notice? He wasn't there anymore. He had gone even though he was still alive, so this brief moment between life and death, there was nobody inside his skull. Most odd..."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to Madeleine Swann[src]
"You probably know that James here lost his parents when he was young. But did you know that it was my father who helped him through this difficult time? Over the course of two winters he taught him to ski and climb and hunt. He sewed the wounds of the poor little blue-eyed orphan, asked me to treat him as a brother... my little brother."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to Madeleine Swann[src]
"You know what happens when a cuckoo hatches inside another bird's nest? Well, this cuckoo made me realize my father's life had to end. Anyways is he responsible for the path I took. So thank you, cuckoo!"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to Madeleine Swann[src]
"If the needle finds the correct spot in the fusiform gyrus, you recognize no one! Of course the faces of your women changed a lot, eh James? You won't know who she is, just another passing face on your way to the grave."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"He dies not knowing who you are. The daughter of an assassin, the only one who could have understood him. Shame..."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to Madeleine Swann[src]
"Let's look around you, James. Look! This is what's left of your world. Everything you ever stood for, everything you believed in - a ruin!"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"My wounds will heal... what about yours?"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"I've really put you through it, haven't I? But, that's brothers for you; they always know which buttons to press."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"Now... we emerge from the shadows as gods on Mount Olympus. Here's to the end of our pariah. My burden, my brother... James Bond. Goodbye James."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"I didn't need to kill you. I'd already broken you. I wanted to give you an empty world.. like the one you gave me. It's enough to almost make me regret it. Almost."
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]
"Cuckoo!"
― Ernst Stavro Blofeld to James Bond[src]

Gallery

Blofeld (Christoph Waltz)/Gallery

Trivia

  • This version of Blofeld differs from the original in that he has a closer connection to Bond, being his foster brother.
  • While the finished film is silent on much of Blofeld's background and the origins of Spectre, an earlier draft addressed the topic in some detail. In the draft, Mr. White recounts how he and Oberhauser were members of a rogue French Foreign Legion unit called "Les Spectres de Pierre". Following a sandstorm, they were part of a ten men squad stranded in the middle of the desert without rations. Oberhauser killed and cannibalized the other eight men as they slept, sparing only White to help carry the "food".[6]
  • Blofeld usually uses the word "Cuckoo" in reference to James Bond at various points in the film, such as officially revealing himself to Bond during a meeting with SPECTRE as well as when about to torture Bond. This was a reference to how Cuckoo birds are brood parasites that have their eggs laid in other birds nests, with the hatchling eventually kicking out its "siblings" due to its faster growth rate, acting as a further allusion to his hatred of his foster brother due to perceiving him as supplanting him.
  • A character called Franz discovered the frozen corpse of Hannes Oberhauser at the beginning of the 1967-68 comic adaptation of "Octopussy" in the Daily Express, written by Jim Lawrence and drawn by Yaroslav Horak.
  • In an interview with British GQ in April 2015, Christoph Waltz stated that his character was "definitely not" Ernst Stavro Blofeld in any form.[7] This turned out to be a ruse devised by the studio to maintain an air of mystery surrounding the film.
  • This marks the first time that the origin of Blofeld's trademark facial scar is revealed. The filmmakers used CGI Technology Animation in order to create Blofeld's hideous scar.
  • The scar he receives midway through the film is a call-back to Donald Pleasence's portrayal of the character. His headquarters inside an isolated desert crater are also reminiscent of Blofeld's headquarters inside a dormant volcano in You Only Live Twice.
  • Like the incarnations of Blofeld played by Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas and Charles Gray, Christoph Waltz's Blofeld wears a jacket without lapels and possesses a white Persian cat, though the animal is only briefly shown in Spectre. No Time to Die marks the first time in any Bond film that Blofeld appears without his cat.
  • In an earlier draft, Franz murdered his father by an act of arson.[6]
  • It is implied that Blofeld agreed to aid Silva in his objective of killing M, not only due to her knowledge regarding SPECTRE agent, Marco Sciarra, but also for the sheer delight of inflicting misery upon Bond. An earlier draft is more explicit about Blofeld's involvement, stating that he provided Silva funding and "fanned the flames".[6]
  • Blofeld's monologue on torture is identical to the one given by Colonel Sun Liang-tan in Kingsley Amis' eponymous 1968 continuation novel.[8]
  • It was originally intended that Blofeld would end up being killed by Bond during their final confrontation at the bridge,[6] but it was cut due to it being deemed anti-climactic, and presumably to ensure he could return for the next movie.
  • Blofeld is the second Bond villain to be called Franz. The first being Franz Sanchez.
  • This portrayal of Blofeld and General Koskov are the two only main antagonists to be arrested at the end of the film. However unlike Koskov, Blofeld is shown to die on screen in No Time to Die.
  • This portrayal of Blofeld is widely regarded by many critics, audiences, fans and others to be by far the most evil, cruelest, sadistic, destructive and even most powerful version portrayed on-screen from any Bond film across the years.
  • Christoph Waltz is the first actor to reprise Blofeld in which the villain’s face is clearly seen.
  • Early No Time to Die trailer footage UI referred to Blofeld having been incarcerated in HM Prison Wakefield, rather than Belmarsh. However, both the trailer and final film feature aerial footage of the latter.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Various. (2019). NO TIME TO DIE Trailer UK (YouTube). James Bond 007 (official).
  2. The DOB provided in No Time to Die would appear to contradict previous details in Spectre that Hannes Oberhauser died at the age of 42, 20 years prior to the film. Assuming Spectre took place circa 2015, Blofeld's father would be born in 1953.
  3. (2015). Spectre [Blu-ray]. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Event occurs at 00:22:31. "Order of Temporary Guardianship, 21/01/1983"
  4. (2015). Spectre [Blu-ray]. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Event occurs at 01:51:00.
  5. (2015). Spectre [Blu-ray]. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Event occurs at 00:38:20.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Logan, John; revised by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade [17th October 2014]. Untitled B24 shooting script. 
  7. 4/7/15 — IndieWire.com — Christoph Waltz Says It Is "Absolutely Untrue" He Is Playing Blofeld In 'Spectre'
  8. Amis, Kingsley [1968] (6th March 2018). "Chapter 19: The Theory and Practice of Torture", Colonel Sun (in En). London: Pegasus Books. ISBN 1681776499. 

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