- "Me. It was all me, James. Its always been me. The author of all your pain."
- ― Franz Oberhauser to Bond
Ernst Stavro Blofeld, born Franz Oberhauser, is the fictional founder and head of the global criminal organisation SPECTRE. Loosely based on the literary character created by Ian Fleming, Blofeld is the main antagonist in EON Productions' 2015 James Bond film, Spectre, and was portrayed by famous Austrian-German actor, Christoph Waltz. The character subsequently reappeared in the 2020 film, No Time to Die as the secondary antagonist. He was the last of seven men to play the iconic role of Blofeld on screen.
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" programme. 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.
- "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."
- ― Blofeld reveals his new identity.
Born Franz Oberhauser, he was the son of Austrian climbing and skiing instructor, Hannes Oberhauser, and his unnamed wife. In 1983, 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. 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").
By 2012-15, Blofeld had become increasingly utilitarian and ruthless. Alongside counterfeit pharmaceuticals, human trafficking and prostitution, his organization increasingly made use of terrorism. 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 organization and its trajectory. After failing to kill him outright with thallium, Blofeld dispatched assassins to finish the job.
Reunion with Bond
- "Welcome, James. It's been a long time... and, finally, here we are! What took you so long?"
- ― Blofeld greets 007 at the meeting
Despite its secrecy, the activities of SPECTRE had not gone unnoticed by the head of the Secret Intelligence Service. M posthumously dispatches 007 to assassinate one of their operatives, Marco Sciarra, with the intention of drawing its members out of hiding. As predicted, Blofeld attends his funeral in Rome and, realizing that she is a liability, arranges a failed attempt on the life of Sciarra's widow. Later that evening, Blofeld chairs a rare meeting of the organization at the Palazzo Cardenza; during which Mr. Hinx is violently chosen as Sciarra's replacement. Like his predecessor, Hinx is dispatched to eliminate Mr. White. Bond discreetly infiltrates the meeting, but Blofeld perceives his presence and calls out to the spy; sending a subordinate to detain him. A skirmish ensues, and during the commotion, Blofeld swiftly departs for his Saharan headquarters.
He is not surprised when 007 and White's daughter, Madeleine Swann, determine the location of his base of operations. Greeted with a formal reception, Blofeld takes them on a tour of his data-collection facility. He attempts to psychologically intimidate the pair, demonstrating his organization's vast reach, and sadistically taunts Bond with intimate knowledge his past failures. Concluding, he has Bond knocked unconscious and straps him to a neurosurgical chair. Revealing his new identity, the mastermind declares 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 is saved by Swann, who hurls the spy's explosive wristwatch at Blofeld's control console, which violently detonates and throws him across the room. In the chaos, Bond escapes and shoots 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.
- "I've really put you through it, haven't I? Oh, that's brothers for you; they always know which buttons to press."
- ― Blofeld to Bond before triggering the detonator timer.
Bond returns to London to prevent "Nine Eyes", with Blofeld following him to exact his revenge. He separately abducts Swann and Bond; taking them both to the ruins of the old SIS Building, which is scheduled for demolition. 007 frees himself and confronts Blofeld inside. Separated by a pane of bullet-proof glass, the villain reveals that he has hidden Madeleine somewhere inside the building. It is set to explode in 3 minutes: giving Bond the sadistic choice of dying alongside her, or saving himself and living with the pain. 007 liberates Swann and they narrowly escape the building. Believing them to be dead, Blofeld departs by helicopter - unaware that they are pursuing him along the River Thames in a boat. One of Bond's gunshots starts an engine fire; causing the aircraft to crash land on Westminster Bridge. The wounded Blofeld crawls from the wreckage and is confronted by 007. Held at gunpoint, he tells the spy to kill him. But Bond refuses, ejecting his magazine, clearing the chamber, and stating that he is out of bullets. As Bond leaves with Madeleine, SIS chief, Gareth Mallory, detains 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 accepts his fate with resignation.
- "James. You gave up everything for her. When her secret finds its way out, it would be the death of you..."
- ― Blofeld to Bond.
Blofeld is subsequently incarcerated in HM Prison Wakefield, United Kingdom, however, he is still holding corrupting influence against Bond, stating he is knowing of Swann's secret and believes it would destroy him once and for all.
Blofeld is an unpredictable, dangerous and an utterly ruthless megalomaniac of the most diabolical kind. He was unbelievably resourceful, and could access vast amounts of weaponry, technology, organizations and illegal activities - in other words, he was able to create and control SPECTRE. He is an exceptionally calm and reserved person and addressed any and all problems with an insidiously relaxed attitude, even if he was helpless while being held at gunpoint.
He is also extremely intelligent but in all of the worst ways. He is a master of psychological warfare and could intimidate people with his very presence, and as with all of his previous incarnations, he runs SPECTRE like an absolute totalitarian and tyrannical dictator, despising those who failed or betrayed him, with Mr. White being a prime example of what happens if anybody dares to quit SPECTRE. His intelligence made him an unbelievable strategist and enabled him to outwit practically any opponent. His genius made him far-seeing and cunning to a fault, and he knew all of the details of his opponents' moves, right down to placing a bulletproof sheet of glass between him and James Bond in their final confrontation.
Blofeld is also intensely sadistic, describing himself to James Bond as "the author of all [his] pain". Throughout the film, he ruthlessly plays a number of cruel and elaborate games with James's mind concerning his past and the people he has lost his entire life - Vesper, M, his parents, etc, torturing Bond by drilling holes on his head and penetrating into his brain, remaining calm and smiling when James screams of pain, and condemning Mr. White to a very painful death, by thallium's poisoning. Blofeld also possesses little self-preservation, despite his nefarious manner. Even when finally held at gunpoint by James, he over-confidently goaded him to pull the trigger, though James decided to spare him, knowing that he was not worth it. His extreme sadism was, by the way, his downfall because his need of seeing Bond suffer just because he feels that his father favored Bond instead of him prevents him from a more pragmatic murder, for example, killing him when he is knocked out in SPECTRE's headquarters.
Henchmen & associates
- 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'.
- 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. 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 filmakers used in 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 an earlier draft, Franz murdered his father by an act of arson.
- 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".
- Blofeld's monologue on torture is identical to the one given by Colonel Sun Liang-tan in Kingsley Amis' eponymous 1968 continuation novel.
- It was originally intended that Blofeld end up killed by Bond during their final confrontation at the bridge, 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.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Various. (2019). NO TIME TO DIE Trailer UK (YouTube). James Bond 007 (official).
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ (2015). Spectre [Blu-ray]. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Event occurs at 00:22:31. "Order of Temporary Guardianship, 21/01/1983"
- ↑ (2015). Spectre [Blu-ray]. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Event occurs at 01:51:00.
- ↑ (2015). Spectre [Blu-ray]. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Event occurs at 00:38:20.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Logan, John; revised by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade [17th October 2014]. Untitled B24 shooting script.
- ↑ 4/7/15 — IndieWire.com — Christoph Waltz Says It Is "Absolutely Untrue" He Is Playing Blofeld In 'Spectre'
- ↑ Amis, Kingsley  (6th March 2018). "Chapter 19: The Theory and Practice of Torture", Colonel Sun (in En). London: Pegasus Books. ISBN 1681776499.