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Mr. White, possibly named Friedrich König[1] was a fictional influential leader of the secretive organization known as Quantum, as well as a high-ranking member of SPECTRE organisation. He introduced Le Chiffre to the African warlord Steven Obanno, and has Quantum's honeypot Yusef Kabira completely seduce and deceive HM Treasury liaison Vesper Lynd. The character was the overall secondary antagonist in the James Bond rebooted franchise, serving as the secondary antagonist in Casino Royale (2006), a major antagonist in Quantum of Solace (2008) and an anti-hero in Spectre (2015). Portrayed by Danish actor Jesper Christensen in all his appearances, White also appeared in the video game adaptation of Quantum of Solace, where he was voiced by Enn Reitel.

Biography

Background

Some years prior to the events of Casino Royale, Mr. White got married-presumably to a French woman and spent his wedding night in a hotel in Tangier, L'Américain, to which he and his wife returned every year, inferring that they were very much in love at one point. He and his wife had a daughter, Madeleine Swann. When she was old enough, they brought Madeleine with them, indicating a happy family life. Ernst Stavro Blofeld says he once visited the White family home, suggesting that Mr. White was already a high-ranking member in SPECTRE, and was close to Blofeld. One night, a man came to White's house, in order to kill him. Madeleine, who was playing in her bedroom, and was unnoticed by the intruder, saved her father's live by killing the man with a Beretta M9 pistol that her father kept under the sink in the kitchen. Some time after the incident, Madeleine grew estranged with her father and his lifestyle as a callous and ruthless assassin, which leads to her leaving for the Sorbonne and severing all contact with him. A 'long time' prior to the events of Spectre his wife had also left him.

Casino Royale

Mr. White is first seen representing Quantum, and brokers a meeting between Le Chiffre and LRA commander Steven Obanno. White introduces them so Le Chiffre can bank $101,206,000 for Obanno. Le Chiffre loses this money, due to Bond's intervention, and plans to cover the loss by winning up to $150 million at the Casino Royale tournament, hoping to do so before Mr. White and Obanno discover he has lost the funds. It is also presumed that Mr. White and Obanno are not notified of the casino tournament.

"Money isn't as valuable to our organization as knowing who to trust."
― Mr. White.[src]

While Obanno is enraged over the loss of money, Mr. White is more concerned that Quantum's reputation has been damaged because a contractor betrayed their trust. As a result Mr. White storms Le Chiffre's boathouse where he kills Le Chiffre's henchmen (including Kratt and Valenka). Though the banker tries to reason with his superior by telling him that he will get the money back, White personally executes him by shooting him in the forehead with a silenced SIG P230 because Quantum can no longer trust him. This also spares Bond from further torture at the hands of Le Chiffre; unwilling double agent Vesper Lynd made a deal with Mr. White's organization to spare Bond in return for the $120 million.

In Venice, while Quantum's thugs kidnap Vesper and battle Bond, an unnoticed Mr. White retrieves the money. With Vesper's suicide, it appears that the money and MI6's attempted trace to Mr. White's organization is gone, but Vesper leaves Bond the number for Mr. White on her cell phone.

Mr. White shot by James

Mr. White after being shot by James Bond in Casino Royale

James Bond: "Mr. White. We need to talk."
Mr. White: "Who is this?"
James Bond: "The name is Bond. James Bond."
―James Bond and Mr. White.[src]

Bond traces to his villa along Lake Como and calls him with a phone. While White answering the call, 007 shoots him below the knee with a suppressed HK UMP9 and as White tries to crawl into cover, he is approached by Bond, who takes him captive for interrogation by MI6.

Quantum of Solace

Bloodied White

Mr. White being interrogated by M in Quantum of Solace

Mr. White's men pursue Bond in a car chase around Siena in attempt to retrieve their kidnapped boss. Bond manages to shake them off and Mr. White is brought for interrogation by M and subsequent torture. During the interrogation, Mr. White expresses regret that Vesper's suicide prevented his organization from attaining Bond as an operative, and also mocks M-despite her threatening to torture him should he continue to be uncooperative- and tells her that his organization has operatives infiltrated everywhere. At this point, Mitchell, a senior MI6 agent sitting in, draws his weapon and shoots the security guard present. M and Bond dive for cover and Mitchell escapes. Bond pursues Mitchell while M goes to secure the perimeter. In the confusion Mr. White escapes.

"Well, Tosca isn't for everyone."
― Mr. White.[src]

Later Mr. White is seen at an opera performance in Bregenz with the other Quantum members (arranged by Dominic Greene of Greene Planet). Bond takes an earpiece hidden inside a gift bag at the opera performance from another Quantum guest, hijacks the signal and takes pictures of a few Quantum members who leave the performance. White stays hidden in the crowd, saying to the woman-possibly his girlfriend at that time- beside him "Well, Tosca isn't for everyone," referring to the escaping Quantum members.

Following the deaths of Greene and General Medrano, Bond learns that Vesper's boyfriend Yusef Kabira is a Quantum agent who faked his kidnapping in order for Mr. White and Greene to coerce Vesper into working for them in the first place. Following Kabira's arrest and Quantum's assumed dissolution, Mr. White remains at large.

Spectre

20161224 084149 resized

Mr. White in the Mi6 computer presumably at Altausee four months before the events of Spectre

Mr White being questioned by Bond (SPECTRE)

007 questions Mr. White about SPECTRE in the teaser trailer for SPECTRE

"You're a kite... dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond. So long."
― Mr. White's final words to Bond — Gnome-speakernotesListen (file info)[src]

Bond encounters an older, and more dishevelled, Mr. White during his investigation of the criminal organization, SPECTRE; White is dying of thallium poisoning, with only a few weeks to live. While at a meeting convened by SPECTRE in Rome, Bond learns of their intention to assassinate someone known as the "Pale King", which was to have been undertaken by Marco Sciarra prior to his death. With Moneypenny's help, Bond identifies the target as Mr. White, whose last known residence was Altausee in Austria four months prior to the events of Spectre and Bond later confronts the man at Altaussee in the Austrian Alps, informing him that the organization mentioned him specifically during a meeting. Bond places the Spectre insignia ring belonging to the deceased Marco Sciarra on the man's chess board.

Mr. White: " I disobeyed him. I followed him as far as I could, he's changed"
James Bond: " I see. You grew a conscience"
Mr. White: " Our game is our game. But this? Women? Children?"
―Bond and Mr. White discuss Mr. White's reasons for dropping out from Spectre. — Gnome-speakernotesListen (file info)[src]

Mr. White tells Bond that he grew disenchanted with Blofeld's methods of expanding into human sex trafficking and that he dropped out of the organization because of that. He was poisoned with thallium which was planted on his cell phone by SPECTRE, because Blofeld became to dislike White thanks to his leaving. White used it regularly, so the thallium could get into his body. However, he showed strength against the poisoning, he didn't die in a month (the normal life expectancy for someone with thallium poisoning), so SPECTRE sent Marco Sciarra to kill him, as he became a risk to SPECTRE. He reluctantly admits to Bond that he has a daughter, but in the end he agrees to give Bond information in return for his daughter's protection. He then tells Bond that he is "a kite dancing in a hurricane" and bids him farewell, before shooting himself in the head with Bond's Walther PPK.

Out of pity, Bond mourns for White by closing his dead eyes before leaving to find Madeleine Swann. Blofeld's henchman Mr. Hinx later enters into the safe house to kill both Bond and White, only to find that Bond is gone and Mr. White's corpse is being pecked off by several crows, much to Hinx's disgust. It later turns out that the entire suicide was recorded through a video surveillance system controlled by SPECTRE, and after capturing Bond and Madeleine in his North African facility, Blofeld uses the footage to deeply traumatize Madeleine (much to Bond's anger), saying that White was too weak to see exactly what Blofeld was planning for the world. This made Madeleine realize that in spite of his past crimes while working at SPECTRE, Mr. White was still a good father to her at best.

Eventually, Bond and Madeleine are able to defeat Blofeld in his plot to control all of the world's intelligence systems and finally leave him to be arrested for his crimes against humanity, bringing closure to White's death.

Alternate continuities

The final scene at the end of the Quantum of Solace video game shows Bond arriving outside Guy Haines' estate. Inside Haines and Mr. White are shown to have access to the MI6 computer and its information regarding Quantum.

Personality

Mr. White is the definition of mysterious. Unsmiling, extremely intelligent and a ruthless man to the core, Mr White is a mysterious and callous senior operative within Quantum and SPECTRE. He is not above killing his own allies if they displease him, and he would stop at nothing to maintain Quantum's reputation. His murder of Le Chiffre clearly demonstrates this, with White commenting "Money isn't as valuable to our organisation as knowing who to trust". He also makes it quite clear to other people that they are completely expendable to him, as shown when he quotes to Steven Obanno 'You asked for the introduction. That's all my organisation will guarantee.', indicating that Le Chiffre's failures would not be his responsibility. However, this did not stop White from murdering Le Chiffre to restore Quantum's fierce reputation. He refers to Quantum as 'us' or 'our organisation' or 'my organisation', and so forth, showing that he, unlike Dominic Greene, genuinely values the anonymity of Quantum and is not arrogant enough to betray its existence, though he does go far enough to point out that 'we have people everywhere', and even sarcastically pointed this out by signalling for Mitchell to turn on M and aid in his escape.

Nevertheless, Mr. White's genuine love for his daughter, Madeleine Swann, was the only thing that "kept his heart beating" after being poisoned with a lethal dose of thallium. Additionally, he had a nostalgic soft spot for the hotel L'Americain, where he and his wife (Madeleine's mother) visited every year until their divorce. Even after the divorce, he returned each year, alone, if only to make use of the secret compartment in his reserved room. Finally, despite all the crimes he had committed, the one criminal enterprise he refuses to have anything to do with is the sex trade, as he dropped out of Spectre when it expanded its interests there. In the final moments before his suicide, he specifically cited the danger to women and children to Bond as his reason for leaving the organization.

Behind the scenes

Casino Royale

According to Jesper Christensen, he was cast as Mr. White in 2006's Casino Royale based almost solely on his show reel and without having to perform a screen test. A total of roughly three weeks were spent filming in France, Pinewood Studios and Lake Como; with a couple of days used for each location. Speaking in a 2007 interview with Bond fansite MI6, Christensen noted "The pacing of Casino Royale was incredible I think – I liked it very much. It surprised me, being so good. They have to keep pushing the limits of what people think is a real Bond film. That’s what they need to do, otherwise it’ll just be put in a museum and die off."[3] He complimented director, Martin Campbell, describing him as "a very, very charming man and very competent, collected and calm – he didn’t make things more complicated – it was very nice working with him. I liked it very much."[3]

Quantum of Solace

Christensen would reprise his role for the film's 2008 sequel Quantum of Solace. Despite second unit filming beginning in Italy on 16 August 2007,[4] Christensen purportedly still "had no idea"[3] about the possibility of reprising his role when he spoke to MI6 during the same month. Commenting on his experience of Quantum of Solace at its world premiere in London, Christensen described it as "sort of like coming back to school after summer vacation; now you know everybody and you say 'hey, how have you been?' ... its so much easier."[5] He commented on how relaxed the actors had been, noting that "last time it was such a tremendous change of pace for the whole film and of the whole Bond universe, I thought."[5]

QOS - Mr White cut scene

Still image from the deleted confrontation scene, Quantum of Solace (2008).

Though unused in the final cut of Quantum of Solace, a scene was shot where Bond arrived at the estate of Guy Haines, an adviser to the Prime Minister and Mr. White's co-conspirator in the Quantum organisation. In this scene Bond kills Mr. White and begins to interrogate Haines about Quantum; instead the producers chose to use the traditional gunbarrel sequence at the end of the film instead of this scene. This deleted scene was withheld from the Quantum of Solace DVD releases and remains unseen by the public.

Aftermath

In a change of stance, while speaking to press ahead of the premiere of his 2010 Danish film A Family (En Familie) at the Berlin film festival, Christensen said that he was happy that his "interlude as a villain in the James Bond series is over." Explaining his position, the actor said: "Today, I admit that I regard Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace as really shit. All the people die in them, so two movies are enough for me."[6] However, in December 2014 it was confirmed that, despite his previous comments to the contrary, Christensen would reprise the role for the then-upcoming 24th Bond film Spectre (2015). Commenting after the official press unveiling of the movie, he said: "I am looking forward to working with Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig. It is a truly exciting script and a very capable team. So it’ll be fun…"[7]

As a result of the infamous 2014 Sony Pictures hack, numerous details were leaked regarding the development of Spectre (then internally called Bond 24 or B24), its plot and characters. In a scene from an earlier draft, it was revealed that in the 1990s, a man calling himself Ernst Stavro Blofeld became part of a battalion of the French Foreign Legion called 'Les Spectre de St. Pierre' in Morocco. A fellow member of this battalion was the man who would later become known as Mr. White, and who would also become a member of Spectre. It is implied that the platoon was already involved in criminal dealings. At some point there was a sandstorm and Blofeld and White were left for dead by the rest of the battalion with eight fellow soldiers, without rations, in the middle of the desert. Blofeld killed the other eight men in the night, leaving only White alive to help him to get to and carry the 'food' (the eighth dead soldier). After the sandstorm was over, Blofeld, with White's assistance, developed the shadowy criminal organization named after his legion, Spectre.

Spectre 619 5

Mr. White listed as Friedrich König in an unused graphic of the MI6 database in Spectre (2015).

Additionally, in another unused plot detail it was revealed that using MI6's database, Moneypenny found a medical receipt from a doctor for an Austrian man named Friedrich König born in March 1954.. His address is given as "Forststraße in Altuasee". The man on the passport is Mr. White. Whether Friedrich König was his true identity or just another alias remains unknown, since the scene wasn't used in the movie. One could speculate that using König as an alias wouldn't be that clever, as it would easily be tied to the "Pale King" from Blofeld and MI6, so it could be that Friedrich König is actually his real name.

Henchmen & Associates

Gallery

Trivia

  • Mr. White's real name is never mentioned or used. His daughter's surname is stated to be Swann, but given Mr. White's highly secretive nature and his desire to protect his daughter, it is extremely unlikely that "Swann" is either his true surname or his daughter's.
  • He was given the codename of "The Pale King" in Spectre. "Pale" is a synonym for "white" and "König" means "King" in English.
  • Although Le Chiffre and Dominic Greene served as the main antagonists in their respective films, they both answered to White but as White only appeared in a few scenes in all films, his role in Quantum remains unclear.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 A medical prescription made out to a 'Friedrich König' (German for 'King') is listed in an unused graphic of the MI6 database which Moneypenny consults.
  2. http://www.commander007.net/2015/04/spectre-le-point-sur-le-tournage-5-sous-le-soleil-de-mexico/
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jesper Christensen Interview (English). MI6 (29 September 2007). Retrieved on 2016-12-07.
  4. Richard Owen. "Bond has activists on his tail over new film's 'brutal' horse race finale", The Times, 13 August 2007. Retrieved on 13 August 2007. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jesper Christensen at Quantum of Solace Premiere (English) (Youtube). Absolute Radio (30 October 2008). Retrieved on 2016-12-07.
  6. Williams, Owen (18 Feb 2010). Jesper Christensen will not return as Mr White - 'James Bond movies are sh*t' (English). mi6-hq.com. Retrieved on 2016-12-07.
  7. Williams, Owen (5 Dec 2014). Mr White Will Return In SPECTRE (English). Empire. Retrieved on 2016-12-07.
 
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