The wait to see Spectre, the latest James Bond instalment, on the big screen is almost over, and while its not essential to watch 007 films in order, it always makes things more thrilling when you understand the set-up. With just the weekend to go before the release date (26 October), IBTimesUK recaps all of Daniel Craig's films so you know exactly where the story got up to...
Casino Royale (2006)
On his first mission as a double-O agent, Bond is ordered to Madagascar to spy on a terrorist whom he ends up wrongly killing. Taking things into his own hands, Bond starts investigating organisations the criminal worked for and follows a lead to the Bahamas.
There, he hunts Dimitrios, an associate of powerful terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). Bond manages to seduce Dimitrios' wife, who tells him that her husband is on his way to Miami. In pursuit of Dimitrios, Bond travels to the US, and kills Dimitrios at the airport, leaving his henchman, Carlos, to carry on with the dirty work. Bond then foils one of Le Chiffre's plans to destroy a prototype airliner by stopping the fuel truck Carlos was planning to crash into the aeroplane.
In an attempt to recover his terrorist clients' money, Le Chiffre sets up a high-stakes poker tournament in Montenegro. Hoping that a defeat would force Le Chiffre to aid the British government in exchange for protection from terrorists he's funded, MI6 enters Bond. On the train to Montenegro, Bond meets Vesper (Eva Green), a British Treasury agent who's been assigned to protect the government's interests... particularly the $10 million (£6.5m) buy-in.
In the tournament, Bond loses and Vesper refuses to give him money to continue playing. Frustrated, Bond resolves to assassinate Le Chiffre. But before he goes through with it, fellow player, Felix Leiter, reveals himself to be a CIA operative. Leiter offers to buy Bond back into the game.
Bond eventually wins the tournament, and his winnings are deposited into a bank account. Soon afterward, Le Chiffre's henchmen abduct Vesper and use her as bait to capture Bond. Le Chiffre tortures Bond for the bank account password, but he is interrupted by associate Mr White, who unexpectedly kills Le Chiffre. Bond wakes up, hospitalised in Lake Como and admits to Vesper that he loves her. Later, he posts his resignation to MI6.
Now a couple, Bond and Vesper travel to Venice, where Bond learns that his winnings were never deposited in the Treasury's account. Concluding that Vesper must have stolen them from him, he pursues her and the men to whom she gives the money into a derelict building. In the ensuing shoot-out, the inflatable supports that were being used as the ruins were being renovated are punctured. Bond kills the men and tries to rescue Vesper before the building collapses completely, but she locks herself in an iron-frame lift and allows herself to drown as the building sinks.
As Vesper dies, Mr White is seen walking away with the money. Bond rejoins MI6 and learns that Vesper had a boyfriend, who was kidnapped by the organisation behind Le Chiffre and Mr White to blackmail her into cooperation. He is also told that Vesper agreed to exchange the winnings for a guarantee of Bond's safety. Bond then discovers a text from Vesper with White's name and mobile phone number, which he uses to find White at his Italian home.
Quantum Of Solace (2008)
The action carries straight on from Casino Royale as Bond drives from Lake Garda to Siena, Italy, with the captured Mr White in the boot of his car. During an interrogation with Bond and M about his organisation, Quantum, White escapes. Bond and M return to London, discovering that White had a contact in Haiti.
Bond tracks the contact, Edmund Slate, and learns that Slate is a hitman sent to kill Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), an order from her lover, Dominic Greene. While observing her subsequent meeting with Greene, Bond learns that Greene is helping an exiled Bolivian general, Medrano — who murdered Montes' family — to overthrow his government and become the new president in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of desert.
Bond returns to Italy and convinces old ally, René Mathis, to accompany him to Bolivia. At the airport, they are ambushed by Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton), an MI6 agent who urges them to go back to the UK immediately. Bond seduces her before they attend a fundraising party Greene holds that night. At the party, Bond again rescues Montes from Greene. Leaving, the pair are pulled over by Bolivian police working for Medrano. They had earlier attacked Mathis and put him in the boot of Bond's car to frame him; and, in the following fight, Mathis is killed.
The following day, Bond and Montes discover Quantum is damming Bolivia's supply of fresh water to create a monopoly. Back in La Paz, Bond meets M and discovers that Quantum murdered Fields by drowning her in oil. M orders Bond be arrested for disobeying orders but he evades capture.
At a hotel in the desert, Greene reveals his true plans to Medrano: now that he controls the majority of Bolivia's water supply, Greene forces Medrano to accept a new contract that makes Greene Planet Bolivia's sole water utility company at significantly higher rates.
Bond infiltrates the hotel, kills the chief of police for betraying Mathis, and confronts Greene. Meanwhile, Montes kills Medrano, avenging her family. The struggle leaves the hotel largely destroyed by fire. Bond then captures Greene and interrogates him about Quantum, before leaving him stranded in the desert with only a can of engine oil.
M later tells Bond that Greene was found in the middle of the desert dead, shot twice and with engine oil in his stomach; Bond denies knowing anything. She reinstates Bond as an agent; he replies: "I never left."
Bond and Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) chase a mercenary named Patrice, who has stolen a computer hard drive containing names and details of hundreds of agents undercover in terrorist organisations by NATO states. Bond manages to get his hands on Patrice atop of a train and as the two fight, M orders Eve to fire a distant shot at the pair, with the hope that she'll kill Patrice. Eve inadvertently shoots Bond, allowing Patrice to escape with the files. Bond falls into a river and is presumed dead.
After the accident M is asked by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the intelligence and security committee chairman, to retire but she vows she will contest his opinion and will stay on until "the job is done". On her return from the meeting, MI6's servers are breached and M receives a taunting computer message just as the offices explode, killing many employees. Bond, having used his supposed death to retire, learns of the attack and returns to London.
Despite failing a series of physical and psychological examinations, M approves his return to the field. Shrapnel taken from Bond's shoulder wound helps identify Patrice, and intelligence places him in Shanghai, where he is planning an assassination. After he receives a personalised gun and other gadgets from Q (Ben Whishaw), Bond is tasked with identifying Patrice's employer, recovering the hard drive and killing him.
In Shanghai, Bond stalks Patrice into a skyscraper, but Patrice manages to shoot his target. He and Bond fight, and Patrice falls to his death. Bond then finds a gambling chip intended as Patrice's payment for the assassination, which leads him to a Macau casino.
Bond is approached by Séverine, who he saw at the assassination. She warns him that he is about to be killed, but promises to help Bond if he will kill her employer. Bond defeats his attackers and joins Séverine on her yacht.
They travel to an abandoned island off the coast of Macau, where they are taken prisoner by the crew and delivered to Séverine's employer, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). A former MI6 officer who had previously worked under M, Silva has turned to cyberterrorism, orchestrating the attacks on MI6. Silva murders Séverine, but Bond overpowers his guards and captures Silva to be tried in England.
Q attempts to decrypt Silva's laptop, but unleashes a computer virus into MI6's systems, allowing Silva to escape from custody. Bond realises that Silva planned all this to confront and kill M, whom he resents for leaving him to die after being captured years earlier. Silva attacks M during a public inquiry regarding her retirement. Bond arrives just in time to join Mallory and Eve in repelling Silva's attack, and M is hurried from the building.
Bond lures Silva into a place where he can take him down, realising that he won't let them get away. He takes M to his family home in Scotland, where Kincade, the gamekeeper, helps them improvise booby traps throughout the house. When Silva's men arrive, Bond, M and Kincade fight off the assault, but M gets wounded. Silva arrives by helicopter with a heavier second assault, and Bond sends M and Kincade off through a secret tunnel which leads to a chapel on the grounds.
Bond detonates gas canisters with a stick of dynamite and retreats down the same tunnel as M and Kincade. The blast causes the helicopter to crash, destroying the house, killing most of Silva's men. Silva survives and, spotting Kincade's torchlight, follows Kincade and M. Bond arrives and kills Silva by throwing a knife into his back, but M dies from her earlier injury.