By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist February 1, 2012 at 8:59AM
Even given the excitement around the reboot of "Casino Royale" a few years back, we can't remember the last time a James Bond film was quite as keenly anticipated as this year's 23rd installment in the franchise, "Skyfall." Not only does it mark the third time that Daniel Craig has played MI6's finest secret agent -- a somewhat belated return, after the movie was held up for over a year due to MGM's financial problems -- but thanks to the presence of Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes, and Oscar-nominated scribe John Logan ("Hugo"), the bar has been raised in terms of the pedigree of the series.
Indeed, the film has lauded talent coming out of its ears; alongside the returning Dame Judi Dench, who's expected to take a larger role this time out, "Skyfall" also features Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Helen McCrory, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe and Rory Kinnear, easily the most impressive cast a Bond flick has ever had. But none of those can be glimpsed in the first official image from the film, which was tweeted this morning by the its 007 Twitter account: naturally, it's Bond himself who takes center stage.
There's not much given away, otherwise, although we can't help but think, from the amount of blue neon, that Mendes and Logan have found a cunning way to cross over with the "Tron" franchise (although we believe that the image is actually from the Shanghai portion of the shoot, which has also lensed in London, Scotland and Istanbul). The plot will involve a mysterious figure from the past of M (Dench) threatening the globe. Filming continues, ahead of a European release on October 26th, with the movie landing in the U.S. on November 9th.