The on-again, off-again 23rd installment of the James Bond series is officially on with Sam Mendes directing. Variety reports that MGM has announced a release date of November 9, 2012 for Daniel Craig to return as the darker, more violent Bond than we have seen from the likes of that wimp George Lazenby. Earlier this week, it was looking uncertain that MGM would make their target date, but today's release has the studio looking towards their planned date. Production is expected to start late this year, though no filming locations have been disclosed.

This turnaround is something of a surprise, considering that producer Michael G. Wilson had expressed a number of concerns regarding "a lot of ideas floating around" with the script from Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. Apparently, MGM found a way to put those concerns to rest, probably because they really, really need the revenue that their Bond sugar daddy can provide.

With that in mind, it's probably no surprise that further details aren't available, as this has every symptom of a "shoot first, ask questions later," decision to get production rolling, then figure out those pesky script and logistical issues on the fly. Fortunately, they have two years to figure those issues out, but still, a suspect start for the next episode in the widely-loved series.