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|“||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.||„|
|~ Ernst Stavro Blofeld while torturing James Bond.|
Franz Oberhauser, better known as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, is the main antagonist of the rebooted James Bond series.
He serves as the unseen overarching antagonist in the first three films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall, the main antagonist in the fourth film Spectre and the overarching antagonist in the fifth film No Time to Die.
He is the founder of SPECTRE, as well as James Bond's foster brother and archenemy - manipulating behind the scenes of many of Bond's past run-ins, including Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene, and Raoul Silva. He is also the man responsible for ordering the murder of the family of Lyutsifer Safin. Obsessed by the destruction of his adoptive brother and devoted only to his great megalomania and eager to condemn the world to chaos or tyranny, if it suits him, Oberhauser is the ultimate and most evil villain of the timeline that has been relaunched to this day.
He was portrayed by Christoph Waltz, who also played Bert Hanson in Horrible Bosses 2, Mandrake in Epic, Benjamin Chudnofsky in The Green Hornet, Léon Rom in The Legend of Tarzan, Walter Keane in Big Eyes, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers and Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds.
Franz Oberhauser was born in 1960 as the son of an Austrian couple named Hannes Oberhauser and Trudi Blofeld-Oberhauser, and his family were close friends of James Bond's parents. When James' parents died in a climbing accident, the Oberhauser family decided to adopt James, and Hannes instructed Franz to treat James like a brother.
However, Franz grew to hate and envy James, believing his father loved Bond more than him. At one point, Hannes and Franz were involved in an avalanche in which both of them apparently died. In reality, however, Franz killed his father and staged his own death while adopting his mother's maiden name.
As an adult, Blofeld forms a mysterious criminal organization known as SPECTRE. Under Blofeld's leadership, the organization becomes extremely powerful, staging many terrorist attacks throughout the years.
It is implied that Blofeld creates the terrorist organization Quantum and employs Mr. White as its figurehead to covert SPECTRE's attacks. He also tasks Le Chiffre with funding the sabotage of an aerospace company through the funds of warlord Steven Obanno. Bond foils the plan, however, resulting in the deaths of Obanno and Le Chiffre. Blofeld also sends Mr. White to steal back the casino winnings, which results in the death of Bond's lover Vesper Lynd.
Quantum of Solace
Following Mr. White's escape from MI6 custody, it is implied that Blofeld assigns Dominic Greene of Greene Planet to help support the overthrow of the Bolivian government for the exiled general Luiz Medrano in exchange for a portion of the land for Quantum to utilize its resources. However, Bond foils this plan as revenge for Greene's henchmen killing MI6 agents Rene Mathis and Strawberry Fields; he also interrogates Greene and Quantum henchman Yusef Kabira about Quantum's secrets, resulting its dissolution. It can be implied that Blofeld has Greene executed in the Bolivian desert as punishment for telling Bond about Quantum.
It is implied that Blofeld sends cyberterrorist Raoul Silva to bomb MI6 headquarters and kill M. While Silva succeeds at both tasks, Bond kills him soon afterward.
Attending a Funeral
|“||Tell me where he is!
"He's everywhere... everywhere! He's sitting at your desk, he's kissing your lover. He's eating a supper with your family!"
|~ James Bond and Mr. White, hoping to find Blofeld.|
Blofeld first appeared briefly at the funeral of Marco Sciarra (one of SPECTRE's assassins) and Bond spots him, though without recognizing his face. Blofeld later appears at the SPECTRE meeting in Rome, where, after allowing Bond a short, brutal insight of SPECTRE, he exposes the latter, who was eavesdropping on the meeting. Bond makes his escape after a car chase with another SPECTRE assassin Mr. Hinx.
Meeting with Bond
Bond later finds Mr. White, who had grown disillusioned with SPECTRE once it began dealing in human trafficking of women and children. White revealed that Blofeld had poisoned him with thallium, and that he had only days to live. White asks bond to save his daughter, Dr. Madeleine Swann, and then commits suicide. Bond and Swann head to a Moroccan hotel called L'Americain, where they find coordinates to Blofeld's main facility in the Sahara desert.
While traveling there, the pair once more encounters Hinx and after a brutal fight they are able to kill the assassin. Bond and Swann arrive at the facility, but Blofeld has awaited their arrival. He reveals that he plans to take control of the world's intelligence systems through the Nine Eyes program developed by Max Denbigh (the head of the Joint Intelligence Services and one of SPECTRE's agents) and that he had arranged the '00 section to be shut down, using Denbigh's influence.
Blofeld also reveals that he and SPECTRE were secretly behind the actions of Le Chiffre, White, Greene and Silva. He then plays surveillance footage of Mr. White's suicide, driving a spike between Bond's and Swann's relationship. Blofeld's henchmen knock Bond unconscious.
Upon awakening, Bond finds himself strapped to a surgical chair. Blofeld begins to torture Bond by directing a surgical drill into his cheek, during which he admits to having killed his father out of jealousy against Bond. He then directs the drill into Bond's neck, declaring that if he drills into the correct spot, it will leave Bond unable to recognize faces. Upon doing so however, Bond is able to recognize Swann, implying that Blofeld may have been lying to mess with Bond, or that he intentionally drilled in the wrong location. Blofeld then brings up a second drill and directs both of them towards Bond's eyes, attempting to lobotomize him. However, Swann, who has been given an exploding watch from Q Branch by Bond, uses the device to destroy the machine and seemingly kill Blofeld. Bond and Swann escape the facility before it blows up, killing the majority of Blofeld's men in the process.
|“||My wounds will heal.... what about yours? Look around you James.... look! This is what left of your world..everything you stood for, everything you believed in.... a ruin!||„|
|~ Bond and Blofeld meeting again for a final battle.|
Since the Moroccan base was just one node in a wider network, Bond and Swann head back to London, where he conspires with M, Q, Bill Tanner, and Moneypenny to arrest Denbigh and stop the Nine Eyes program from going online. However, on the way, Bond is captured by several of SPECTRE's agents and taken to the derelict ruins of the old MI6 headquarters. Bond manages to kill the SPECTRE agents, and ventures inside the ruins, eventually finding Blofeld, who survived the explosion but was left with a facial scar and blinded eye.
Bond tries to shoot Blofeld, only to have his bullets held at bay by the bullet-proof glass placed between them. Blofeld then reveals that he has kidnapped Swann and left her somewhere in the building, which is elaborately rigged with explosives. Blofeld gives Bond two options: either die in the explosions while trying to save Swann, or to save himself but leave Swann to die. At first, Bond believes that Blofeld is bluffing, but Blofeld jokingly admitted that he put through Bond a lot before stating that brothers always know which buttons to press before setting the timer, confirming that he's not bluffing.
Realizing this, Bond goes off to save Swann while Blofeld enters a helicopter, which hovers over the Thames to allow Blofeld to watch Bond die. However, Bond and Swann escape seconds before the building explodes. In the meantime, Q manages to shut down Nine Eyes while M manages to finish off Denbigh, who ends up falling to his death several stories below.
Arrested by MI6
|“||Finish it...finish it!||„|
|~ Blofeld's last words to Bond before he's put under arrest for his crimes.|
Believing Bond to be dead, Blofeld, along with his personal assistant and pilot, are about to escape, unaware that Bond and Swann are pursuing them in a speedboat. After a climactic chase, Bond manages to shoot down the helicopter's fuel tanks, sending it crashing onto Westminster Bridge, severely wounding Blofeld's leg and killing both his pilot and personal assistant. Blofeld tries to crawl away from the wreckage, but is held at gunpoint by an arriving Bond. Realizing that he can't escape alive and is now at Bond's mercy, Blofeld sadistically demands to be finished off at once. However, Bond refuses by unloading his gun, fully aware that killing Blofeld out of revenge will only sink him down to the latter's level.
Deciding that Blofeld is not worth the trouble, Bond walks away peacefully with Swann, leaving Blofeld to be arrested by MI6 for his crimes against humanity, a fate that Blofeld accepts with resignation. It can implied that Blofeld will be sent to prison for his crimes against humanity while Bond happily resigns from MI6 to start a new life with Swann, satisfied that his tragic past is finally put to rest.
No Time to Die
|“||I didn't need to kill you. I'd already broken you. I wanted to give you an empty world like the one you gave me. It's enough to almost make me regret it. Almost.||„|
|~ Blofeld to James Bond while imprisoned in Belmarsh|
It is later revealed that Blofeld is responsible for the deaths of Lyutsifer Safin's family as he ordered Mr. White to murder Safin's parents, which led to Safin's facial disfigurement and his vow of revenge against Blofeld and the rest of SPECTRE. To that end, Safin murdered Swann's mother when she was a little girl; even after hearing about Blofeld's arrest and Mr. White's suicide, Safin refuses to give up his quest for revenge.
It was told that several days after Blofeld's arrest, Bond and Swann were ambushed by several assassins in Matera, Italy, and that Swann seemingly betrayed Bond to them, causing a fallout between Bond and Swann. Five years later, Bond soon learns of a project called Project Heracles, which involves using nanobots (created by MI6 scientist Valdo Obruchev) as a virus through touching, and that Obruchev has been kidnapped by SPECTRE in their intent to use the nanobots to take over the world. During a SPECTRE meeting with Obruchev and the remaining SPECTRE members about Project Heracles, Blofeld (using a bionic eye to see and communicate from his holding cell) anticipated Bond's arrival to the meeting, expecting him to be killed by the nanobots. However, the tables are turned as Obruchev (who turns out to be in league with Safin) reprogrammed the nanobots to kill all of the remaining SPECTRE members, something which both Bond and Blofeld didn't expect. Obruchev then escapes with the help from CIA agent Logan Ash (who too is in league with Safin), resulting Felix Leiter's death.
Bond pays a visit to Blofeld in his cell, where he encounters Swann, who was blackmailed to be infected with nanobots by Safin as she was the only one to be in contact with Blofeld since his imprisonment. When Bond touches Swann and unknowingly infects himself, Swann runs off in a huff, leading Bond to interrogate Blofeld upon the matter. It was then Blofeld revealed that he deliberately staged the ambush in Matera and made it look like that Swann was betraying Bond to them, all just to cause more pain to Bond by straining his relationship with Swann. Enraged by this revelation, Bond attacks Blofeld, and the nanobots infect and murder Blofeld just as Safin planned, something which a horrified Bond didn't expect. Upon realizing that he was infected with the nanobts, Bond confronts Swann, who informs him about what happened to Safin and what he did to her that led to Blofeld's death. It was also revealed that following Bond and Swann's fallout, Swann gave birth to Bond's daughter Mathilde, thus making Blofeld as Mathilde's foster uncle.
In spite of this, Bond was able to track down and kill Safin and his men (including Obruchev, Ash and Primo); he even sacrificed himself in a missile explosion to destroy the nanobots and foil Safin's plot for good, thus bringing full closure for all the pain and suffering that Blofeld has inflicted against the world.
Blofeld is an unpredictable, dangerous and utterly ruthless megalomaniac of the most diabolical kind. He is 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, brave, and reserved person and addressed any and all problems with an insidiously relaxed manner, 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 sophistication makes him an unbelievable strategist and enables him to outwit practically any opponent; it also makes 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' mind concerning his past and the people he has lost his entire life - Vesper, M, his parents, etc., torturing Bond by drilling holes in his head and penetrating into his brain, remaining calm and smiling when James screams in pain, and condemning Mr. White to a very painful death by thallium 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 ultimately 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.
- This version of Blofeld differs from the original in that he has a closer connection to Bond, being his foster brother.
- Ironically enough, Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers series (who is a parody of Blofeld) was revealed to being Austin Powers' brother in the third film Austin Powers in Goldmember.
- It was speculated before the film's release that Christoph Waltz was to play Blofeld, though that rumor was denied by Waltz. However, he does play Blofeld in the film. Waltz denied the rumor either because it was meant to be top secret until the film's release, or it was probably because of the fact that Andrew Scott's Max Denbigh was originally meant to be the one turning out to be Blofeld, with Waltz's Oberhauser being the secondary antagonist. It's probably most likely because the revelation of Waltz being Blofeld was meant to shock viewers (similar to how Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard in Batman Begins turning out to be one of Batman's greatest enemies, Ra's Al Ghul, surprised many viewers).
- During his military service alongside Mr. White, it was said that the two were in a conflict with a group of bandits in which their military team died and after this, Oberhauser killed the bandits and left White in the deserts, with founding SPECTRE as of the name of their military legion; Spectre.
- The organization's name SPECTRE means a ghost, a spirit. This means that the organization members and agents were actually activated in the shadows, and the octopus motif and logo symbolizes Blofeld's behind-the-scenes reach to manipulate global events to his favor via the proxies he sends out and to dominate the world.
- Blofeld is clearly the Big Bad of the entire reboot series (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and No Time To Die), as he is the man responsible for assigning the main threats (Le Chiffre, Mr. White, Dominic Greene, and Raoul Silva) in their plots, using them all as pawns as part of his plan to wreak psychological pain on James Bond. He even is responsible for ordering the deaths of Lyutsifer Safin's family, which led to Safin to murder Blofeld and his remaining SPECTRE members and indirectly cause Bond's death at the cost of Safin's own life.
- His father, Hannes Oberhauser, first appeared in Ian Fleming short story "Octopussy", as his death is the reason Bond gets involved in tracking down Dexter Smythe, the story's antagonist. However, Hannes and Blofeld were not related in the novel continuity.
- In order to create Blofeld's facial scar, the film's producers used CGI and not makeup as the filmmakers of the old Bond films did with Blofeld.
- The scar Blofeld receives from Bond's exploding watch is a reference to a similar scar that Donald Pleasence's incarnation of Blofeld has in You Only Live Twice. However, unlike the former film, the origin of his disfigurement is not only revealed, but also shown on screen.
- Upon the film's release, Christoph Waltz had received widespread critical acclaim for his performance as Blofeld, being commended as a "classic, menacing and original Bond villain".
- Christoph Waltz has been confirmed to return in the next Bond film, No Time to Die, which will also be the last time Daniel Craig will play 007, which could mean that it would be the final encounter between Bond and Blofeld and may result in Blofeld's death. (What turned out to be true)
- As Quantum was revealed to be a division within SPECTRE, this would support the idea that Quantum member Dominic Greene was executed by a hitman on Blofeld's orders.
- Although he is the main antagonist of the film, his screen time is relatively minimal.
- Blofeld reminding Bond of how whenever he interfered with Blofeld's world he would retaliate by destroying his implies that Bond's foiling of Quantum's Tierra project lead Blofeld to enlist Silva to destroy MI6.
- Blofeld is compared to three animals. The first one is an octopus, the symbol of SPECTRE, which symbolizes its omnipresence and behind-the-scenes reach to tilt geopolitical events in its favor and take over the world. The second is a cat since not only does he have one like his original incarnation, but he displays some cat-like mannerisms. The third is a cuckoo, which he calls Bond multiple times in a mocking way and alludes to both his feelings towards his adoptive brother and how he despises his father for thinking he loved James more than him back when he was Frank Oberhauser.