Fleming’s villains and allies were father figures; Marc-Ange Draco, M, Blofeld, Goldfinger; all about 20 years older than Bond and imposing. Perhaps because Roger Moore grew so much older in the role, that tradition fell away; it was not a part of Dalton’s films, nor of Brosnan’s.
Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves is typical of the younger generation of villains. Whole of body, virile, fighting his own fights, he is not the sort of villain Fleming usually wrote. His work in Die Another Day is beloved in some quarters; I’m not crazy about him as an actor. I know he has an awesome pedigree (the son of Dame Maggie Smith), but I much prefer Wil Yun Lee in DAD (and elsewhere).
Stephens turns 39 today. May his birthday cake be delicious.