With plenty of real estate remaining in 2019, it’s masochistic to imagine what next year could look like. Emperor Trump? World Series champion Mariners? The mind reels! But whatever horrors might unfold in 2020, we have at least one pop culture stalwart to soothe ourselves in the post-Game of Thrones wilderness: Daniel Craig’s final turn as British superspy James Bond in Bond 25, as of now scheduled to drop April 8, 2020.
I’ve watched every James Bond film, including the tacky Roger Moore ones and Quantum of Solace, twice, because I too seem to be a masochist. Bond films are great if you love adventure or espionage. They’re not-so-great if you love progressive gender politics or subtle and contemplative plotting. But they do have explosions and car chases, so over the course of 20-plus movies, it just about balances out.
Bond films also great if you love fun names. The James Bond universe, free of Name of the Year’s real-world constraints, hosts many of most memorably named characters of our time. Bond girls (always problematic!) are named Honeychile Ryder and Molly Warmflash—sorry, Doctor Molly Warmflash—and Strawberry Fields and, most famously, Pussy Galore. Bond’s enemies have names like Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Artistotle Kristatos, and Irma Bunt. (Would Jaws and Oddjob be qualified Name of the Year contenders? Tweet us what you think!) Bond himself has often dons aliases such as James St. John Smythe and Arlington Beech.
One could and should argue the ridiculousness of each of these names, but they certainly trigger the imagination. If you were a martini-sipping spy, a supervillain bent on global domination, or a charming debaucher, what would your name be? Would it fit with the bounty offered in this year’s Sweet Sixteen? Would you assume the name Dr. Trentington Outhouse, a moniker perhaps befitting an evil mastermind keen on flushing away the American government? Would you become Pretzel Monteclaro, a name that could belong a suave baccarat champion with a salty secret? Or perhaps you’d need to schmooze your way out of trouble, for which need a name like Cletorious Aretha Fry might make you feel like a natural.
Even is Bond-style branding fun doesn’t shake your martini, the 2019 Sweet Sixteen offers plenty of options. Storm Duck could foul things up and flap towards the Elite Eight. Reverend Pix Butt and General Booty could bum their way into the Final Four. Bear Spiker and Pope Thrower could manhandle the competition and meet in the finals. And if you still crave more name-ranking madness beyond these sixteen, we want to hear from you! We’re accepting submissions for the 2020 tourney at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re also on Twitter, so follow us over there. Finally, most importantly, don’t forget to vote below voice your opinion. Abstaining might result in a catastrophe of James-Bond-dresses-like-a-clown proportions.