Fans of the James Bond movies are in a bit of a bind right now. Despite the fact that 2022 is the year that celebrates the 60th anniversary of 007’s cinematic exploits, we still have no clue when we’ll be seeing Bond 26, or when the next actor to play Commander Bond will be announced. Right about now, the world of spies could use some distraction from those two glaring realities, and as luck would have it, there are at least ten ready to go for this year.
Adaptations of espionage-steeped best sellers, interesting concepts of spies reimagined and even some reality based thrills are all in order. While James Bond fans are busy waiting for the next 007, here are ten spy movies and TV shows to keep everyone busy. Pay close attention, as the dates are going to be tricky on some of these upcoming titles. In some cases, that information is still top secret, so don’t forget to check back for further updates.
Munich: The Edge of War
Our first movie is a Netflix original that’s adapted from author Robert Harris’ novel Munich. At the heart of this story is a pair of former classmates (1917’s George MacKay and Jannis Niewöhner) who are involved in a plato to thwart the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1938. This historical fiction thriller promises old school spy thrills and could prove to be a great asset to McKay, who in recent months has been mentioned as a hotly tipped candidate for the next James Bond.
Currently available on Netflix.
In From The Cold
Sometimes the most dangerous thing for a spy to do is presume that they’re safely retired. Former Russian spy Anya Petrova (Margarita Levieva) thought she was safely hidden away from her previous life, disguised as the mother of a typical American family. In From The Cold is a series where that notion is shattered, with Anya’s mysterious past as an operative draws her back into the game. Unfortunately, the game is also banking on her connections to a bioengineering experiment, which only put a sharper twist on this new Netflix series that’s somehow flown under the radar.
Full season currently available on Netflix.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
Far from the world of serious concerns and historical based drama, director Guy Ritchie is returning to espionage tales packed with action and comedy. Unfortunately, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre isn’t a Man From U.N.C.L.E. sequel or spinoff. With that obvious question out of the way, it is a treat to see that Ritchie has reunited with his Wrath of Man lead Jason Statham and The Gentlemen’s Hugh Grant, pitting his collaborators against one another. Throw in a lot of snarky banter with Aubrey Plaza and poor Josh Hartnett as a movie star roped into international intrigue against his will, and it’s a match made in spy heaven.
Opens exclusively in theaters on March 18th.
The Ipcress File
If it wasn’t for author Len Deighton being hired for an ultimately unsuccessful adaptation of From Russia with Love, we’d have never seen the film version of The Ipcress File, starring Michael Caine. The first entry in Deighton’s Harry Palmer novels, that 1962 novel has now been readapted into a series event for ITV and AMC+, starring Peaky Blinders’ Joe Cole as the new Harry. Co-starring The King’s Man and The Night Manager alum Tom Hollander, our sibling site What To Watch actually has more information on what to expect from this new project, which is still waiting for an exact premiere date at the time of this writing.
Premieres on ITV in March (UK), TBD on AMC+ (US/Canada)
Espionage isn’t always clean and tidy sneaking around. Sometimes it’s a little louder, and a lot messier, like in the world of Paramount’s spy-adjacent thriller The Contractor. With Chris Pine playing a discharged military veteran who’s looking for financial security, our protagonist accidentally stumbles into something larger than he bargained for. Which, in this case, means squaring off with Kiefer Sutherland, prompting a “Jack Ryan vs. Jack Bauer” showdown that everyone can get behind.
Opens in theaters and on VOD, April 1.
Where do spies go when they’ve screwed up so horribly, but still can’t be fired? Apple TV+’s series Slow Horses answers that question, as author Mick Herron’s novel of the same name focuses on MI5 agents who are sent back down to the minors. With a boss who’s hell to work with (Gary Oldman) and desk jobs made of mundanity, these orphaned spies are soon found in the middle of a crisis that’s life or death. The all-star cast includes Kristen Scott-Thomas, Olivia Cooke and Jack Lowden. Lowden is of particular interest, as through previous showings in the odds field and his performance in Terrence Davie’s Benediction, the actor has come up as a proper short list candidate for the 007 role.
Premieres April 1 on Apple TV+.
Another historical lesson in spycraft is coming to us, thanks to director John Madden’s World War II drama Operation Mincemeat. One of two works based on the non-fiction writing of Ben Macintyre, this true story covers a ruse hatched by MI5 to distract from an attempt to invade Sicily in 1943. With a dead body, a convincing story and Ian Fleming himself along for the ride, the truth of what happened is so outrageous that it had to be told. Kingsman’s Colin Firth, Harry Potter’s Jason Issacs and Kelly MacDonald make up only part of the impressive acting roster present in this forthcoming tale.
Premieres in theaters on April 22nd (UK) / May 11 on Netflix (US).
A Spy Among Friends
The second Ben Macintyre book to be adapted, A Spy Among Friends is taking the approach of a limited series rather than a motion picture. Chronicling the friendship between British/KGB double agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce) and childhood friend/fellow intelligence colleague Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis), this story delves into one of the most notable defections of the Cold War.
Premieres TBD Fall 2022 on ITV/BritBox (UK) and Spectrum (US).
The Gray Man
One of 2022’s most anticipated Netflix movies has to be the Russo Brothers’ The Gray Man. Action, betrayal and some good old fashioned destruction make up this Chris Evans/Ryan Gosling-centered spy caper. We’ve seen a little bit of footage from this much buzzed about project, which comes from author Mark Greaney’s literary series, and it already looks like a good time. Sadly, out of all of the things we know about The Gray Man, we unfortunately do not know when we’ll see its exploits debut on Netflix and possibly in theaters.
Premieres TBD 2022 on Netflix.
Matthew Vaughn knows how to tell a good spy story thanks to his work with Mark Millar’s Kingsman series. That apparently isn’t enough, as he’s gone and latched himself onto another espionage thriller, which is headed straight to Apple TV+ this year. Ellie Conway’s upcoming novel Argylle is the potential start of a trilogy, with a best-selling author discovering that they are actually “the world’s greatest spy.” Starring Henry Cavill and Bryce Dallas Howard, among a field of other notable talents, it’s as star studded and insane as a you’d expect from a Vaughn helmed spy movie.
Premieres TBD 2022, on Apple TV+.
While all of these projects are subject to change and availability, 2022 does seem like it’ll keep telling tales about spies in danger. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you might want to check back here from time to time, in case any new intel is discovered. Until then, don’t forget to enjoy yourself, but keep your eyes open for the next thrilling assignment that may cross your desk.
CinemaBlend’s James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.