Daniel Craig, Quantum of Solace, Sam Menedes

Columbia Pictures; Dan Herrick/ZumaPress.com

May we say, it's about friggin' time.

After delays due to MGM's financial woes almost saw 007 forced into early retirement, the James Bond brain trust finally has some good news for fans: the 23rd film will start production later this year and will hit theaters on Nov. 9, 2012. For those keeping score at home, the release date not only marks four years since the last adventure but also the 50th anniversary of the venerable franchise!

But who will be playing the martini-swilling superspy?

Daniel Craig will return to the role he rejuvenated with 2006's successful reboot, Casino Royale, and its sequel, 2008's Quantum of Solace, producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli confirmed.

Sam Mendes, who was slated to helm the picture it was shut down while MGM teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, will also be back, directing from a script by regular Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade with a little help from Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan.

The latest gap between Bond flicks is shorter than the six-year hiatus the suave secret agent took in the '90s between 1989's ill-fated Timothy Dalton outing License to Kill  and Pierce Brosnan's debut in the tux with 1995's GoldenEye.

Now that the cash-strapped studio finally has its act together, we look forward to another 50 years of Bond, James Bond.

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