Elliot Carver: The Billionaire Behind the Headlines
Elliot Carver is a notorious British media baron who plots on an unimaginably grand scale. He’s the main villain from the 1997 James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, where he weaves a narrative of intrigue, ambition, and ruthless power play.
A character shaped by the mesmerizing performance by British actor Jonathan Pryce, Carver’s unquenchable thirst for global media domination is reflected in his audacious plan to orchestrate a war between the United Kingdom and China. His ultimate goal? Toppling the Chinese government and securing exclusive broadcasting rights in China for his empire.
Born an orphan in Hong Kong, Elliot Carver is the unrecognized offspring of a German prostitute who passed away during childbirth and Lord Roverman, a British media mogul. A local Chinese family adopted him for the single payment of £50. Fast forward three decades, Carver went face-to-face with Roverman, compelling him towards suicide through blackmail, and subsequently assumes control of the media empire.
Carver pursued higher education in Hong Kong, gaining a degree in communication arts. As per his personal narration, he spent his teenage years working for a regional newspaper. In his early years of adulthood, he secured a job as a weather reporter at a Hong Kong television station, eventually ascending to the position of the station’s lead news presenter.
During this phase, he frequently engaged in inappropriate behavior towards his female colleagues, to such an extent that one of them felt compelled to leave Hong Kong to escape his advances.
In the subsequent years, Carver shaped his persona as a media tycoon, leveraging his profound experience in journalism and broadcasting. Having successfully transformed Roverman’s corporation into his personal brand, he made Paris McKenna his spouse, marking her as the first Mrs. Carver.
Tomorrow Never Dies
Elliot Carver is a multibillionaire and the international head of a German-rooted multimedia conglomerate called the Carver Media Group Network (CMGN). He often wields his influence to secure advantages for his corporation or unleash chaos on his adversaries.
Intriguingly, CMGN is usually the first to broadcast scandals and catastrophes as they tend to be the architects behind them.
In one of Carver’s daily virtual meetings, various department heads boast about the global chaos they’re creating: Jeff Hobbs mentions “floods in Pakistan, upheavals in Paris, and a plane accident in California,” while Philip Jones admits that all recent CMG software comes riddled with bugs, trapping consumers in a constant upgrade loop.
To spike viewership, Carver orders Tom Wallace to pressure the U.S. President by threatening to expose scandalous photos of him with a cheerleader unless he approves a bill to reduce cable rates – and then leak the photos anyway once he complies.
At the launch party for the CMGN Satellite Network, Carver dismisses allegations that he retaliated against British cattle magnate Sir Angus Black, who reportedly refused to settle a £10,000 poker debt, by publishing stories on Mad Cow Disease. He also denies receiving 100 million francs from France to continue spreading such stories.
Elliot Carver’s Plan
Denied a media footprint in China, Carver sets out to trigger a conflict between China and the UK. His aim is to eliminate the current Chinese leadership in Beijing, clearing the path for the Carver Media Group to monopolize broadcasting rights in China for the next hundred years.
Carver orchestrates the construction of a stealth ship, using materials smuggled by General Chang from China. In return, Chang would rise to power within the Chinese government, while Carver exploits the media coverage of the ensuing war.
As the first step in his master plan, Carver deploys American “techno-terrorist” Henry Gupta to buy a GPS encoder (manufactured by the American military) from a terrorist weapons market. Gupta uses the encoder to remotely disrupt the GPS systems of both the British HMS Devonshire and two Chinese MiGs, misleading the naval ship and the fighter jets into what they believe are Chinese territorial waters.
Carver then instructs Richard Stamper and Captain Scott to sink the Devonshire using his “Sea-Vac” drill. From the stealth boat, Carver’s crew activates the Sea-Vac against the naval ship and fires two guided missiles that destroy the intercepted aircraft.
Carver then orders his men to exterminate the surviving crew using Chinese military ammunition while a dive team pilfers a cruise missile from the shipwreck.
Enter 007 into the Fray
MI6 detects an unusual signal from one of CMGN’s communication satellites, directed at the coordinates of the sunken frigate. M dispatches James Bond to probe into Elliot Carver after his media outlet publishes details about the incident hours before rival news agencies.
Bond heads to Hamburg and slips into Carver’s inaugural party for his new satellite network, posing as a banker. He encounters Carver for the first time and reunites with Paris.
Elliot Carver grows instantly suspicious of Bond when the undercover agent queries him about the functionality of his satellites. He orders his goons to capture and question Bond, but Bond escapes, disrupting Carver’s live global broadcast and leaving him embarrassed in front of his guests.
Later, Gupta informs Carver that Bond is an undercover agent, so he instructs Paris to extract information from Bond regarding his presence at the party and find out what he knows.
Carver uncovers a past romantic connection between Bond and Paris, despite her insisting that it was a strictly platonic relationship. Enraged and feeling betrayed, Carver orders the assassination of his wife, which is carried out by the expert hitman, Dr. Kaufman.
As Bond delves deeper into the investigation of the Devonshire wreckage, he learns that the ship and aircraft were actually located in Vietnamese waters at the time of the Stealth Ship’s assault.
Bond also discovers Agent Wai Lin from the People’s External Security Force has been investigating Carver’s activities. The duo had crossed paths twice before at Carver’s Hamburg headquarters – initially at the launch party and then the following day.
Eventually, Stamper captures Bond and Wai Lin and brings them to Carver at a CMGN tower in Saigon. Carver discloses his plans to them and orders Stamper to torture them, but they manage to escape and decide to work together on the case.
The pair locate Elliot Carver’s stealth ship in Ha Long Bay and infiltrate it, intending to stop the maniac from launching the stolen cruise missile at Beijing. During the ensuing skirmish, Wai Lin is captured while Bond deceives Carver’s henchmen by faking his death.
On the ship’s command deck, Bond takes Gupta hostage, but Carver coldly kills Gupta as the final phase of his plan is about to commence.
Despite being trapped, Bond triggers an explosive, damaging the ship and making it detectable by the Royal Navy’s radar. Carver then confronts Bond at gunpoint in the control room, boasting that the destruction of the stealth ship also eradicates any evidence of his illicit activities.
As Carver gloats, Bond subtly activates the Sea-Vac. The noise from the drill momentarily distracts Carver, allowing Bond to swiftly disarm him. Bond then thrusts a shrieking Carver towards the incoming drill, letting him go at the very last moment, resulting in Carver’s gruesome death while Bond makes his escape.
Bond then foils Carver’s plan by placing detonators on the missile to ensure its destruction before it can be launched. Upon confirmation of Carver’s death, M publishes a news story, claiming that Elliot Carver has mysteriously disappeared while aboard his luxurious yacht in the South China Sea, with the authorities suspecting suicide.
Sir Jonathan Pryce OBE, born John Price on 1 June 1947, is a distinguished British actor with notable contributions to both theatre and film. Initially pursuing a teaching career, he transitioned to acting following a college theatre production. His talent led him to receive a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he polished his acting skills.
Pryce’s impressive stage performances won him two Tony Awards and two Laurence Olivier Awards. His film career includes standout roles in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Age of Innocence, and The Two Popes, as well as big-budget films like the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Tomorrow Never Dies.
He has also earned acclaim for his roles in TV series like Game of Thrones and The Crown. His personal life includes a long-term relationship with actress Kate Fahy, whom he married in 2015. Pryce was recognized as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2009, and he was knighted (OBE) for his contributions to the arts in 2021.