Having dragged James Bond into modernity with Casino Royale back in 2006, Daniel Craig’s tenure as the classic British spy has almost reached its end with the release of No Time to Die, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Released to critical acclaim, Casino Royale became one of the most successful stylistic reboots in cinema history, leading the franchise through its weird, rambunctious adolescent transition and into something far more adult.
Daniel Craig’s Bond was different. Before he’d even shot his first gun or thrown a henchman off a high railing, he was already a broken man. A wounded action hero forged from a sincere reality, ready for the uncertain challenges of the new millennium. Such led the modern version of the character through harsh personal and physical trials in sequels, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre, bringing a contemporary sincerity to the classic character that echoed the gritty tones of Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity.
Having played the character over five separate films, Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond has been a commercial celebration and a scattered critical success, flitting between moments of true quality in Casino Royale to nonsensical idiocy in Quantum of Solace. Looking back at his time as 007 in an interview with Radio 1, Daniel Craig was asked about his specific highlights over the last four films, with the interviewer also suggesting “Silva’s Seduction” in Skyfall as a notable moment.
Agreeing, Daniel Craig notes, “Oh yeah, I watched that scene the other day, I’d just forgotten how outrageous it was, it’s just so out there”. Craig then went on to explain that the specific scene referenced was almost cut, adding, “As Barabara will tell you, the studio wanted to cut that line, we were like ‘we can’t’”.
Somewhat dodging the question, Craig then responded: “The highlights, genuinely, are working with people like that [Javier Bardem]”. Despite all the running, gunning, kicking and jumping over the past four James Bond adventures, Craig is right in noting this moment as one of his most iconic, with this homoerotic meeting of minds standing out as one of the most significant of the whole franchise.
The search now starts for a replacement for Daniel Craig in the iconic role, with plenty of suggestions having already dominated forums and message boards across the internet, from Daniel Kaluuya to Jodie Comer. As for Craig, his only nugget of advice for his successor is “don’t be shit”, before elaborating on his legacy of the character, stating: ”I just wanted to make sure I left it in as good a place as I found it, that’s all I cared about, I think that anyone who takes it on will feel the same way because it matters and it’s a huge part of cinema history and it’s a huge part of British cinema history”.
With No Time to Die marking the fifth film of Daniel Craig’s Bond career, he leaves the role as one of the most decorated actors ever to take on the part, taking the character to new heights whilst leaving an empty slate for his exciting successor.