So, Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond has come to an end. One of the most revolutionary actors to take up the character going out not with fists of fury, but with tears of emotion. Before Craig’s Bond had even shot his first gun or thrown a henchman off a high railing in Casino Royale, he was already a broken man. A wounded action hero forged from a sincere reality, Craig has bought Bond into the new millennium, leaving a clean slate for whoever may next take up the mantle. Watch out for No Time to Die spoilers ahead…
The final film of Daniel Craig’s James Bond career, No Time to Die continues the fragmented story of the past five films, joining 007 in a life of retirement is his lover, Madeleine (Léa Seydoux), a psychiatrist with a dark past. Attacked whilst on vacation, it is revealed that Madeleine hasn’t been entirely truthful to Bond, as the two part ways and Bond seeks out the villainous Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek).
Eventually seeing the errors of their ways, Bond and Madeleine join forces with Lashana Lynch’s Nomi to take down the maniacal villain on his island lair. As the film rages towards its violent climax, Bond defeats Safin in a rather muted fashion and unusually finds himself totally alone, without a getaway vehicle or even the company of his accomplice. Deciding not to make a grand escape with a jetpack, hovercraft or hot air balloon, instead James Bond awaits his fate as missiles head to destroy the poisonous island. For the first time in the franchise’s history, James Bond dies.
Following in the footsteps of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame, the death of Daniel Craig’s Bond represents a monumental shift in the series. However, no matter how radical this climax may seem, it is perhaps the most loyal to Ian Fleming’s original vision. As Daniel Craig stated in a recent interview, “It’s very complicated the relationship Fleming had to Bond…He didn’t like him. He tried to kill him off. There’s not a lot there as far as character is concerned. Fleming called him ‘a shadow’”.
So what does this ending mean for the future of James Bond? The death of 007 represents a significant statement of intent from Barbara Broccoli and the James Bond crew, levelling the landscape of the current character, and in many ways the decades of history that has preceded. As the after-credits titles read “James Bond will return”, though the form in which the character may return could very well be far different.
Having long-relied on franchise iconography to carry the series from film to film, the death of James Bond can also trigger the death of the Aston Martin DB5, the Martinis and the Bond girls. Never has there been a better time to refit 007 with a brand new suit, car and modern bunch of ideals.
Cast a younger actor, a woman or an actor from an entirely different ethnicity. Switch up the tone and create something more unique, instead of copying contemporary action flicks. Restore the simple pleasures of Roger Moore’s era. The possibilities to revolutionise the James Bond series are truly endless.
It’s time for Bond to live and let die.