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Moviegoers leaving the theater after the new James Bond movie No Time to Die may wonder: Is James Bond really dead? Surely, the storied franchise, which has existed for 58 years, couldn’t kill off 007? (Stop reading if you don’t want to get spoilers for the movie!)
To be sure, there is what looks like a death scene at the end of No Time to Die. There doesn’t seem anyway for Daniel Craig to escape it. Is Bond dead or could he have somehow found a way to escape the British missile directed at the island he’s standing on?
The answer: Yes, James Bond is dead, at least with Craig playing him. Surely, there will be another James Bond movie, with someone else playing 007. After all, at the beginning of No Time to Die, Bond is essentially retired, living in Jamaica, and spending his time fishing. Nomi, a new character played by Lashana Lynch, has inherited the 007 title, although she gives it back to Bond out of respect toward the end of the movie. It seems that the Bond franchise is symbolically blowing up the old Bond archetype (one that garnered increasing controversy in the #metoo movement) in favor of a modern update.
The producers have made it clear that Craig is done as Bond.
“It was a metaphor for Bond, the character, and for Daniel leaving,” Producer Michael G. Wilson told NBC News. “So it was highly emotional for us. We all had either open tears, or a lump in our throat, or found our voices breaking.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Craig Famously Said He Would Rather Slash His Wrists Than Play Bond Again
One of the biggest clues that Bond is really dead (other than the implausibility of him escaping a missile attack that appears to have blown him to smithereens), is the fact that the latest actor playing him, Craig, has made it clear he doesn’t want to do it anymore.
Way back in 2015, Craig said in an interview that he couldn’t imagine playing Bond in another movie. “Now? I’d rather … slash my wrists,” he replied, according to The Guardian. “No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.” Asked who should play Bond in that same interview, he said, “Look, I don’t give a f***.”
However, he did add the caveat that his stance was for “at least a year or two” and that, if he did do another Bond movie, it would be for the money. Of course, he did do another Bond movie, No Time to Die, which was supposed to come out in 2019, but it appears to be with the promise that the movie would finish off his version of the character.
Craig, the latest in a long line of Bonds, played the character for five films, starting with Casino Royale. No Time to Die bookends the Craig movies, starting with him visiting the grave of his lost love, Vesper, who fans will remember died in the first movie. In No Time to Die, Bond has a new love interest, Madeleine Swann (played by Léa Seydoux). He also has a small daughter, the first time that the once incorrigible and misogynistic bachelor became a father.
He believes that Madeleine betrayed him before learning she hadn’t, but the uber villain, Safin (Rami Malek) uses a DNA targeting bioweapon that means Bond won’t ever be able to touch Madeleine or their daughter without killing them. Thus, he makes the heroic move of letting the missile take him out instead. Before all of that happens, he ties up loose ends, killing Ernst Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), the maniac who was responsible for Vesper’s death and her forced betrayal of Bond.
The Times wrote pointblank, “Daniel Craig’s last.”
The show’s producers have said they haven’t picked the new Bond yet.
“We don’t have any frontrunners – we haven’t even thought about it – but whoever it is will take on the role and adapt the character to their personality. It’s always been the case,” Michael G Wilson, Bond producer, told The Times in August 2021.
What of Lashana Lynch? Will she be the next Bond? She’s spoken about the possibility.
“Nooo! You don’t want me!” she told The Guardian. “I’d just be like, ‘Erm, right, so where do you start again?’”
She added, “We are in a place in time where the industry is not just giving audiences what it thinks the audience wants. They’re actually giving the audience what they want to give the audience. With Bond, it could be a man or woman. They could be white, black, Asian, mixed race. They could be young or old. At the end of the day, even if a two-year-old was playing Bond, everyone would flock to the cinema to see what this two-year-old’s gonna do, no?”
There is one tantalizing clue. After the credits, the line “James Bond will return,” plays, however that is a signature line played after Bond movies. It likely means the franchise will continue, not that Craig will return, although, of course, the James Bond character has been played by different actors in the past.