No Time To Die (2021) is one of the most epic finale movies of all time. Much like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Daniel Craig’s latest and last Bond outing goes to great lengths to ensure that the next James Bond movie has no choice but to wipe the slate clean.
Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for No Time To Die, so if you’ve yet to see the film, we urge you to go and watch it before reading any further.
No Time To Die is a Bond movie that stands on its own, while also serving as the culmination of all previous four movies – Casino Royale (2007), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015). This time, the past catches up with James Bond in ways he never thought possible.
Bond’s girlfriend, Madelaine Swann (Lea Seydoux), whom he hasn’t seen for five years after suspecting her involvement in a plot to assassinate him during his retirement, resurfaces as a psychiatrist working for MI6 in London.
But as old and new enemies emerge from the dark, who intend to wipe out huge parts of the population using a “nano-virus”, Bond learns that Madelaine has a five-year-old daughter, Mathilde Swann (Lisa-Dorah Sonnet), though she tells him that Mathilde isn't his child.
At the end of the film, while fighting with terrorist Safin (Rami Malek), Bond is injected with a deadly custom-made virus that will prevent him from being able to go near Madelaine and Mathilde ever again. After killing Safin, Bond remains on the island where Safin’s missiles are about to launch.
Having managed to postpone the launch, Bond orders MI6 to launch a full strike on the entire facility. During an emotional conversation with Madelaine via satellite phone, he learns that Mathilde is his daughter. We then see Bond killed by the huge explosion that destroys Safin’s base.
It’s fair to say that nothing is left to the imagination with Bond’s demise. While we’ve already compared No Time To Die with The Dark Knight Rises, don’t go expecting an epilogue in which Bond turns up in a café in Florence looking very much alive and well – James Bond is dead.
Even his vital signs can be seen behind Q (Ben Wishaw) – and they’re all negative. Rather than tease a future Bond movie, No Time To Die ends on a poignant note, with Madelaine telling her daughter: “'m going to tell you a story about a man. His name was Bond, James Bond.”
But will there be another James Bond movie? Well, if you consider that the Bond movies started way back in 1962, then it’s more than reasonable to expect another installment at some point in the future. As to when or how this could happen, though, is unknown.
Speculation as to who the next James Bond will be started before the film was even released (what else did we all have to do during lockdown, while we waited for the ever-delayed No Time To Die?!). And a ton of names have been thrown around, with Idris Elba being the most popular.
However, the problem isn’t necessarily recasting – it’s where we go from here. In many ways, we’d rather not see another Bond movie, because we can’t quite imagine another one reaching the heights of No Time To Die, or another Bond living up to Daniel Craig’s efforts for that matter.
Nevertheless, here are five ways James Bond - or 007 - can return...
5. Complete Reboot
The first port of call is of course a James Bond reboot – after all, it’s a franchise that’s certainly no stranger to such a thing. While you can argue that all the different “faces” of Bond – Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, George Lazenby, and Daniel Craig - represent nothing more than a recasting, the Craig era is without argument a total wiping of the slate.
One consistency is M (Judi Dench), who appears in both the Brosnan and Craig Bond movies. So who’s to say that hitting the reset button would mean omitting Ben Wishaw (Q), Naomie Harris (Moneypenny), and Mallory (Ralph Fiennes)? Retaining these actors while kick-starting a new continuity might be the best of both worlds (that’s also a good name for a Bond movie).
4. Facial Reconstruction
As far out there as this sounds, hear us out. Should the filmmakers decide to continue within the same continuity as the Daniel Craig Bond movies, while also bringing back James Bond but without Daniel Craig (in other words, should they choose to have their cake and eat it), then surely the only place to go would be to say that Bond didn’t die, but also that he doesn’t look the same.
In a movie franchise bursting at the seams with gizmos, gadgets, and world-changing technology, there’s always the option of total facial reconstruction. With that said, this does sound like something that belongs in a Sean Connery or Roger Moore Bond movie, rather than a Daniel Craig one. And if this is the only way to retcon Bond’s death, we’d rather a complete reboot altogether.
We know what you’re thinking – we’ve already had a prequel of sorts in the form of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s first outing as a newly appointed 007 agent. And we certainly don’t want to retrace these steps – The Batman (2022) is already exploring such territory previously already charted with Batman Begins (2005). This time, we’d have to go back a lot further.
If we’re going to back to the very early career days of James Bond, a recasting would of course required (not only that, but Daniel Craig isn’t coming back anyway). While Casino Royale finds him at the early part of his career as 007, we doubt that he was fast-tracked into that position. The character of Bond has a rich history, and a prequel set in the Craig timeline could easily explore this.
The character of Nomi (Lashana Lynch) caused quite a stir when she appeared in the trailers for No Time To Die, as it was no mystery that she was the new "007". To no surprise, a storm of controversy followed, with fans worrying that she had been brought in to readily replace Daniel Craig after his curtain call. But as we now know, she only takes on the moniker during his retirement.
Not only that, but Nomi is a great character, and her back and forth with Bond throughout the film is very entertaining. As the third act begins to unfold, Nomi even asks for Bond to be reinstated as 007, and from there on, manages to hold her own as a 00 agent. We hope we haven't seen the last of Nomi, and it's possible that, following Bond's demise, she has become 007 once more.
1. Mathilde Swann
Speaking of a "female" James Bond, let's turn our attention to who should be the most obvious successor to Daniel Craig's 007. While his daughter Mathilde Swann is of course only a little girl in No Time To Die, there are surely no rules in the Bond rulebook that prohibit the filmmakers from making a huge leap forward in time for the next Bond movie.
In other words, who better to continue Bond's legacy than his own daughter. We know that Madelaine is experienced with firearms and combat, so it only makes sense that she would train her daughter to protect herself. The movie even ends with Madelaine telling Mathilde about her father, so seeing a much older Mathilde in a future Bond movie picking up her father's mantle.
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