Double-0-seven eschews the Great Beyond in No Time to Die, a Cary Joji Fukunaga film pitting Ian Fleming’s top guy against his greatest adversary yet: retirement. James Bond is no more than a ghost five years after SPECTRE went silent, but the man is no ordinary civilian. Through personal tragedies and near-misses, or age, nothing can keep Britain’s most capable agent from active service. The world is soon thrown into chaos; a Bond well past his prime drags his three-piece suits back to HQ and finds his colleagues ever so ramshackle without him. The M16 has become a quadriplegic wreck in Bond’s absence, forcing him to slip into his classic Bespoke and take matters into his own hands. No Time to Die is a Logan-esque sendoff for actor Daniel Craig, who has been playing James Bond since 2006. This is his last movie as 007.
A teaser for the Daniel Craig epic was posted on Monday. Check it out:
No Time to Die marks a ton of firsts. It’s the first Bond film directed by Fukunaga, who was previously in contention for Spectre before Sam Mendes took over, and the first to be released under Universal, after Sony lost international distribution rights to the franchise in 2015. It’s also the first James Bond produced during an active pandemic. Like Black Widow, the project is among those shot before COVID-19 locked down businesses; it suffered two to three years’ worth of delays before finally settling on a Fall release date.
Daniel Craig has come a long way since Casino Royale. For those old enough to remember 2005, the Knives Out star didn’t initially have the most welcoming of introductions. Bond stalwarts didn’t take kindly to a replacement for Pierce Brosnan, and found Craig too blond and “too average” for the part. Double-0-seven was often portrayed as courtly and sophisticated — smooth as silk, one would say — and Craig felt a touch too gritty. There was an air of gruff impatience to Craig’s portrayal of James Bond, and he almost seemed unfriendly, and audiences used to Sean Connery’s take weren’t sure what to make of the Chester-born actor. He simply didn’t seem to embody the character, at least not at first.
Daniel Craig is also the first Bond born after author Ian Fleming died of successive heart attacks in 1964, making him the true James Bond for the early Internet age. His iteration was especially popular among Generation Xers. And he is poised to be the only Gen X Bond, considering his successor is shaping up to be a Millennial.
But Daniel Craig is a solid action star through and through, and his acting style betrayed his smoldering dedication to the character. Being the quintessential Gen X double-0-seven, his James Bond was resourceful but down-to-earth, proactive and educated, and like Craig himself, heavily underestimated, only to rise to the occasion and prove his worth many times over. His was an enterprising Bond, someone you couldn’t keep out of retirement longer than a year. Which is where we find old Jimmy at the start of No Time to Die — still curt, still sharp as a nail, and difficult to put down.
Ironically, Daniel Craig is stepping down as 007 after this film; his acting career has since taken off and the 53-year-old is seeking new pastures. Names ranging from Henry Cavill to Idris Elba have dominated headlines around Craig’s potential successor, but no one has been definitively cast just yet. It’s also unclear if executives plan on rebooting the franchise and starting with a young James Bond, same as Craig when he debuted in Casino Royale, or if the new Bond is a continuation of Craig’s tenure as the famed agent. After all, it’s long been theorized that “James Bond” is not any specific individual’s name, but instead a title, much like Q or M. And the character Lashana Lynch is playing is another double-0-seven.
No Time to Die stars Daniel Craig as James Bond, Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter, Christoph Waltz as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner, and Ralph Fiennes as M. Newcomers include Rami Malek as new villain Lyutsifer Safin, Lashana Lynch as new 007 Nomi, Ana de Armas as Paloma, Dali Benssalah as Primo, Billy Magnussen as Logan Ash, and David Dencik as Valdo Obruchev. Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge rewrote a screenplay penned by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, after John Hodge bowed out due to creative differences. Danny Boyle was originally primed to direct before making way for Fukunaga. No Time to Die hits theaters on October 8.