No Time To Die may be Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond, but the franchise would be better off replacing 007 instead of just the actor playing Bond.
No Time To Die might be Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond, but the franchise would be better off replacing agent 007 after this outing instead of just the actor playing Bond. The 25th cinematic outing of super-spy James Bond, No Time To Die, is set to finally hit cinemas in 2021 after a string of delays. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the thriller promises to be a fittingly intense and high-octane send-off for Layer Cake actor Daniel Craig’s iteration of Bond.
Craig took on the role way back in 2006 with the gritty Casino Royale, a more grounded origin story that introduced audiences to a darker version of special agent James Bond. Since then, Craig’s movies have established a backstory and ongoing character arc for his anguished, aging Bond that continues across the action of 2008’s deeply flawed follow-up Quantum of Solace, 2012’s Skyfall, 2015’s Spectre, and now the forthcoming No Time To Die. The latest movie looks set to switch up the routine, with cast newcomer Lashana Lynch recently confirmed to be the new 007.
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Although Craig is ready to retire from the role, the James Bond series could benefit from replacing 007 altogether instead of having another actor take on the familiar part of Bond. The title character has been the biggest draw of the series for decades since the Ian Fleming adaptations began with the recently departed Sean Connery’s Bond debut, Dr. No. But dropping the focus on James Bond and broadening the remit of who can play 007 could let the spy franchise diversify the stories it can tell, and this approach could also offer a more immersive insight into the world of international espionage. Not only that, but changing the focus to 007 over James Bond would also let the Bond franchise avoid the difficulty of trying to one-up Craig’s version of the character.
No Time To Die Sets Up 007’s Future Without James Bond
Viewers have known for some time now that Lashana Lynch plays an unnamed new 00 agent in No Time To Die, but because the cast’s new arrivals have remained tight-lipped about story details, it’s only just been revealed this week that with Craig’s Bond retiring, Lynch will be playing a new version of 007. Only time will tell whether No Time To Die kills off Lynch’s version of 007, prompting Bond’s return to service in search of revenge, or if she’ll be a colleague of the character once he comes out of retirement. But in either case, Lynch playing 007 makes it clear that the James Bond franchise has been putting some thought into how the creators can continue the 007 mantle in the absence of the eponymous character.
Replacing James Bond Is Tougher Now Than Before
To maintain a light-hearted escapist tone despite the title character being surrounded by crime and death, the franchise’s previous Bond incarnations always returned to the status quo between movies. An installment would end with George Lazenby’s Bond mourning the murder of his wife, only for him to be played by a different actor and back to his charming, womanizing ways the next time the character showed up on the big screen. It was this disregard of continuity that allowed the James Bond series to transition seamlessly between the grittier Timothy Dalton-starring movies into Pierce Brosnan’s campier, funnier Bond Goldeneye. But this all changed with 2006’s Casino Royale, which gave James Bond a backstory and deepened the audience’s connection with Craig’s specific version of the spy. Ever since then the James Bond series has for the first time in its long history expected viewers to piece together a multi-movie plot.
Across his 4 outings in the role, viewers have seen Daniel Craig go from a young spy to a retired veteran, with the Craig James Bond movies including backstories for everyone from Miss Moneypenny to Bond’s arch-nemesis Blofeld. Skyfall even killed off Judi Dench’s M, a daring bit of continuity acknowledgment when the James Bond series never usually addressed the changeover of the actors playing Bond himself, let alone his co-workers. Buoyed by the popularity of episodic blockbuster series such as the MCU, Craig’s Bond had an entire proper story arc where earlier versions of the spy prided themselves in having little to no connection between movies. As a result of the Craig era’s new-found interest in continuity, rebooting the James Bond franchise after the actor leaves would now be more akin to rebooting the Batman, Iron Man, or Wolverine franchises. Even with a perfect actor like Tom Hardy ready to play Bond, the series can no longer continue without acknowledging the switch.
Why Continuing 007 Without James Bond Is The Best Choice
It may go without saying that James Bond is, of course, the biggest draw of the James Bond franchise. But despite this obvious fact, there’s a lot of potential in the franchise’s post-Bond possibilities, and few limits to what an inventive creator could do with 007 after the exit of James Bond. There’s a ton of untapped potential in the modern era for a new type of spy story that doesn’t center solely around the antics of James Bond, and a new 007 could mean more focus on the team supporting the secret agent on their deadly missions (an idea that the Craig movies have already begun to explore with the backstory of Miss Moneypenny). The beloved supporting cast of the Bond franchise could get a moment in the spotlight without James Bond being the sole focus of proceedings, and the series could revisit some of the many villains already established by the Craig era without getting knotted up in backstory.
After all, now that Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld has been revealed as the foster brother of Craig’s Bond, he can’t interact with a new Bond without noticing the difference — but he could certainly face off against a new 007. Not only this, but the lack of diversity in the Bond franchise’s casting could be much easier to address if the series were to broaden its focus to include non-male-presenting and non-white versions of 007 (something a new M or Q actor would help with, too). This could particularly intriguing when the codenames 001-006 have been referenced in passing in earlier installments, but their backstories and histories were only ever dwelled on for the sake of a one-off villain. Sean Bean’s classic Goldeneye baddie Alec Trevelyan proved a clever, dark inversion of Bond in his lone movie appearance, and illustrating the lives of MI6’s remaining field operatives could prove just as engaging and inventive as any new James Bond would be. Rather than focusing on a lone wolf super-spy, the franchise has an opportunity to innovate its approach after the retirement of Daniel Craig’s version of the character by opting to focus on 007 instead of James Bond.
More: James Bond: How Old Every 007 Actor Was In Each Movie
Key Release Dates
- No Time to Die/James Bond 25 (2021)Release date: Apr 02, 2021
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