The following contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for No Time to Die.
No Time to Die is finally here, and with it comes the end of Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond. It’s been one hell of a 15-year run for Craig, but the man who had one of the most impressive introductions to the franchise with Casino Royale now also has one of the most memorable farewells. With that farewell comes an unprecedented opportunity.
James Bond is dead. Long live James Bond. Daniel Craig’s version of the character came to a close at the end of No Time to Die, but the closing credits promised us that James Bond will return. I sat through those credits just to make sure those words would appear, because I’m now more excited than ever to see the next James Bond movie.
The James Bond Slate Has Been Wiped Clean
While James Bond has been played by six different people over the course of nearly six decades, most of that time saw a rough continuity between the stories. Q was played by the same actor for decades, implying he was dealing with the same James Bond.
That meant that James Bond could never change too radically. While the actors came from numerous places across the UK, they were from the UK, someplace, and they were white dudes. Yes, Ian Fleming’s character was also a white dude from the UK, but when the character in the Dr. No movie and the guy in the License to Kill movie are technically supposed to be the same guy, there isn’t a lot of room to do something new.
Even with Casino Royale being the reboot that gave the new James Bond an actual origin story, they still kept Judi Dench playing M. The new movies were still meant to remind you of the previous ones, even if the continuity didn’t really make any sense.
But now James Bond has died. The next James Bond can’t really be seen as being the same guy we just saw in the last movie anymore. The shackles have been removed. James Bond is free.
James Bond Can Be Anybody
Since it took Daniel Craig a while to commit to making one more James Bond movie, the discussion of who the next James Bond will be has actually been going on for several years already. Many have suggested that the next James Bond could break the mold and take the character in truly refreshing directions.
Maybe James Bond could be a person of color. Maybe James Bond could even be a woman. These ideas, while perhaps not broadly popular, have been gaining traction. There are a lot of people who would clearly love to see some very nontraditional takes on the character.
My point in writing this is not to specifically advocate for any of these more “radical” takes, though I certainly would not be against them. My point is just to say that the door is open to these ideas in a way that it hasn’t been before.
There will always be those who see James Bond as a certain type of character who acts a certain kind of way and will be opposed to any sort of different spin. But the audience has never been better prepared for the fact that the next James Bond they see will be a different James Bond.
Even if you twist your brain in knots to see every previous film as some sort of connected continuity, that guy just died. Everybody will be a bit more willing for the next Bond to be different. He can be a woman, a person of color, 19 years old or all of the above.
James Bond Can Do (Or At Least Try) Anything
What may be the best part of all of it is if it doesn’t work, that’s ok. This new status quo for Bond, or rather, a lack thereof, means that we’re in a period where things can be tried and discarded if they don’t work out.
While the James Bond franchise played with the idea of continuity, each of the pre-Daniel Craig films are really standalone episodes. We could go back to that structure and use it to actually try different people as James Bond. Just because EON Productions has previously liked to find one actor and stick with them for several films doesn’t mean that needs to be the case forever.
We could get a female Bond, followed by an Asian bond. We could see what a Bond movie is like with a really young Bond, and then tell a story with a much older, long past retirement, Bond. It could be like Marvel’s What If…? for spy movies.
If one of these ideas really catches on with audiences, if one actor really blows us away, we could see the franchise carried off in that direction. And if not, at least we saw how the iconic character could be handled in other ways.
I’ve previously suggested that future James Bond films consider remaking the Ian Fleming stories that were first adapted by Sean Connery and Roger Moore. While I think that’s a good idea no matter how it’s done, it could be done to great effect in a structure like this.
I Don’t Know The Future Of James Bond, And That’s Exciting
In the end, whether the next James Bond movie is some radical reinvention or something closer to the traditional version we saw pre-Daniel Craig, what makes the whole thing exciting is that we just don’t know.
James Bond will be celebrating his 60th anniversary on the big screen before we get another James Bond movie. Throughout all that time, from one movie to the next, Bond has largely followed a formula. The plot and characters would be different, but Bond would be the same, and for the most part so would the tropes that surrounded him.
But all that was just literally blown up. We’re truly going to enter a new age in the world of James Bond on screen and with it comes nearly endless possibilities. It would be a crime to simply go back and do the same thing over again. With so many choices now available, it’s impossible to guess what will be chosen, but I’m looking forward to finding out and seeing James Bond return more than ever before.Internet Explorer Channel Network