******* PLEASE NOTE THIS ARTICLE HAS MAJOR SPOILERS *******
It was a long time arriving due to the pandemic but when ‘No Time to Die’ did finally got released it was greeted with positive reviews and we put it on our Best Films of 2021 list (see the full Best & Worst list HERE). But perhaps what took everyone by surprise was THAT ending. No one saw that coming and it is amazing that with the 18 month delay in its release the ending somehow managed not to be leaked. There were rumour s of three endings having been filmed as we reported HERE but no one expected the ending that was in the final cut. That the film was titled ‘No Time To Die’ and that the film would be Craig’s final outing now seems suitably ironic.
That Safin (Rami Malek) would come into ownership of Heracles, the nano technology covertly designed by British scientists to target specific person through skin to skin contact, was a great plot device. So it’s Safin who tweaks the weapon and then produces immense amounts on his secret island (a throwback to those Bond films of old that started with Dr No’s island of doom) so as to be able to kill millions of people . It’s Bond who ends up infected and with no known cure he orders a missile strike on the island knowing that he can never be with his Madeleine or his 5 year old daughter without condemning them to death if he touches them.
Bond has never died surviving the most improbably climatic battles and as many of the films in the franchise ended with the legend, ‘James Bond Will Return’ and yet with missiles raining down on the island killing Bond in a moving finale the film still promises his return. It was a bravura twist that absolutely no one saw coming but an about to be broadcast interview with Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli & Michael G. Wilson and director Cary Fukunaga discuss just how THAT ending came into being……..
Daniel Craig: I’m going to tell a story here, whether or not anybody remembers it or agrees with it. But it was 2006. Barbara and I were sitting in the back of a car driving away from the Berlin premiere of “Casino Royale.” Everything was going well. People liked the movie. And it looked like I was gonna get a chance to make at least another movie. I said to Barbara, “How many of these movies do I have to make?” Because I don’t really look at contracts or any of those things. And she said, “Four,” and I went, “Oh, okay. Can I kill him off in the last one?” And she didn’t pause. She said, “Yes.” So I struck a deal with her back then and said, “That’s the way I’d like it to go.” It’s the only way I could see for myself to end it all and to make it like that was my tenure, someone else could come and take over. She stuck to her guns.
Barbara Broccoli: And I had go and tell Michael and we waited to tell the studio! [Laughs] We wanted to get rid of him. That was the reality. It was like, make sure that this was the way that we get rid of Daniel.
Craig: When he goes, he can’t come back was really what it boils down to….. Well, listen, listen, it was “no” for a long time. Don’t worry. I thought it was forgotten about, put it that way. I didn’t bring it back up again until this one.
Wilson: But I think what happened was, at the end of the fourth one, we wanted Daniel back and he was very reluctant. I think we thought, all of us had thought, that that was the best way to end this whole thing. Now, you know, it wasn’t unusual, because Fleming, he tried to kill him off in “From Russia With Love,” and almost killed him off in “You Only Live Twice.” But I think it’s the fitting way to deal with a situation where a person is risking their life all the time. Eventually, the odds catch up with you. I think Fleming saw it and I guess ultimately we came to that realization, too. It’s also emotionally very important to understand the risks that people like Bond engage in.
Broccoli: It’s the ultimate sacrifice. As Michael says, it’s very appropriate because people in this line of work put themselves at risk all the time. The amazing thing was that the audience managed to keep this secret, and that’s really a testament, I think, to the Bond fans, that they didn’t want to spoil other people’s enjoyment by telling them the end of the story.
Cary Joji Fukunaga: There was a few things that Barbara and Michael and Daniel had earmarked. This was definitely one of them. How he meets his end wasn’t decided yet. It was just the fact that he would, so the question then became how to do it……… There were many, many iterations…..Blowing him up in a rocket……A bullet, like an anonymous bullet, I remember that one. But it just seemed like a conventional weapons death didn’t seem appropriate. Given how much he had been able to escape from everything else, the fact that it would just be a bullet that always had your name on it from the beginning, as a sort of the thematic element seemed, while realistic, for Bond it had to be something even beyond that — like the impossible, impossible situation.
Craig: I think the important thing was that we all try to create a situation of tragedy. The idea that there’s an insurmountable problem, there’s a greater force at play, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. And the greater force being Savin’s weapon. And that it [kills] the only thing that Bond wants in life, is to be with the people he loves and that he can’t be with them, and therefore, there’s nothing worth living for. And he would in fact endanger their lives, and that’s the last thing on earth he wants to do. So that element was incredibly important to sort of thread in there, because it couldn’t feel like a random act. It had to have weight — without it, it wasn’t gonna work. And if we hadn’t have got that weight, I don’t think we would’ve done it. We would’ve found another way of ending it.
So now the question is not only who will be the next Bond but how the franchise comes back from his apparent death?
Read our review of No Time To Die HERE
Read about how the films stunts were done HERE
Read about how Bond’s car was adapted for the film HERE
Read about Daniel Craig’s final day on the film HERE
Read about how the film was almost delayed for it eventual release date HERE