One of the producers of the James Bond franchise reveals how she convinced Daniel Craig to return for 2021’s No Time to Die. Craig initially stepped into the role of the iconic British superspy in 2006’s Casino Royale, which functioned both as an origin story and a reboot of the franchise, reimagining it as a more realistic, continuity-focused series. The actor went on to play the role for fifteen years, starring in Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and finally No Time to Die. The latter film, which is the 25th overall Bond movie, concluded with the death of Craig’s character after the villain, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), infects him with nanobots that will kill his love interest and their child if he touches them.
Bond’s fate in No Time to Die is the culmination of many years of exhaustion with playing Bond. Craig had expressed the idea of killing off his version of Bond as early as Casino Royale, and between each film typically expressed sentiments that he did not want to return to the role, frequently leaving fans wondering if the most recent movie would turn out to be his last. Craig finally got his wish, but not after going on to play the role for the longest tenure in James Bond history.
On this week’s episode of The Empire Film Podcast, Chris Hewitt celebrated the 60th anniversary of the James Bond franchise by interviewing producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who have overseen the franchise since Pierce Brosnan first stepped into the role in 1995’s Goldeneye. Broccoli revealed that she had to give Craig time between filming Spectre and No Time to Die before convincing him to return. Although Spectre had an ending that showed Bond retiring, she finally convinced the star to shoot one more film because “it’s a great starting place to see Bond in retirement and how would he deal with it.” Read her full quote below:
[The idea of killing of Craig’s Bond] came up again when we were making Spectre. ‘Cause he said, “you know, this is it. I don’t wanna do any more. I think we should kill me off.” And we said, “mmm, don’t think so.” Particularly ‘cause we wanted him to do another one. And so we had the ending in that where he threw his gun away and he was gonna go off and live a happy life.
So sometime after that, when he’d had some rest, I said to him, “you know it’s not the end of the story. You can’t go out like that. It’s a great starting place to see Bond in retirement and how would he deal with it. So let’s think about that.” And he said, “OK I’ll give it some thought.”
Could Spectre Have Worked As Craig’s Bond Finale?
From the way Broccoli puts it, it seems like Spectre would have been the final film of Craig’s tenure if not for her intervention. As she said, the ending was designed to provide closure on the character, to a certain extent. Considering how many threads the 2015 film tied up by following through on the origin story presented in Skyfall and introducing Christoph Waltz as the iconic villain Blofeld, it’s entirely possible that fans may have been satisfied with that ending.
However, if Craig’s Bond tenure had ended with his character retiring rather than dying or simply being recast after his latest adventure, there would have been constant speculation about a possible return. Typically, Bond isn’t shown stepping down from his position, so the rumor mill would have churned with the possibility that the former Bond would eventually return to help out the new 007. The ending of No Time to Die closed the book much more firmly to prevent that kind of speculation and allow Craig to finally get his wish.
Source: The Empire Film Podcast