We’ve been waiting a very long time for this latest James Bond movie. “No Time To Die” was originally supposed to be released in November 2019. Director Danny Boyle’s decision to quit partway through the filming process created what should have been a short delay, but that short delay turned out to be a very long one. The new release date was set as April 2020, and we all know what happened to the world in February of that year. Because of the circumstances, the film moved to November 2020. As you’re reading this article in October 2021, you know that didn’t happen either.
The pandemic lasted a lot longer than everybody hoped it might. November 2020 turned out to be just as non-viable as April 2020 had. The movie was delayed again, but this time the studio gave no new date. It wasn’t until January 2021 that we heard we’d finally get the film in October, with a release date of 30th September for its domestic market in the United Kingdom. By this point, the film has been recorded, edited, and “in the can” for more than eighteen months. We haven’t had a bond film since 2015’s “Spectre.” Because of all these delays, this is the largest gap in the franchise’s history since the departure of Timothy Dalton in 1989’s “License to Kill” and the arrival of Pierce Brosnan in 1995’s “Goldeneye.” It would be a crying shame if, after all this time, “No Time To Die” turned out to be awful.
It doesn’t look like we’ll have to worry about that. The world premiere has finally been held, and the reviews are in. They’re almost unanimous. “No Time To Die” is a triumph. It’s received five-star reviews across the board. Charged with the difficult job of providing a compelling, action-driven film with an ageing star and simultaneously giving that star a platform from which to say goodbye, it apparently does the job perfectly. The Guardian says that Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 sees him carry the part of with “rage and panache,” while Sky News says the movie is “relentless,” “genre-bending,” and “totally worth the wait.” We’re also told that it’s the most emotional James Bond film that’s ever been made. That might not appeal to everybody – especially those who prefer their Bond films to be about little more than car chases and explosions – but it’s perfect fodder for the critics.
We’re not about to spoil the plot of the film for you here – because you should definitely go and see it yourself – but we’ll sketch the scene without giving away too many details. Rather than being a hindrance to the plot, Daniel Craig’s age is at the heart of the drama. He plays Bond at a later stage in his life than any actor who’s come before him in the role. Bond is, in fact, retired from active service by the time the movie begins. He’s trying his best to live a quiet life in Jamaica. Unfortunately for him, life has other ideas. Bond gets a letter from a former contact in the American CIA begging for his help in a mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist. From there, Bond’s back in the Aston Martin and back to his old tricks. You’ll still get the shoot-outs, explosions, and car chases – it’s just that they come with a little more heart than they used to.
When the smoke clears and everyone who wants to see the film has seen it, attention will inevitably turn to who comes next. Producer Barbara Broccoli has already said that she doesn’t want to leave a big gap between this film and the next one, and so she wants someone lined up (and, preferably, in front of the cameras) by the end of 2022. That means we won’t have to wait long to find out who’s going to fill Craig’s shoes. That won’t be an easy task given his popularity in the part, but there’s no shortage of aspiring hopefuls who’d be willing to try. Former “Superman” actor Henry Cavill is understood to be a leading contender, and Robert Pattinson has also been mentioned by the press, although the latter is unlikely because of his current and future “Batman” commitments. Many people feel that Tom Hardy would be perfect, but he might not enjoy the limitations of the part. Idris Elba is, sadly, probably too old now. James Norton and his chiselled jaw might be the best dark horse candidate.
One thing that is for sure is that the next Bond won’t be a woman, and nor will the one who comes after him so long as Broccoli is still alive. While the legendary producer is happy for a spy film starring a female lead to be made – and possibly even one set in the James Bond universe – she believes the role is male and should remain male. She won’t sign off on a female Bond so long as she has any control over the situation. That’s despite the fact that the idea has gained a surprising amount of popularity at online slots websites. Such was the success of a cheeky female-led, Bond-inspired online slots game called “Agent Jane Blonde” a few years ago that a sequel was released in 2020 and has also proved to be a hit with players. Based on Broccoli’s comments, the people who made that online slots game might have more luck trying to turn Jane Blonde into a movie than any female actor has of landing the Bond role for themselves.
The whole conversation about who follows Daniel Craig is for the (near) future. Here in the present, let’s enjoy his masterful performance in one of the most iconic movie roles one final time. The year is 2021, Craig is still James Bond, and “No Time To Die” is about to land at a movie theatre near you after a torturously long wait. This promises to be one of the biggest movie events of the year, if not the outright biggest. If you’re a fan of the character, the genre, or just great entertainment, make sure you get your ticket.