Daniel Craig’s 007 shook the world when he perished in No Time To Die, but James Bond may find himself with plenty more time to die in his future adventures. Traditionally in the James Bond movie franchise, one 007 actor segues seamlessly into the next with little to no acknowledgment of the protagonist’s new appearance. On many occasions – including Daniel Craig’s strikingly modern era – supporting actors even carry over from one Bond to another. James Bond movies have alluded to past adventures also, portraying the entire franchise as one long story about a spy’s never-ending service for Queen and country.
The death of Bond in No Time To Die was, therefore, an immense shock – even if a fatal ending to Daniel Craig’s tenure was half-expected. Overcoming studio skepticism and the burden of tradition, No Time To Die taking the bold step of killing off Bond not only brought the narrative woven from 2006 to 2021 to a definitive close, it achieved another big franchise first by setting up a perfectly clean slate for Bond 26. While No Time To Die‘s ending was a groundbreaking moment in Bond’s history, however, it could spark a common trend whereby each future incarnation of Bond dies in their final outing.
More James Bonds Could Die After Daniel Craig’s
For the first 60 years of his cinematic existence, the concept of killing James Bond was almost filmmaking blasphemy. 007 is fiction’s perennial, unflappable hero, always somehow snatching victory from the Jaws of defeat, no matter the Odd(job)s. The Daniel Craig movies courted controversy merely by showing Bond’s vulnerable side, so No Time To Die confirming Britain’s greatest spy could actually be outsmarted and killed by his enemies represented the breaking of a huge taboo in James Bond’s canon. The unavoidable truth about taboos, of course, is that breaking one for the first time ushers forth a wave of copycats.
Now that Daniel Craig has broken 007’s cinematic immortality, future incarnations will surely take a more serious look at whether their particular versions of James Bond should also meet their respective dooms. Daniel Craig’s No Time To Die twist ending happened only because the actor and James Bond‘s producers felt their lead hero dying would bring an epic run of movies to an appropriately climactic climax. Whatever the behind-the-scenes dynamic looks like for future efforts, upcoming James Bond actors and producers will inevitably feel that their 007 stories also deserve to end with the protagonist’s tragic death. Anything less could look underwhelming after No Time To Die, after all.
Why Bond Deaths Could Become More Common
Daniel Craig’s James Bond was breaking new ground long before he was buried underground. Whereas most 007 actors play the character in his prime during every installment, Craig followed the secret agent from his rookie years in Casino Royale to retirement in No Time To Die, whilst simultaneously imbuing Bond with more personal and introspective character shades. This fresh, layered depiction of Bond is indicative of how movie audience tastes have shifted since Dr. No in 1962.
Modern moviegoers demand more substance within their action heroes, leading to the kind of nuanced character arc Daniel Craig enjoyed as James Bond. Albeit not necessarily through the same gritty lens, Bond 26 and beyond will undoubtedly continue in this vein. The deeper and more personal 007 character arcs become in future years, the more justified those movie series will feel in killing off their Bonds for maximum emotive impact.
Due to the explosion of movie franchises over the past six decades, followed by the more recent trend of shared universes, maintaining proper continuity has also become more important for James Bond. In an era where every Spider-Man movie reboot is now canon to the others, the James Bond franchise changing its lead actor and pushing forward with the same cast and history as if nothing happened risks looking a mite old-fashioned. As it has ahead of Bond 26, the deaths of future 007s can provide a hard reset every time an actor leaves the role.
Would Bond Dying After Every Version Work?
A counterargument to any future uptick in James Bond death scenes is that 007 dying should be a special event reserved for the rarest of occasions. While the idea of using tragic James Bond endings sparingly holds merit, the increasingly long gaps between films makes such caution unnecessary. EON previously churned out approximately one James Bond movie per year. Ignoring the extenuating circumstances of No Time To Die‘s delayed release, modern entries will likely take closer to three or four years apiece. If every Bond actor signed up for five movies, 007 deaths would still only come once every 15-20 years – far enough apart to avoid repetition, even if every single version bit the dust.
The bigger obstacle if James Bond started dying ahead of every single recast would be predictability, not repetitiveness. The No Time To Die ending worked so well because no viewer was completely certain it would actually happen until the moment came. If James began dying at the end of every cycle, the trick would have woefully diminishing returns. Fortunately, a happy medium is possible. No Time To Die has opened the door of possibility, and other Bonds will follow Daniel Craig’s lead sooner or later, that much is certain. As long as some of his 007 successors live and others let die, the element of surprise will remain, while still creating a brand-new James Bond tradition of final movie death scenes.