With the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond in “No Time to Die,” “Bond 26” has a real reason to break one of the rules of the franchise. “No Time to Die” was the emotional culmination of Craig’s James Bond storyline, which began with “Casino Royale” and continued through “Quantum of Mercy”, “Skyfall” and “Spectrum”. The detailed narration of these five films, unique to the franchise, allowed viewers to gain a deeper understanding of Daniel Craig’s James Bond and, accordingly, the reasons underlying the completion of his story.
In the movie “No Time to Die,” James Bond was faced with an impossible choice. After being shot and infected with the Hercules virus by Lucifer Safin (Rami Malek), Bond sacrificed himself to save the world and, in particular, Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) and their daughter Matilda (Lisa-Dora Sonnet). Knowing that his infection with the virus meant that the slightest touch on his part would kill the two people he loved the most, he did not try to avoid the impending fiery hurricane of Navy missiles raining down on Safin’s base.
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This was James Bond’s first on-screen death, and some suggested that it should not be mentioned in future films. This is certainly consistent with what happened before, when the actor playing James Bond was changing. Nevertheless, there is a strong argument in favor of the fact that Bond 26 and whoever takes on this role will benefit from the recognition of the death of Daniel Craig, the incarnation of James Bond. It would also potentially allow acceptance of the long—standing theory that 007/James Bond is a code name or honorary title given to spies over the years. In this way, he can ensure the continuity of the franchise, rather than having to reboot whenever the main actor leaves.
Undoubtedly, there is a danger that the sacrifice made by Daniel Craig James Bond in “No Time to Die” will be undermined or at least underestimated due to the fact that it will not be recognized. After all, his death had to have weight and gravitas, which is why it happened on the screen. If you don’t mention or honor his passing, then the events of “It’s Not Time to Die” will be treated as if they never happened, and perhaps even suggest that the emotionally crude incarnation of James Bond performed by Daniel Craig might as well not exist.
While “Bond 26” may not be another origin story, it would be a great opportunity to fully embrace the codename theory as it is a natural and obvious starting point for the next phase of the franchise. Daniel Craig’s Death of Bond would be the perfect place for this, as it provides a completely blank canvas for the work of the next James Bond. This was certainly Daniel Craig’s own belief. As he told his “Skyfall” co-star Javier Bardem (via Variety):
“I wanted to kill him [Bond] a long time ago… I felt that I needed to end what I had done and that I would only be satisfied if I could leave and I had nowhere else to go. That someone else had to come along and invent something completely different.”
Of course, with the assignment of the code name 007 to someone other than James Bond, “It’s Not Time to Die” was already played, when the title 007 was briefly assigned to Nomi (Lashana Lynch). So doing something similar with Agent 007 and the title “James Bond” in Bond 26 would be an even more natural next step. Of course, a lot will depend on who will eventually become the next James Bond, and whether it will be similar to what Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan have done remains to be seen. However, using “Bond 26” to acknowledge James Bond’s sacrifice in “No Time to Die” will probably raise the stakes and give the franchise a better chance of success in the future.