What’s next for James Bond after No Time to Die? More of the same, of course
There’s a revealing exchange at the start of the 2015 Bond film Spectrum. “They say Mexico was one step too far, that you’re done,” Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) tells Daniel Craig’s 007. ” And what do you think ? ” he asks. “I think you’re just getting started…” Moneypenny replies.
As the conversation suggests, each new Bond film potentially marks the franchise’s death or new beginning. There is always someone looking for the spy both onscreen and off. Producers are constantly challenged to reinvent the character to adapt to changing times.
In any case, Bond is (finally) back. No time to die, a direct sequence of Spectrum, opens in theaters next week. The long delay in her release due to Covid has only intensified speculation about her destination from here.
Craig is set to retire after a period of service that began 15 years ago with Casino Royale. He is credited with reinvigorating Bond and accomplishing a seemingly quite contradictory feat: bringing back the rugged machismo that no Bond has possessed since the character was first played by Sean Connery, while also at the same time introducing a new emotional depth. George Lazenby’s Bond might have looked cut when his wife (Diana Rigg) was killed at the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), but it was nothing compared to the monumental grief Craig showed after the death of his beloved Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale.
Author and comedian Charlie Higson, writer of the “Young Bond” novels, claimed this week that Craig gave audiences a “Wake Up” Bond, a version of the spy with new layers of tenderness and emotional intelligence.
But Craig’s Bond isn’t as awake as Higson suggests. His way of seducing women is still as old-fashioned as ever: see his aggressive gesture on Monica Bellucci’s Lucia Sciarra in Spectrum, in which he grabs her and pushes her into a full-length mirror a few hours after her husband’s funeral.
No time to die is Bond’s first film since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, and the film industry has awakened to its own sexism. The producers recruited Phoebe Waller-Bridge from Chip bag and Kill Eve renowned for working alongside regular Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade and director Cary Joji Fukunaga on the screenplay. Lashana Lynch, who plays new MI6 agent Nomi, told reporters the new screenwriter made female characters more “relatable.” Others have spoken of the “killer sense of humor” she brought to Bond.
However, you only have to look at the No time to die trailer to realize that Bond doesn’t drastically change that. He always jumps bridges, does skid turns in sports cars, wields guns, drinks cocktails, and occasionally takes sex breaks. The only difference to most of her previous outings is that female co-stars Lynch and Ana de Armas aren’t here to be seduced. They now do a lot of the heavy lifting in the action scenes.
So, what future for Bond? Amazon has just bought the James Bond studio, MGM, and we guess it will once again be back to the future.
It doesn’t matter who gets the role of Britain’s favorite spy now – the brutal Tom Hardy, the “Internet choice”, Bridgertonby Régé-Jean Page, the net James Norton or the brooding Idris Elba, the test will be to deliver a scenario that reflects the cultural concerns of the time. Then it’s pretty much the same: stunts, action, romance, gadgets, overseas travel, dry Martinis, even drier humor, and all the other ingredients fans have been using for 60 years now.
No time to die is published Thursday September 30