Is James Bond Really Dead?
Is James Bond really dead? Surely not! As those precision-guided missiles locked their deadly gaze onto him during the grand climax of Bond 25, No Time To Die, Bond fans couldn’t help but harbor a glimmer of hope.
A bet on Bond’s unfathomable resilience. Could our indomitable James Bond yank another unexpected survival stratagem out of his seemingly inexhaustible repertoire?
Come on, Bond’s death wasn’t an option, was it? The man had endured spine-stretching torments straight out of the demented world of Salvador Dali in Thunderball. He had his memories viciously excavated from the deepest crevices of his cranium in Spectre. Hell, he even managed to not get his John Thomas lasered off in Goldfinger.
Surviving all of that, surely skirting a smattering of missiles and trotting back to Blighty for a hearty supper would be a cakewalk, no? But here’s the sucker punch: James Bond has unequivocally and unquestionably been sent to the big secret agency in the sky.
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Bond 25 director, left no room for speculation of whether James Bond is dead or not in an interview with Empire. The movie’s ending, as he intended, stands as a clear and emphatic period to the saga of Bond.
“I wasn’t trying to be obtuse with it,” said Fukunaga. “I wanted to be clear with it. But I wanted it to be tasteful. We didn’t want that shot in Terminator 2 where you see Sarah Connor turning into bones.”
“But we wanted to show that he wasn’t going to jump down a sewer at the last second. So that wider shot of the island being pummelled was a mixture of macro and micro.”
How James Bond Died
In case you need a brief refresher on that heart-stopping finale: Bond finds himself in a tussle with Rami Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin, the charming devil with an apocalyptic agenda. Amidst the fracas, Safin cracks open a vial of nanobots over Bond’s head, to which our hero retaliates by fracturing Safin’s arm in twain with brute force.
What ensues is Bond’s crushing epiphany that he can no longer step foot off Safin’s island, because the malevolent nanobots carry a fatal programming, aimed squarely at Madeleine Swann and his daughter Mathilde. Any physical contact with them would be their immediate death warrant.
As he shares his final words with Madeleine over the radio, telling her, “You have all the time in the world.” She tells him that Mathilde has inherited his eyes. He fixes his gaze on the mesmerizing sunset, a silent ode to the life he’s leaving behind. Then the piercing onslaught of HMS Dragon’s rockets brings about his untimely end. Even Q sheds tears in his honor.
But is James Bond Really Dead?
So, the Daniel Craig James Bond has really died, but can we expect more? We should expect the beloved MI6 contingent – the formidable M played by Ralph Fiennes, the field agent turned pen pusher Eve Moneypenny, portrayed by Naomie Harris, and the lovable Q played by Ben Whishaw, are all likely to be changed along with a new James Bond.
The blueprint for the subsequent course of action for any character remains shrouded in mystery. It’s certainly less arduous to sketch out possible outcomes once we identify the next deserving candidate to slip into the tuxedo.
So what next for James Bond?
A select circle of Bond aficionados harbor a longing for a standalone period flick set against the backdrop of the initial Cold War era when Fleming’s clandestine operative first emerged. This idea, however fetching, borders on the realm of fantastical wishful thinking.
The prospects of a clean slate reboot seem plausible at this juncture, particularly given the monumental commercial success Craig’s Bond saga enjoyed. Accumulated over five interconnected features, it managed to gather a momentum that Eon might seek to replicate with another multi-chapter narrative helmed by one actor to play the lead role.
Barbara Broccoli likens the concept of spinning off Bond with side characters to a “Hamlet devoid of Hamlet.” Yet, the arrival of a fresh James Bond also presents the opportunity to expand into a a completely new direction, such as was the case with Daniel Craig’s.
At the end of the day, the process of evolution and renewal is a tradition Bond has upheld since 1962. And so, for the very first time, James Bond is really dead, for now. It’s a strange sensation. But you’ll mentally compartmentalize the Craig epoch, much like you did the other eras.