By Tom Nicholson | Esquire
We’re about six months away from the release of No Time To Die, the 25th official James Bond film, and very probably the last in which Daniel Craig will duff up bad lads in the name of Queen and country. After this, he’s hanging up his Walther PPK.
So it’s time to take stock. Think of this as the 007 Situation Room, into which all our intel on the next Bond film will be funnelled, assessed and categorised. This is everything we know so far about No Time To Die.
Is there a trailer yet?
Not yet, no. Sorry.
Have you at least got some stills I can build outlandish theories around?
Absolutely, friend. The newest is this one.
Fans of classic Bond have suggested that the scene this still is taken from could be a nod to the cable car scene from Moonraker, in which metal-mouthed man mountain Jaws chews through steel wires, accidentally pilots a cable car through the lower station and onto a plaza – possibly killing dozens – then unexpectedly falling in love with a young woman called Dolly.
Plus, we’ve also got these shots from the set.
Who’s in it?
Obviously, Daniel Craig is back for a fifth film as Bond, and regulars from his tenure will be returning too: we’ll see Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Jeffrey Wright as CIA agent Felix Leiter, as well as Léa Seydoux. New characters include Lashana Lynch’s Nomi, a fellow MI6 agent who will take the 007 codename while Bond is off duty. Most importantly, there’s Rami Malek as Safin, a “supervillain” who Barbara Broccoli described recently as “a nasty piece of work” who “gets under Bond’s skin”.
Who’s written it?
This is a bit of a knotty one. Longtime Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade worked on a script before Danny Boyle was attached to direct, but then Boyle brought in his regular collaborator John Hodge, who did Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and The Beach. But Boyle walked in August 2018, citing “creative differences”. That meant Purvis and Wade’s script was revived and reworked first by its original writers, then by Casino Royale writer Paul Haggis. Finally, it was given a polish and extra laughs by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, at Daniel Craig’s request.
So who’s directing it?
Again, knotty. Having helmed Skyfall and Spectre, Sam Mendes was in the early mix, but quickly ruled himself out. Christopher Nolan’s name was discussed, but he demurred as well. Next, Denis Villeneuve passed, due to commitments with Dune. Danny Boyle signed on in February 2018, only to leave six months later. At which point, enter Cary Joji Fukunaga, who’d previously directed the good series of True Detective, and Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation.
What’s the set-up?
We know that at the start of No Time To Die, Bond is kicking back in Jamaica after the exertions of Spectre, and isn’t on active service. However, Felix Leiter pops up to say hello and ask if Bond wouldn’t mind helping him find a scientist who’s wandered off. It soon turns out the scientist has been abducted, and Bond gets onto the trail of “a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology”, according to Universal’s synopsis.
Is it definitely Daniel Craig’s last Bond film?
That’s the presumption that everyone’s going in with, and it certainly feels like the cycle might be coming to an end given that we’ll be returning to the arc which started with his first film, Casino Royale. Given the heartwarming (and slightly inebriated) speech he gave at the wrap party, it seems that he knows he’s come to the end of his shift as Bond. He’s now inhabited Bond’s suits longer than any other actor, so it would be a major surprise if he decided to return. But, as a 52-year-old Sean Connery in a wig once said, never say never again.
When’s it out?
Originally, it was supposed to hit cinemas on 8 November 2019, which then became 14 February 2020 following the Danny Boyle palaver. After slipping again, the official release date is 3 April 2020.