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After No Time To Die, What’s Next for JAMES BOND?

In his debut piece for GYCO, Chris Gelderd laments on the future of the 007 franchise after the death of James Bond in No Time To Die.

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No Time To Die (MGM/Universal Pictures)

As the villainous lair of Rami Malek’s evil Safin was blown into a million pieces in the closing scenes of 2021s No Time To Diewe also saw James Bond himself blown into a million pieces in an ending that split the 007 fan community right down the middle.

James Bond can’t die! Can he?

Months from entering the 60th anniversary year in 2022 since 1962s Dr No opened across the globe, the swansong for 6th 007 actor Daniel Craig wrapped up a story that started in 2006s Casino Royale. But rather than get the girl and drive off into the sunset, this time 007 was killed in action for the first time ever on screen – a truly definitive end to Craig’s tenure. But as die-hard fans will note as the credits rolled to an end, we were promised that “James Bond Will Return.”

So how can EON Productions bring James Bond back from the dead in a series that, for the most part, maintained decades worth of standalone stories and adventures but allow fans to believe that Sean Connery’s Bond from 1962 is the same as Pierce Brosnan’s Bond seen in 2002. The films age and years progress, but we suspend our belief to allow James Bond to be an ageless immortal who simply changes with the times with new actors brought in to play the same character. This is all cemented by a cinematic formula of supporting cast, crew, scores, stunts and narrative themes that drive the films and allow them to be enjoyed by any age from any era.

Daniel Craig rebooted the franchise after the lukewarm Die Another Day of 2002 that proved the franchise had gone a step too far and lost what it was. And so for the first time we saw a different 007. One who we joined at the start of his career in the fictional 00 section of MI6, learning what it means to be a cold-blooded assassin of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and facing very real threats in a very real world. Craig kicked the image of what we envision as James Bond out the window and brought a much bolder, bloodier and brooding Bond to the big screen, and audiences lapped it up. This was 007 for a new generation that respected the past but was eager to build for a future.

But with Craig’s 007 now dead and gone, where does the future of the franchise sit? Thankfully, it’s not TOO hard to guess where producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will go, so let’s look at the two potential possibilities.

A New timeline?

It worked back in 2006, so let’s do it all again. Bring in a new actor to begin a new timeline of James Bond adventures. This should be a Bond now well into his career as a 00 agent; we’ve seen the origins, so let’s enjoy the spy we know. And on that note, the missions should be standalone, as they were from 1962-2002. Stories that last 15 years run the risk of getting desperate to make each film, each character and each action tie into the previous, and it can get sloppy as we saw in 2008s Quantum Of Solace and 2015s SPECTRE.

Period Bond?

It’s a bold move, but could producers offer us something totally new and set the new era of James Bond films in the 1950s, the era that Ian Fleming actually wrote the original Bond books? While somewhat doubtful as it will remove the ability to use the now franchise leading super sports cars, product placement and hi-tech gadgets, it would actually help ground 007 in a world full of much more espionage, danger and political threat that is what made the Fleming books worldwide best-sellers. James Bond could still experience evil villains, gorgeous ladies, intense action and globe-trotting spy work, but in a brand new period of history that would be something never seen before.

The slate is clean, and rumours are that conversations are now being held to find the 7th actor to play James Bond on the big screen. And with no need to continue anything about the Craig era, this gives EON an ace to play and really focus where they want Bond to go now. No franchise is invincible, and respect must be given to the literacy character that 007 evolved from, the world we live in to stay relevant, and the fan base who have supported the films for 60 years.

Only time will tell where the franchise goes from here, and who will pick up the Walther PPK next to become the newest face of James Bond. And we can’t wait to see where his adventure takes us!


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