If you haven’t seen No Time To Die yet, but have avoided spoilers for three months, then more power to you. Also, you should probably not read any further. Here be spoilers about Bond! The director of No Time To Die, Cary Joji Fukunaga, has confirmed a few things about Bond and THAT ending.
There is a certain proportion of fans out there who seem to believe it is some kind of trick. That the message “James Bond Will Return” at the end of the titles signals that, in fact, the character is not dead. That it will mirror the end of the novel that was a major inspiration for the movie – You Only Live Twice – in that Bond will be seriously injured, but alive.
Others have pointed to the movie version of You Only Live Twice in which Bond is seemingly killed before the opening titles, only for it to have been revealed as a ruse. Already, inevitably, fan-fiction is circulating online that includes him being recovered, unconscious, disfigured, by a Royal Navy destroyer to be nursed back to health as Henry Cavill.
This is despite three of the writers and the special FX supervisor who worked on that scene confirming that he is very much dead.
Now director Fukunaga has gone on the record with Empire to discuss the scene. An injured Bond knowingly sacrifices himself to ensure the missiles, coming to destroy Safin’s stocks of deadly nanobot virus, reach their target. In the process, he saves Madeleine Swann and their daughter from being infected by a version coded to them by Safin that Bond has been infected with.
Fukunaga says he is definitely dead. There is no last-minute reprieve, a trick, or miraculous recovery. The choice of the final shot of Bond was a deliberate decision even if it gives some fans hope that it wasn’t his end.
He says he just feels that Bond deserved a noble, rather than gory, end:
“I wasn’t trying to be obtuse with it. 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 pummeled was a mixture of macro and micro. The full effect is, ‘Yes, he’s gone, but he succeeded in making sure none of [those] weapons would go on into the future.’”
Other shot choices in No Time To Die are just as deliberate, such as the child Madeleine merging to the adult Madeleine in the water at the beginning of the movie, and when Madeleine and Mathilde, in the Aston Vantage, drive into the tunnel with the final shot in the entire movie resembling the classic 007 gun barrel.
“It felt like closure, like closing off the past and closing off the story. It’s that last sentence in a paragraph in the last chapter of a book, just to try to make it feel satisfying.”
So there you go, internet. You can put it to bed now. Daniel Craig’s version of Bond existed from Casino Royale through Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and into No Time To Die, where he met his end.
It’s a separate Bond microverse, self-contained, just like Christopher Nolan’s Batman. James Bond will return, and it will be a reboot of some kind. Just like Batman, if that helps you get your heads around it and enables you to move on and stop with the poorly written fan-fiction.
This is confirmed now by the writers, the FX supervisor, the director, the producers, and finally James Bond himself – Daniel Craig.
No Time To Die is out on DVD, BluRay, streaming and digital now.