James Bond is all over. Well, for now. The Daniel Craig era of 007 – the longest in terms of years, though only the third-longest in terms of number of resultant movies – has officially come to a close with No Time to Die, the fifth and final entry in the mini-series that began with 2006’s Casino Royale. Throughout Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre and the new film, we’ve seen Craig’s Bond come into his own, question his place in the world, retire, get back in the game, retire again and now, well… the No Time to Die ending certainly offers a more definitive conclusion than Bond has ever received before. Even so, viewers may have questions about what just happened. So once you’ve seen the movie, proceed for a spoiler-heavy clarification of your burning questions. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
First, most importantly: Is James Bond really dead?
Well, in a sense, James Bond lives forever in our hearts whenever we order a vodka martini. But yes, in another and more accurate sense, James Bond is really dead. Or this one is, anyway. There was no Dark Knight Rises-style last-minute fake-out or secret runes to be read, indicating his impossible survival. The Craig series prided itself on a grittier sense of realism than past Bonds (even when it involved nanobot viruses, surviving massive plunges off a bridge after being shot, or hacking into bionic eyes), so it didn’t try to wriggle Bond out of this no-win situation.
Why did he choose to die?
Safin, the surprisingly wan final boss played by a whispery Rami Malek, managed to infect Bond with the nanobot virus programmed to target his beloved Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and her daughter Mathilde. Any further contact from Bond at that point would kill them, and staying alive would presumably keep the nanobot virus active in some form.
Is No Time To Die the last Bond film, then?
No. Producers have openly discussed finding a new Bond for another reboot. Fans may roll their eyes at the term, but Bond has been doing reboots since before that was a buzzword. They’ve also said they’ll defer that decision until 2022 at the earliest. And if circumstances can create a six-year gap between Daniel Craig instalments – as long a gap as the series has ever seen, on par with the break between Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan! – it’s easy to imagine this process drawing itself out. Realistically, don’t expect a new Bond movie before 2024 at the earliest.
Does Bond have a daughter?
He does! The movie plays coy about whether Mathilde’s icy blue eyes are, in fact, inherited from James Bond, and Madeleine lies about this earlier in the film. But it becomes increasingly clear that Mathilde is actually his, and #DadBond is born. During his emotionally charged final exchange with Madeleine, she admits as much, and it seems that stories about Mathilde’s father will live on from the movie’s sentimental final scene, scored to the theme song from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a fan-fave Bond movie where the character experiences a genuine loss.
Why did Safin want to destroy the world? (If you know this, please tell the rest of us!)
Did he want to destroy the world? Probably, the movie never makes clear the extent of his evil plan. His nanobot virus can seamlessly target DNA in a way that would make it easy to kill a lot of people at once. You know what else makes it easy to kill a lot of people at once? Regular bombs. He seems to want to implement this, but absent an obvious target for his potential genocide, it’s never obvious who he would kill, or why he wants to kill them, beyond a generic desire to play God. It seems like his motivations are vaguely akin to Ultron or Thanos, wanting to destroy a large chunk of humanity to rebuild a better world. In other words, it’s entirely possible that, like the rest of us, Safin has been watching too many Marvel movies.
Will Lashana Lynch take over as 007?
Probably not. As charismatic and fun as she is in No Time to Die, it seems unlikely that the series would stick with the current continuity. The Bond movies love to tease faux-untraditional equals or replacements for Bond before re-upping with another white dude. Remember Jinx – the super spy played by Halle Berry in the previous Bond’s finale, Pierce Brosnan’s Die Another Day? She’s still waiting for the spinoff producers insisted they were so bullish about. Maybe they’ll get that going for the film’s 20th anniversary next year. It’s easy to imagine that the next Bond might not be white, but harder to picture staid, safe-choice Eon Productions casting a woman.
So Bond will be fully rebooted now?
Yes, which will probably mean new people to play M, Q, Moneypenny, and beloved fan favorite Tanner. Then again, there is some precedent for retaining cast members even in the face of a full reboot. Recall that Judi Dench played M for both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig (until she was killed off in Skyfall). Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, and Rory Kinnear (he plays Tanner!) are so well-cast in their roles, it would be a shame to reboot them all away.
Is there a post-credits scene?
There is not. However, there is a post-credits title card, familiar to fans of the series: “JAMES BOND WILL RETURN”. The movies used to be made swiftly enough to sometimes tease the next title – that hasn’t happened in decades. But No Time to Die still makes that promise, and we’ll hold them to it.