NO TIME TO DIE marks the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure playing Ian Fleming’s iconic super spy, James Bond. After four films with Craig at the center, this fifth adventure promises a lot of excitement and suspense. It’s hard to believe, but almost 16 years ago, we were introduced to the man and the performance that would reboot 007 for a new generation in 2006’s CASINO ROYALE.
As we prepare for the end of an episodic saga that’s seen James broken and beaten, it looks like there’s a chance his tenacity might not be enough to get around the latest plot of villainy we’ll get to see unfold in NO TIME TO DIE.
Though, there’s always that one thing James Bond tends to know that his adversaries don’t, and we may have some clues as to what that is in NO TIME TO DIE. Check out the trailer and see for yourself.
In honor of this fall’s release of NO TIME TO DIE, we’d like to look back at the most iconic moments that have crafted Daniel Craig’s Bond. These are all important, and impressive, moments that showcased just what made the current era of 007 so intriguing to watch. And most importantly, each of the following pieces form a puzzle that, when looked at from afar, is a pretty hard act to beat for the next actor to fill these shoes.
1. Bond vs. Hinx (Spectre)
For the most part, SPECTRE gets a pretty bum rap when it comes to Daniel Craig’s missions as James Bond. It’s rather unfair, as the reboot of the titular organization of villainous intent brought back a classic Bond foe in rather spectacular fashion.
Part of the spectacle was thanks to Dave Bautista’s portrayal of the henchman known only as Hinx. Previously thought to be down for the count by Bond, this burly force of nature interrupts dinner and proceeds to try and retire 007 every way he can think of. Destroying an entire dining cart on a dessert train in the middle of nowhere, Bond and Hinx’s tangle is a solid stretch of battle, with Craig and Bautista scrapping to the best of their abilities.
While James may have been outclassed in the sheer power of Hinx’s fighting skills as well as his muscular features, 007’s smarts (and some help from Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann) helped send Hinx to a none-too-early grave. Showing Bond’s persistence and strategy, as well as the true definition of a memorable James Bond henchman, this fight is a moment worth remembering.
2. Artistic Differences (Skyfall)
All of the best friendships are built of equal parts mutual admiration and getting on each other’s nerves. James Bond and Q have always been that pair of friends that bicker while also respecting the fact that they’re both really good at their respective jobs — something we’ve seen Ben Whishaw and Daniel Craig bring to life since their introduction in 2012’s SKYFALL.
When the newly reinstated Bond goes to meet with his now younger Quartermaster at an art gallery, a pithy discussion interpreting a particular painting becomes an introduction between legendary colleagues. And when all is said and done, James Bond gets a radio transmitter, his Walther PPK and his chance to get back into the game.
Further continuing the development of well-worn Bond tropes from the ground up, seeing 007 and Q together again helped make the film released for the series’ 50th anniversary all the more exciting. But above all else, it’s one of the funniest introductions in this newer canon of James Bond history.
3. Meet Vesper Lynd (Casino Royale)
It’s not always about destroying villainous plots or henchmen when it comes to James Bond’s line of work. Sometimes he has to play nice with colleagues and adversaries alike, and in those instances, the word "play" is almost always strong.
Seeing James Bond meet Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) for the first time in CASINO ROYALE is still one of the best examples of what our favorite super spy can do when all he has is his wits — and to a certain extent his looks.
From the moment they meet, you can tell Vesper was going to be trouble for James. Sadly, that trouble turned out to be more intense than negotiating treasury funds for a high-stakes poker game. But in this moment, seeing the two MI6 colleagues try as hard as they can not to flirt is a breath of fresh air in the resurrection of a classic franchise.
4. Dominic Greene Is Given a Choice (Quantum of Solace)
Beginning his hard driving path of vengeance for the recruitment and death of Vesper Lynd — who, as it turns out, was a double agent working for the shady organization known as Quantum — James Bond roughs up his fair amount of baddies in 2008’s QUANTUM OF SOLACE.
But it’s his final interaction with this film’s criminal mastermind, eco-commerce magnate Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), that helps cement Daniel Craig’s Bond as a man of action with a real cruel streak. Though, how cruel can you really say he is when 007 honored his word that he would let his quarry go? (Even if that freedom was a one-way ticket to the desert.)
With Bond offering Greene some liquid refreshment in a truly symbolic can of motor oil, we later find out that he may or may not have killed Greene anyway. You can’t say he wasn’t given a choice.
5. Silva Flirts With 007 (Skyfall)
A truly fantastic James Bond villain is one that can really test the limits of our hero’s witty repartee, as well as his physical abilities. Javier Bardem’s abandoned MI6 operative Silva, the central antagonist in SKYFALL, knows exactly what makes his opponents tick, and he’s not afraid to use that information to his advantage.
Tied to a chair and subjected to the mercy of his adversary (much like he found himself previously in CASINO ROYALE), Bond is subjected to a psychological probing by his opposite number. And in one of the most surprising moments in recent Bond history, Silva straight up flirts with 007.
In the progressive spirit of the Bond franchise, it’s suggested by Daniel Craig himself that this isn’t the first time 007 has gotten close to a man in the field. This only increases the banter between himself and Silva, making the scene a moment where James’ candor not only enriches his character, but also keeps the enemy off guard.
6. Blofeld Lives (Spectre)
For the longest time, the classic James Bond canon has seen 007 have one true archnemesis: Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of Spectre and the author of all of James’ pain. Reviving this legendary baddie, and having Christoph Waltz play the role with malicious glee, was perhaps one of the best things that 2015’s SPECTRE could have ever done.
So, naturally, it was to be assumed that when James cornered the man who directly or indirectly killed two of the people he valued most in this world, he wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Blofeld even knew it, as he tried to goad Bond into ending his life.
No longer the totally blunt instrument who killed before questioning, Daniel Craig’s Bond removes the clip from his gun, and pops the remaining round out, claiming he was "all out of bullets." Showing Blofeld he doesn’t have complete control over his state of mind and owning his step-brother by letting him survive for intense questioning, it’s another moment that shows 007’s skills as a non-lethal operative.
7. Bond’s Run-In With Airport Security (Casino Royale)
There are two things you can count on when it comes to a Bond adventure: There’s going to be massive property damage, and someone’s always going to be on the other end of a pretty sharp banging sound. CASINO ROYALE hammered both of those points in pretty hard during James Bond’s impromptu trip to Miami, on the trail of an operative aiding in a little bit of stock manipulation.
Pursuing an operative whose terrorist deeds would ensure that villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) would still be a valuable component in Quantum/Spectre’s operations, Bond makes his way through Miami International Airport in hot pursuit. With airport security on his tail and his target masquerading as one of their ranks, this task is easier said than done.
Still, Bond prevents the Skyliner prototype from being sabotaged, and does so in a moment that brings a dark smile to his face. While he’s eventually captured by airport security, the man who was trying to blow up the experimental airliner finds himself exploding as a result. Bond’s quick hands and sly wit win again.
8. "I Never Left" (Quantum of Solace)
In the course of two films, James Bond goes from rough-edged assassin to a slightly more polished secret agent. And all it took was a mission where, for the most part, Daniel Craig’s character is considered a rogue agent.
When all is said and done, the man who was ready to quit his job and float around the world with the woman he loved goes back into active service. Though, as he states to M (Judi Dench) before walking off into the night, he never left.
At this moment in QUANTUM OF SOLACE, Bond has confronted the operative that seduced and flipped Vesper to the side of evil, and in a mature move, he spares the man his life in exchange for his capture and interrogation. Seemingly ready to move past his own heartache, James Bond swears loyalty to the job and the one person he truly feels he can trust.
9. Bond Says Goodbye to M (Skyfall)
Just when James Bond had found a purpose in life as a 00 agent, and a maternal figure he could trust in M, SKYFALL came along and sent everything in Bond’s life tumbling down. A new vendetta would be born, a new M would be found in Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory, and soon enough, a new threat would be discovered.
The moment that shattered Bond’s life for a second and more painful time was the loss of Judi Dench’s M, as she succumbed to her wounds suffered at the hands of former operative now Spectre agent Silva (Javier Bardem).
For a second, it looked like Bond had bested his mirror image and protected the woman that gave him some of the best opportunities and some of the wisest wisdom in his life. Her death would break 007 just as he had gotten over losing and avenging Vesper Lynd, but this loss is more powerful, as it was like Bond had lost his mother all over again.
10. Capturing Mr. White (Casino Royale)
Everything about the closing moments of CASINO ROYALE is pure and classic Bond magic. After a very experimental origin story that showed us just how James earned his stripes in the spy community, it looks like he’s ready to hang up his holster and try to pick up the pieces.
But try as he might, all it takes is the right clue to put 007 back in the game: Vesper’s posthumous text message tipping off the location of Spectre agent Mr. White (Jesper Christensen).
With a strategically placed gunshot and a new suit for the occasion, Daniel Craig got to cement his place in James Bond history by telling Mr. White exactly who he is. Composer David Arnold’s rendition of the James Bond theme swells to meet Craig's chilling proclamation that after a hard-fought adventure, he had earned the right to truly say that he was "Bond… James Bond."
Sixteen years have led to NO TIME TO DIE, the 25th James Bond film overall and the fifth in Daniel Craig’s storied, record-setting tenure as the longest-running actor to be cast in the role of 007. There’s no telling what’s going to happen or what twists will close out this auspicious run for Craig’s portrayal. But what we can say is that if any of this next film’s moments rank as highly as the ones we’ve just discussed, it’ll have been worth the wait.
NO TIME TO DIE will hit theatres this November, so be sure to set a reminder to let you know when tickets for 007’s latest adventure are on sale!