James Bond returns October 8 in No Time to Die, but it will be Daniel Craig’s last adventure as the iconic secret agent. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the film pits James Bond against a new villain played by Academy Award winner Rami Malek and introduces a new Agent 007 to the franchise.
In the lead-up to the No Time To Die premiere, we have plenty of footage from the much-anticipated film, as well as the Billie Eilish music video for the movie’s theme song. Here’s everything we know about No Time to Die so far, going all the way back to the earliest reports on the movie’s development.
As concerns about the coronavirus grew worldwide throughout 2020 and into 2021, and under growing pressure from fans, MGM, Universal, and Eon Productions moved the release date for No Time to Die from April 10 to November 2020. However, as theaters worldwide continued to remain closed in many countries, the movie’s release date was eventually pushed back to October 8, 2021.
The final trailer for the film’s U.S. premiere debuted August 31 and features a bit of fresh footage from No Time to Die ahead of its October release in theaters.
A brief preview of No Time to Die debuted during Super Bowl LIV on February 2. The 30-second ad offered plenty of footage of James Bond in action, as well as newcomers to the franchise.
In September, MGM released a second, full-length trailer with even more death-defying stunts, flashes of all our favorite classic characters, and more of No Time to Die villain, Safin (Rami Malek).
Even more footage
Appearing on The Tonight Show in October 2020, Daniel Craig showed a clip from No Time to Die‘s cold open. Evidently, No Time to Die will be every bit as death-defying and action-packed as the previous Craig Bond films.
In a TV spot for No Time to Die entitled “Your Enemy Is My Enemy” that aired in March 2020, we got a quick-cut look at a number of Bond tropes and some new footage. There’s a hidden submarine base, a masked villain, a fancy plane, some high-speed chases, Rami Malek looking sinister, and Ana de Armas beating people up.
Who is Safin?
Who is the new Bond villain, Safin? Let Rami Malek tell you! Speaking with GQ, Malek gave an extremely detailed breakdown of his character, suggesting that Safin will make audiences question the nature of evil itself.
“When I think about Safin, I think about someone who is meticulous but measured, and there is something about that that is really unnerving and unsettling. He’s someone that, at times, I feel gives you the sensation that you’re being watched, and that again is quite unsettling. He asks you to question what you think is right, what you think is wrong, and is your interpretation of those two things as accurate as it seems to be.
I think you start asking questions about what evil is. And with this character especially, I find him fascinating because he can detach from empathy in order to meticulously carry out his will, and I start to wrap myself up in who that person is psychologically.
He’s ruthless, and that might be — I’m in danger of giving too much away here — a result of something that’s happened to him. But even acknowledging that taps into the analytical side of him as well. I think the fact that he can still find a way to appreciate his own evil is something that is quite petrifying, and psychologically something that was not easy for me to tap into.”
Director Carey Fukunaga went even further, describing Safin as an even bigger threat than Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld. “Once we got into Christoph Waltz/Blofeld territory, you can’t go small again,” he explained. “We had to think bigger. It’s tricky because you don’t want to make a cliché supervillain, but you have to make someone that’s threatening not only to Bond and the people he loves but to the world at large.”
Billie Eilish title track and video
Grammy Award winner Billie Eilish released her music video for No Time to Die, the theme song for the film, on October 1.
One of the fundamental elements of any Bond movie is the title track that plays over the opening credits. The likes of Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Adele, and Sam Smith have all recorded tracks for Bond films, and now we can add recent Grammy-sweeping artist Billie Eilish to the list.
Eilish’s No Time to Die was released to YouTube on February 13, giving fans a taste of what’s to come from the impending film.
The song was produced by her brother, Finneas, and Stephen Lipson, with orchestral arrangements by Hans Zimmer and Matt Dunkley, and guitar by Johnny Marr. Eilish is the youngest Bond theme singer in history at 18 years old.
Adele won an Oscar for Skyfall — time will tell how Eilish’s entry into the Bond pantheon will fare.
It’s been well-publicized that No Time to Die will be Daniel Craig’s last ride as 007, but rather than simply get a new actor to play James Bond, the 25th Bond film will actually pass the 007 mantle to another person. Lashana Lynch plays Nomi, the inheritor of the classic code number. Speaking with Tech Radar, Lynch went into some detail on her character.
“I knew who Nomi would be, because I had direct conversations with Barbara Broccoli and Cary about who they wanted her to be, but also who I wanted her to be and alongside that I spoke with our writers and Phoebe Waller-Bridge who has done wonderfully in collaborating with us,” Lynch said. “And what I saw was a woman who had agency, who was powerful, who was committed, and who believed that she was the best person at MI6.”
“She’s a Black woman, she’s forward-thinking. She’s unique, and she has many unique selling points that carry her forward in her career. So when I saw her on the page, it was very beautifully written, and I didn’t feel like I had to add anything too crazy. It was there for the taking, and I just did the best I could to fulfill what they’d already created.”
Despite the film’s title, No Time to Die will give James Bond plenty of time to do whatever it is he does in the movie. Regal Cinemas‘ reported running time for No Time to Die is 163 minutes, or 2 hours and 43 minutes. That makes No Time to Die the longest film in the entire 58-year history of the James Bond franchise.
We already knew that Daniel Craig will be moving on from James Bond after No Time to Die, but in a featurette that goes behind the scenes on the film’s production, director Cary Joji Fukunaga teased a little more about the circumstances that will bring Craig’s time as 007 to an end.
Previously revealed plot points tell us that at the start of No Time to Die, Bond has left MI6 behind, with no interest in risking his life for the agency again. However, as Fukunaga explained, it’s Bond’s personal connections to those he cares most about that will lure him back into action. Sitting it out, Fukunaga said, would result in dire consequences for Bond’s closest confidantes.
Here’s the official IMAX poster for No Time to Die, with Daniel Craig’s James Bond sliding by on a motorcycle.
After production, Daniel Craig told USA Today that No Time to Die would indeed be his last reprisal as James Bond and he has since doubled down.
“That’s it. That’s it, it’s over,” Craig said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “But I, for one, am incredibly happy I got the chance to come back and do another one, because… this movie, whatever people think of it — who knows what people are going to think of it — everybody, including these people here, just put everything into it. And we did our best. And it feels like that. I know it sounds simplistic, but we did.”
American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish performed and co-wrote the theme song for No Time to Die. The 18-year-old musician and multiple Grammy Award winner is the youngest performer to record a James Bond theme in the franchise’s history.
The announcement was made via Twitter, with the social media accounts for Eilish and the James Bond franchise both confirming her involvement.
The #NoTimeToDie title song will be performed by @billieeilish. Billie has written the song with her brother @finneas and is the youngest artist in history to write and record a James Bond theme song. pic.twitter.com/Qd5cYIRlmg
— James Bond (@007) January 14, 2020
According to Variety, legendary composer Hans Zimmer joined No Time to Die. He replaces American composer Dan Romer, who was dismissed last month by Eon Productions due to “creative differences.” At the time of the report, it was believed that Zimmer had already begun working on the 25th Bond film, now in post-production in London.
Zimmer is an 11-time Oscar nominee and won for 1994’s The Lion King. He’s no stranger to action films, having scored Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, as well as Gladiator, Mission: Impossible 2, and two Sherlock Holmes films.
If you were expecting something bold and original in celebration of the franchise’s 25th official installment, you shouldn’t have gotten your hopes up. According to the official James Bond Twitter channel, 007’s next outing will be called No Time to Die.
Compared to Skyfall and Spectre, the names of Daniel Craig’s last two Bond flicks, No Time to Die is awfully mundane, although it fits nicely with the rest of the Bond canon. The words “die” and “kill” appear in the titles of six of the 25 Bond movies.
Cast and director
Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) is directing the film, and while Daniel Craig will return to play Bond, the movie will introduce a new, female 007. The cast and producers of the film confirmed these and other details in a livestreamed event (see below) held April 25 in GoldenEye, Jamaica — the location where James Bond creator Ian Fleming originally penned his spy novels.
Confirming a February report, Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek will play No Time to Die‘s unnamed villain. Although the event didn’t reveal many details about Malek’s character, the original report via Collider suggested that he’ll portray a blind character.
The official synopsis for the film also revealed a few details about the character and why James Bond ends up pursuing him.
Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Along with Craig and Malek, confirmed cast members for No Time to Die include returning actors Ralph Fiennes as M, Lea Seydoux as Madeleine, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, Rory Kinnear as Tanner, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. Newcomers to the franchise include Dali Benssalah, Billy Magnussen, Ana De Arma, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, and Malek.
Behind the camera
Fukunaga will direct the film from a script penned by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Scott Z. Burns, Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Known for its cinematic shooting locations, the franchise will bring James Bond to London, Italy, Jamaica, and Norway this time around, with additional shooting at the series’ traditional home of Pinewood Studios in London.
The official announcement of the cast and plot details follows a lengthy and tumultuous development period for the next installment of the James Bond franchise.
Fukunaga joined No Time to Die following the departure of Danny Boyle and a reportedly intense search for a new filmmaker to helm the project, which was initially scheduled to premiere in November 2019. Boyle was initially set to direct and co-write with his Trainspotting collaborator John Hodge.
More James Bond news
In late August, the first set of filmmakers rumored to be contenders included Baby Driver and Shaun of the Dead filmmaker Edgar Wright, Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallee (per a report in Deadline), Hell or High Water director David Mackenzie, and White Boy Rick director Yann Demange. Both Mackenzie and Demange were on the earlier list of potential directors before Boyle was attached to the film. American Animals director Bart Layton and Star Trek 4 director S.J. Clarkson were also identified as potential directors.
James Bond franchise producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced Fukunaga’s hiring in September 2018, along with the return of star Daniel Craig, and indicated that production on Bond 25 (the film’s working title) began on March 4, 2019.
“We are delighted to be working with Cary. His versatility and innovation make him an excellent choice for our next James Bond adventure,” said the producers in a statement accompanying the announcement.
Fukunaga comes to the James Bond franchise with a short but impressive list of directing credits that includes the first season of True Detective, which won him a Primetime Emmy Award. Most recently, he directed the Netflix miniseries Maniac starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. Highlights from his major studio feature work so far include 2009’s Sin Nombre, 2011’s Jane Eyre, and the critically acclaimed 2015 feature Beasts of No Nation, which won star Idris Elba a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award nomination.
No Time to Die will land in theaters October 8, 2021.