The New Bond Movie: What’s In A Name?
After what feels like years of being referred to as ‘Bond 25,’ the new James Bond film finally has a name – and it’s dividing critics, to say the least. When Daniel Craig plays the legendary British agent for the very last time, he’ll be doing it in a movie called ‘No Time To Die.’ It’s dramatic, it’s slightly over-the-top, but it’s in keeping with plenty of 007 movie titles from the past. ‘Die Another Day,’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ were hardly subtle in their titles, and given that we can probably expect Bond to avoid death in dozens of unlikely ways during the film’s running time, it’s probably not an inappropriate choice. But is it telling us more about the script than it intends to?
‘No Time To Die’ isn’t an original title, and in saying that we don’t just mean that it’s a little generic. It’s been taken from a 1958 war movie – and one that has several ties to the James Bond universe. American audiences know the 1958 film better as ‘Tank Force,’ but ‘No Time To Die’ was its original title when it was written – and one of the people writing it was a name which will be well known to Bond aficionados. It was Richard Maibaum, who was very heavily involved in the ‘classic’ run of Bond movies during the 20th century. From Sean Connery’s debut in ‘Dr. No’ to the Timothy Dalton-led’ License To Kill,’ the movies were all based on Ian Fleming’s original novels – but with very few exceptions, those novels were adapted for the big screen by Maibaum.
The connections don’t stop there, either. 1958’s ‘No Time To Die’ was directed by Terence Young, who also sat in the big chair for three popular Bond films; ‘Dr.No,’ ‘Thunderball,’ and ‘From Russia With Love.’ Young was hand-picked for the role by the film’s producer – who was one Cubby Broccoli. Broccoli’s name shouldn’t need introducing or explaining to anybody, but in case the connection has somehow passed you by, Broccoli was the producer of almost all the classic Bond films. Without Broccoli’s involvement, it’s far from a certain thing than 007 would ever have made it to the big screen.
Given the level of research and planning that goes into making a James Bond film – and the protracted wait for the name of the 25th Bond film even though production of the movie is well underway – it’s unthinkable that the producers of the new film would be unaware of the title’s past use, and its Bond movie heritage. It’s therefore likely that we’re intended to infer something from the original film. We could even be about to see a re-write of the 1950s film, re-purposed to belong to the modern world and feature James Bond at its heart.
The first ‘No Time To Die’ is set in Africa while the Second World War is in progress. The plot sees an American tank crew attacked by German panzers, and forced to evacuate their vehicles. They’re captured, and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp run by Italians. The remainder of the film is given over to their repeated attempts to escape. We won’t tell you whether or not they were successful, just in case the plot is so similar that the information would become a spoiler. It isn’t too hard, though, to put a Bond twist on this.
We know that Bond is retired from life as a secret agent in the timeframe of ‘No Time To Die.’ He could, therefore, be working in an advisory role somewhere in a foreign, war-torn country, and find himself captured. Alternatively, he could be called out of retirement because someone very important has been taken as a prisoner of war, and only Bond has the skills to go in there and rescue them. Given the fact that he’s no longer an active agent of the British Government, he could be in the country on ‘unofficial’ business, and therefore wouldn’t be subject to some of the constraints that would be expected of an active officer. Any and all of the above sound like classic Bond scenarios, and would likely go down well with fans.
The movie won’t be free of controversy, however. With Bond retired, someone else has taken over his old 007 license – and that ‘someone’ is a woman. When the word of a female 007 was first reported, certain elements of the British press reacted as if Bond himself were now female, and started an argument about political correctness. They’re a little late on that front – like most mobile slots players know, there’s been a female equivalent to James Bond for a while now. The ‘Agent Jane Blonde’ mobile slots on casino site such as Late Casino slots has been so popular among players that a sequel was released this year. The idea of a female secret agent hasn’t proved to be off-putting in the world of mobile slots, so we’re not sure why movie-goers would react any differently. If a new series of films were commissioned about a female British secret agent, why should there be an issue so long as she didn’t refer to herself as James Bond?
With Bond being retired, there is another possibility with this film – he could die. The Daniel Craig Bond movies have been self-contained, making no reference to the previous films, and appear to have tracked the character from receiving his first’ license to kill’ through to the end of his career. There would therefore be nothing, in theory, stopping producers killing this version of Bond off and allowing any future Bond movies to be reboots. It’s not as if timeframes and continuity haven’t been moved around drastically before in Bond, so why not go the whole way?
The answers to all of these questions will come in April 2020, when Craig takes his final bow. Like everybody else who was raised on James Bond films, we can’t wait. Will it be a re-telling of the 1958 film of the same name? Is the title a deliberate red herring? Will Craig’s Bond ride off into the sunset for a happy ending, or will we all be in tears by the time the credits roll? It’s less than a year before we’ll all find out together!
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.