My fellow fans of espionage, it's looking like we're finally going to actually see No Time to Die, a.k.a the 25th James Bond movie, a.k.a. the James Bond movie that has been delayed about 60 times due to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues. At this week's CinemaCon, the bosses behind the film said that we'll definitely see it on October 8, 2021. In theaters. We'll get to that—and the new plot details that came out during the event— shortly.
But first: You have to remember, No Time to Die is the film that, even before COVID-19 put Hollywood on pause, was plagued with production issues including having its original director replaced, on-set accidents, and an injury for star Daniel Craig. Luckily, there's also been good news about the project. After all, How can you go wrong with Phoebe Waller-Bridge punching up the script, and Cary Joji Fukunanga directing? Here's everything we know so far, from the film's trailers, to its theme song, to its long-delayed release date.
What's the movie about?
After rumors suggested that Daniel Craig's final 007 film would be titled Shatterhand—named after the alias of Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld from Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel You Only Live Twice—Eon announced the real title, No Time to Die, in August of 2019. That's either a pretty classic name for a Bond movie, or was created using a random Bond title generator, depending on how you look at it.
Here's the setup for the film, according to its official synopsis:
In NO TIME TO DIE, 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.
Thanks to a video where Fukunanga discusses No Time to Die, we know a few more specifics about the plot. In the clip, the director says, "For me, as a writer and a director, it was essential to rediscover Bond. Where is he, after five years of retirement, who has he become?"
Fukunanga confirms that No Time to Die picks up five years after Spectre. And it sounds a little Skyfall-ish, with the director explaining that the film sees Bond struggling with the new world of espionage, and the new rules it developed when he was away. And, of course, he teases the threat of Rami Malek's villain, Safin, whom we'll get to shortly. Regardless, it sounds like it'll be a trip. Fukunanga says, "No Time to Die is a culmination of everything Bond has become. With all that he's seen, all the trauma, the loss, what is that mission that will be his most challenging and the most difficult?"
But what's a Bond film without the romance? At August's CinemaCon, the team behind No Time to Die treated movie theater investors to a nine-minute-long clip from the film. According to reports, most of the new footage included assorted Bond antics: Car chases, explosions, motorcycles, the works. Apparently, at one point, Blofeld tells Bond that Madeline is a traitor. In another moment from the footage, too, Bond reportedly tells her, "You’re right letting go is hard." Is a break-up in the cards for our friend? Unless there's a new trailer before October, this might be all we'll know about Madeline's arc for now.
Who’s in the cast?
Daniel Craig, of course. And aside from Bond himself, there's a mixture of familiar and new faces in the supporting cast. Bond regulars Jeffrey Wright, Naomie Harris, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, and Ralph Fiennes will be back, and they'll be joined by Christoph Waltz, who's reprising his role as the villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Lashana Lynch is joining the franchise as Nomi, a junior MI6 agent who takes over the 007 codename in the wake of Bond's retirement. News of her casting sparked a brief and predictable internet outrage over the famed spy supposedly being played black woman, but Lynch's character is an entirely separate creation who inherits the same codename. "It makes me feel quite sad for some people because their opinions, they're not even from a mean place," said Lynch of the outrage, "they're actually from a sad place. It's not about me.
And Oscar winner Malek will appear as the mysterious villain Safin. The star told reporters that he wouldn't play a baddie who was affiliated with "any act of terrorism reflecting an ideology or a religion," and that his character is a "very different kind of terrorist."
But fans suspect that Safin may actually be classic bond villain Dr. No. Malek, of course, wouldn't confirm anything when quizzed by Esquire UK, but he did hint that "there is a resurgence of an Ian Fleming influence on this film." Dr. No is an original Fleming creation, so bringing him back would definitely count as a "resurgence" of the author's influence.
What do the trailers reveal?
The movie's first full trailer showcased a lot of what we already knew—we're introduced to Lynch's character, reunited with Waltz's Blofeld, and finally get to see Malek's Safin—while offering some new clues about the plot. Bond rode off into the sunset with Seydoux's Madeleine Swann at the end of Spectre, but it looks like the two didn't get their happily ever after.
But the second trailer clearly marks out the landscape of the film. According to Madeleine, Safin is after her—and revenge. The villain himself tells Bond that they "both eradicate people to make the world a better place," while Lynch's character reveals that someone (Safin?) is "going to kill millions." That, and the underground terrarium situation in his lair, are all in keeping with the theory the character is an eco-terrorist. The trailer also may support the theory that Safin is Dr. No—just check out the blue navy number he's sporting about a minute and 25 seconds in. It definitely looks like a 2020 take on No's famous Nehru jacket look.
The latest trailer, which debuted in July 2021, doesn't show us too much. It's mostly a wet-the-palate teaser. We glimpse Bond reuniting with Q, Nomi flying a freaking jet with Bond in tow, and Ana De Armas in ass-kicking mode. Thankfully, the trailer reminds us, if anything, that No Time to Die will be worth the wait.
What's the theme song?
The filmmakers tapped pop star Billie Eilish to perform the movie's theme song, which is appropriately titled No Time to Die. The 18-year-old Eilish, who swept the 2020 Grammys by winning trophies for Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album, is the youngest artist ever to record a 007 theme. And the tune is a perfect mixture of classic, vaguely ominous Bond orchestration, a haunting melody, and Eilish's signature crooning vocals.
What about those production problems?
The creation of No Time to Die was so problem-plagued that the press began joking that the 25th Bond film was cursed. First there was the changing of the directors: citing "creative differences," Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced in 2018 that Boyle had quit the project. (It's been rumored that Boyle wanted to kill off the the iconic spy in the movie.) Broccoli later admitted that after his departure, the producers "considered shutting down the production entirely."
Boyle was replaced by Fukunaga, but the problems didn't stop there. While performing a stunt, Craig acquired ankle that required surgery and kept him away from the set for weeks. Then, a series of explosions rocked the set, leaving a member of the crew seriously injured. The film's production later made the news once again when a maintenance employee at the UK's Pinewood Studios, where the movie was being filmed, was arrested for hiding a camera in the women's bathrooms.
The film hit another stumble when it was announced in February 2020 that its Chinese premiere and promotional tour would be cancelled due to Coronavirus concerns. (Nearly every other major film slated last year met a similar fate.) And on March 4, MGM, Universal, and the producers of No Time to Die decided to proceed with a global delay of the film to November 2020 due to caution regarding the spread of Coronavirus.
Which brings us to now, see below.
So when is the movie coming out?
With MGM and Universal deciding to go forward with the coronavirus-related postponement, we were, at one point, set to see No Time to Die release in the U.K. on November 12, 2020, and in the U.S. on November 20, 2020. Nope. Nuh-uh. Then it was pushed to April 2, 2021, and once again, to October 8.
Then, at August's CinemaCon, MGM film chief Michael De Luca said, "I'll cut to the chase. James Bond's coming out in October," confirming the October 8 release date. Phew. Got all that? We're almost there, folks.
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