Even Naomie Harris Thought No Time To Die’s Shocking Ending Was Going To Change For The Final Film
Harris was in on the secret from day one, and even she couldn't believe where the 25th James Bond movie ended.
Warning: spoilers for No Time To Die are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, and want to go in surprised, turn back now.
After finishing his mission in No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s James Bond is faced with one final decision. It’s something that fans and critics alike couldn’t believe actually happened, and if you ask people about the dramatic conclusion to the 25th 007 film, some still aren’t sure what actually happened on screen took place. Those feelings echo the reactions of some of the film’s cast when they first read the script. Even Naomie Harris, Ms. Moneypenny herself, thought the film’s shocking ending was going be changed in the final edit.
Contrary to reports that some of the cast and crew received a fake script, with a happier ending, Ms. Harris confirmed to CinemaBlend that she did indeed receive the actual ending. Sitting down for an in-person interview during the home video press experience for No Time To Die, her disbelief in the death of Commander Bond still reads as fresh as the day she saw those words on the page. And when recalling that moment in her own words, Naomie Harris sounds like she thought that ending was the false flag:
A veteran of the 007 franchise since her introduction in 2012’s Skyfall, Naomie Harris’ surprised reaction was priceless. Even more exciting was the fact that she didn’t even know that in order to protect the secrets of this 25th Bond film, there was a fake script floating around with a happier ending. Many might wonder why multiple scripts were produced and sent to different people, but given the existence of Mathilde was leaked from discarded call sheets, it's probably fair to say ginning up such a gambit was the right one.
Killing James Bond is something that villains have been dreaming of for almost 60 years of moviemaking. Popular culture has even spoofed the fact that 007’s villains seem to be unable to control themselves when they capture him; going over their plans meticulously in front of a person that’s supposed to die any minute now. The Simpsons and Austin Powers franchises especially had fun with this notion in the ‘90s, as it seemed that Mr. Bond could never die.
That invulnerability has been played around with before, with the opening of 1963’s From Russia With Love and 1967’s You Only Live Twice showing us the “death” of Commander Bond, before exposing us to the reality of those situations. Daniel Craig’s era changed a lot of things in its time, and right from the start his intentions were to make sure that his time as the sixth actor to play the part ended with a proper funeral. He certainly got his wish, and the results were atypically tender in No Time To Die’s bittersweet finale.
Even experiencing those final moments first hand, it felt like any minute James Bond would wash up on the shore of some distant country, alive but maybe worse for the wear. It’s what happened to him in the conclusion to Ian Fleming’s literary version of You Only Live Twice, and that novel shares quite a bit of DNA with what co-writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga and Bond series scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade crafted in their script. Unfortunately, or fortunately if you look at the ending from a certain point of view, that was not to be.
Knowing James Bond is going to die is one thing, but actually watching it unfold is an experience people will be talking about for some time. While Naomie Harris is uncertain of her own future in the franchise, and has even suggested a fantastic successor in the role of Moneypenny, if this was her final film in the 007 legacy, she’s probably proud to call such a trailblazing entry her last. You can see what all the fuss is about, as James Bond will return to your home theater in No Time To Die; which is currently available to rent or own (opens in new tab) through digital and physical media.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.