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Daniel Craig's No Time To Die Ending Was In The Works A Lot Longer Than You Might Guess

Daniel Craig smiles slightly in a colorful club in No Time To Die.
(Image credit: Danjaq, LLC and MGM)

Warning: spoilers for the ending to No Time To Die are going to be discussed here. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, feel free to seek out some of our spoiler free James Bond stories, here at CinemaBlend.

Daniel Craig’s No Time To Die ending was an explosive, emotional finale that wrapped his time as 007. With James Bond sacrificing himself in the name of protecting those that he loved, the story beat felt like one of those decisions that had to have had some special weight behind it. According to Craig himself, Commander Bond’s death did have a very certain significance and it came about much earlier in the process of making the 25th Bond movie than you might have guessed. 

How Did Daniel Craig’s No Time To Die Ending Get Decided?

Revealed in Taschen’s No Time To Die updated version of The James Bond Archives (via Yahoo! Life), Daniel Craig suggested that his run as James Bond end with a thrilling death right from the beginning. Apparently, during his initial negotiations to take over after Pierce Brosnan’s tenure had ended, Craig had murder on his mind from the very start. According to the actor,

When I started as Bond on Casino Royale, one of the early discussions I had with Barbara [Broccoli] and Michael [G. Wilson] was that I would like to be killed off when I am finished.

That’s a pretty big idea to keep secret for almost 15 years and five films, but somehow those initial Casino Royale discussions weren’t leaked to the public before the movie finally hit theaters (after multiple delays to boot). This is even more interesting when reading how No Time To Die’s integration of James Bond’s new role as a dad was also inspired by previous discussions in the Craig era. Seeing as that twist was spoiled by some leakage, one has to wonder how those related to the movie managed to keep 007’s death a surprise.

How No Time Do Die’s Production Kept Bond's Death A Secret

Contrary to the incident that saw leaked call sheets expose the existence of Mathilde in No Time To Die, it sounds like the lid was kept on James Bond’s demise through a time-tested method. As it turns out, fake scripts were issued to the cast and crew while filming director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s emotional action spectacular. In the version that was released on the set, James Bond actually survived the bombing of Safin’s private island, returning home to a knighthood and a very happy ending. 

It definitely sounds like an ending you’d expect from a 007 adventure, and prior to seeing this film in action, we might have believed it to be the real deal. In hindsight though, that ending would have been almost as divisive as the fate that Daniel Craig’s Bond actually encountered onscreen. 

How much the initial shot calling really influenced the rest of the recent run of James Bond movies is yet to be seen. What can be said in the meantime is that the path the modern reboot era has taken makes a lot more sense if you consider that, from the beginning, Ian Fleming’s famous spy was on borrowed time. 

Anyone who wants to see No Time To Die again can do so, either in theaters or through PVOD rental, depending on your region of the world. 2021’s movie release schedule is also available, should you be ready to move on and leave Daniel Craig’s James Bond in favor of new and exciting upcoming releases. Since we’ll have all the time in the world to wait for the next actor in the role to be announced, it doesn’t hurt to find another movie to get excited about in the meantime. 

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.