Ed Sheeran Almost Sang No Time To Die's Theme Song, If Not For One Crucial Change Up

Ed Sheeran in Game of Thrones and Daniel Craig in No Time To Die, pictured side by side.
(Image credit: HBO/Danjaq LLC and MGM)

Picture this: in an alternate version of No Time To Die, the action and emotion of the pre-title opener gives way to Ed Sheeran's voice. It almost happened, as the history of James Bond movies has scored yet another “what if” in the theme song department. However, fate and one crucial change up saw Sheeran go from practically having the gig to losing out.  

During his appearance on That Peter Crouch Podcast, the artist behind hits like “Shape of You” and “Sing” revealed that he was absurdly close to adding his talents to the Bond franchise. The reason we can pretty much say this was for Daniel Craig’s 007 finale is because of the fact that it sounds like director Danny Boyle’s variation of what was known as Bond 25 was the project that was meant to make it happen. Ed Sheeran explained the scenario, with an aptly hysterical metaphor, as follows: 

I was within a fucking gnat's pube of doing one. They changed directors, and then they just changed scripts, and that was it. But we had done all the meetings. I had started writing it.

From the sound of Sheeran’s story, it seems like Bond 25’s script and director were the key elements that aligned for his consideration. Which, of course, meant that Danny Boyle’s 2018 departure from the project, and the subsequent re-writes that followed, required a fresh start. 

Eventually the world would get Finneas and Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die theme out of the deal; a fitting track that opened the film perfectly. Even after the movie’s release, and the Oscar win that came as a result, it’s a song that still has Eilish fans freaking out two years later. But oh, it's hard not to think about what could have been.

That’s not to say that Ed Sheeran couldn’t have pulled off a James Bond theme. Rather, it sounds like whatever song he wrote would have been based off of a totally different Bond adventure from writer John Hodge and director Danny Boyle’s collaboration. The experience hasn’t put Sheeran off from wanting to take another swing, as he clarified thusly: 

You've got to, eventually as an English singer, want to do a Bond song. … I'm not gonna pretend it didn't hurt not doing it. If they come back, I'll be like, 'Yeah yeah, of course.'

Getting that close to performing a 007 theme tune is frustrating enough to warrant the sort of language that Ed Sheeran used. Joining the likes of Radiohead, Alice Cooper and even the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey herself, the English rocker is now one of the many acts that find their works on the heap of rejected James Bond themes

It doesn’t sound like Ed Sheeran finished working on what could have been Bond 25’s opening number, which is a bummer. However, if he ever wants to surprise the world and finish the song that could have signed 007’s death warrant, that’d be something pretty cool to behold.  For more stories like this one, you should definitely check out The Sound of 007 documentary. If you’re in possession of a Prime Video subscription, you can do just that at your earliest convenience. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

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