The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for No Time to Die.
No Time to Die is finally here, and with it, Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond has come to an end. It’s a bittersweet moment because by and large, people were a fan of Craig in the role. Despite some missteps, he came in on a high, and he appears to be going out that way as well.
Of course, the particular way that Daniel Craig said goodbye to James Bond is likely something fans will be debating and discussing for not just the next several weeks, but the next several years. It was a huge move to literally kill off the character. And yet, the end credits assured us that James Bond will return.
How he might return, especially since Craig’s Bond is now dead, is anybody’s guess, but I think this is the perfect opportunity to do something potentially as radical as kill off James Bond. It’s time to consider remaking the Ian Fleming books as brand-new movies.
James Bond Has Been Almost Entirely Off The Page For Decades
While Casino Royale was where Daniel Craig started his tenure as James Bond, it’s the only movie based on an Ian Fleming book in decades. Technically Daniel Craig’s Quantum of Solace borrows its title from an Ian Fleming short story, but the title is the only thing that get adapted.
Discounting Casino Royale, it’s been almost 35 years since the last James Bond movie truly based on an Ian Fleming novel was made into a movie with 1987’s The Living Daylights, and almost 60 years since Dr. No became the first James Bond movie in the ongoing franchise.
For a long time, there were rumors that No Time To Die was going to be a remake of Dr. No, and while it’s easy to see where that idea came from after seeing the movie, it was an idea that a lot of people seemed to like.
We love James Bond, but the reason that many of us do is that we were introduced to the character through one of those older movies. Even if your first big screen James Bond was Daniel Craig or Pierce Brosnan or even Timothy Dalton, you probably saw Sean Connery or Roger Moore on TV first.
We Can Look At Classic James Bond Through A Modern Lens
For better or worse, we are in the age of the reboot and the remake. It’s something that audiences generally gravitate towards, as we like what we are already familiar with. Remakes get a lot of flack, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with remakes. If they bring something new to the table, that can be an interesting and unique reexamination of the material, and that’s where a new James Bond franchise could go.
Whatever Eon Productions decides to do with James Bond as a character, if we assume that any future movies are set in the modern day, then transforming the classic Ian Fleming stories into new movies doesn’t just give a filmmaking team a chance to do something new with the book, but it gives these movies a chance to update the previous adaptations.
While there’s nothing wrong with liking the original James Bond movies, they are certainly from another time. And considering how much Hollywood really likes to remake movies, it seems almost certain that remakes of those movies will come one day. With James Bond looking to start over in some way, there’s really no better time.
And if we’re being honest, while it’s impossible to look back at those early films without nostalgia goggles on, the fact is that for every one of them that’s legitimately good, there’s another that just isn’t great. Taking another swing at some of them wouldn’t be a bad idea because even without updating them for the modern day, just making them better would be a worthwhile exercise.
Early James Bond Is Not Sacred
If there’s one thing that the modern reboot/remake focus of Hollywood has shown us, it’s that none of it actually “destroys your childhood.” If you didn’t like the Ghostbusters reboot, that’s fine. The original one still exists and you can watch it as often as you like. Whatever your opinion of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, there is plenty more Star Wars content out there that you can still enjoy.
And the same is true with James Bond. Remaking Goldfinger doesn’t actually change the quality of Sean Connery’s Goldfinger any more than Austin Powers in Goldmember did. If the remake happens and it’s not great, we still have the original. And if it turns out to be good, then there are two great cinematic versions of Goldfinger.
The first five people to play James Bond continued the character in a nearly endless forward progression. While Daniel Craig’s version of the character was essentially a reboot, giving us the first on-screen origin story for the character, Craig was also the first to give us a real ending for Bond.
And yet, James Bond will return. James Bond should move forward. Future stories should update the character in some way. But there’s no reason the future of Bond can’t also look back. Those original Ian Fleming stories captivated readers and moviegoers alike for a long time for a reason. They’re good stories. Theft shouldn’t be completely off the table.
I’m not saying the next dozen James Bond movies need to be the first dozen James Bond movies all over again. If somebody has an original idea that would make for a good James Bond adventure, by all means, it should be made. If we do go back to a more episodic structure for Bond following Daniel Craig, we can do both, jumping between originals and remakes as the spirit takes us.
Of course, the original Bond novels did have continuity between them, so there’s no reason we couldn’t get a new James Bond and still have a multi-movie adventure just like the one we just finished up. We’d almost certainly need multiple James Bonds to do it, unless somebody wanted to tackle James Bond like they did the Harry Potter film series and start making them one after the other.
I don’t know what’s next for James Bond. At this point, it’s unclear if the producers even know what they’re going to do next. But whatever the future holds, with some sort of reboot on the horizon, maybe it’s time to truly start over at the beginning.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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