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James Bond: Danny Boyle Reveals His Scrapped Bond 25 Movie Plans

Daniel Craig looks up bittersweetly in No Time To Die.
(Image credit: Danjaq,LLC and MGM)

Danny Boyle’s departure from Bond 25 (eventually, No Time to Die) was huge news in 2018 as rumors swirled about the reasons why the Oscar-winning director left the beloved franchise. At the time, “creative differences” were cited for parting ways with Eon Productions. Since leaving the film, Boyle has opened up about why he quit Daniel Craig’s final Bond outing. But he’s never revealed much about the direction he wanted to take the international spy in. Years after giving up his Bond dreams, the Slumdog Millionaire director revealed what his scrapped No Time to Die movie plans were.

Eventually, he was replaced by Cary Fukunaga. But it appeared the Bond team and Fukunaga were still influenced by Boyle’s original plans that some elements were included in Craig’s Bond swan song. His ideas for the suave superspy have been a guessing game for many devoted Bond fans. After keeping his plans close to the vest, he opened up to Indie Wire about his vision for James Bond if he had stayed on for the film.

Weirdly — it would have been very topical now — it was all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War. It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins, and they just lost, what’s the word… they just lost confidence in it. It was a shame really.

Taking James Bond back to Russia would’ve fallen in line with early Bond entries like Dr. No and From Russia, with Love. So, his plot would’ve been a full-circle moment for the Bond franchise. But it was understandable producers didn’t want to touch a country with questionable relationships with other developed countries. Even before joining (and leaving) Bond 25, Boyle questioned getting involved with the long-running film series given the unspoken rules.

I remember thinking, ‘Should I really get involved in franchises?’ Because they don’t really want something different. They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it, and we wanted to do something different with it. ... The idea that they used in a different way was the one of [James Bond’s] child, which [John Hodge] introduced [and which] was wonderful.

This didn’t make the first time opened up about his aversion to joining a beloved franchise. The Trainspotting director realized after quitting Craig’s final 007 film that working on movie franchises wasn’t for him. He found working on an existing property to be like “digging the same hole.” His perspective was on-point for someone who built a career creating small films with experimental stories.

But it might not have been the Yesterday director the producers were after, according to a previously attached writer. Boyle’s writing partner John Hodge felt the Bond team was squarely aiming for him over his Bond 25 writing rather than the filmmaker’s madcap ideas. It seemed the Oscar winner quit the project out of solidarity with his Trainspotting cohort. But Hodge still didn’t go into full detail over why the pair left Craig’s swan song, much like his frequent collaborator.

But No Time to Die didn’t derail Boyle’s prolific career as his Sex Pistols biopic miniseries Pistol is weeks away from premiering. The series will premiere on May 31. In the meantime, you can watch Craig’s final Bond film by getting an Amazon Prime or Apple TV+ subscription.

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