Daniel Craig’s final James Bond adventure, No Time To Die, promises to be a most extreme and most fitting finale to his tenure as the legendary superspy. To get to that level of hype and excitement, you kind of need a villain who can really put the screws to 007, and Rami Malek’s mysterious presence seems like just the type to do so. However, not only did a recent behind-the-scenes video fail to name Malek’s character (again) it also introduced a rather interesting implication: it's possible he might not be part of SPECTRE at all.
In a clip narrated by writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga, the intent of No Time To Die is described in great detail. Set to an exciting reel of footage from the film itself, as well as the extensive production process, Fukunaga lays down what he’s looking to do with the 25th James Bond movie. When it comes to Rami Malek, whose character has previously been referred to as “Safin,” this is what the writer/director has to say:
Now there's someone new out there. More dangerous than anyone [Bond] has ever encountered. And whoever they are is smarter and stronger than SPECTRE.
With this statement above, there are some interesting things to consider when trying to figure out where Malek fits into the James Bond canon.
Cary Joji Fukunaga Won’t Even Name His No Time To Die Villain
As mentioned before, Cary Joji Fukunaga didn’t drop the name of whoever the villain for No Time To Die is supposed to be. We’ve seen the name “Safin” come up in previous announcements, but in this behind-the-scenes look at the next Bond adventure, Fukunaga didn’t even use that name.
With a lot of vagueness surrounding this character, and rumors swirling that Rami Malek is actually playing a rebooted version of classic Ian Fleming villain Dr. No, this tactic doesn’t feel like a random card in the deck. Rather, it feels like Cary Joji Fukunaga is trying to potentially avoid another case of fans unmasking a villain way before the appropriate time and Malek’s apparent confusion on his character’s name is only fuel to this particular fire.
As was the case with Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld, the alternate name of Franz Oberhauser was released in connection to Spectre, and any inquiries as to whether or not Oberhauser was really Blofeld were shut down pretty quickly. So if no name is given for your film’s villain, surely that means fans can’t be disappointed/shocked when they turn out to be someone else, right?
If Rami Malek’s Villain Is Dr. No, He Could Still Be Part Of SPECTRE
If we’re playing by the classic 007 franchise rules, should Rami Malek be confirmed to be Dr. No, he’d automatically be a member of SPECTRE. As introduced in the first James Bond film back in 1962, the titular villain was the first enemy agent we saw in connection with the organization that would eventually become, for a period, James Bond’s greatest foe.
With precedent now set for introducing classic villains like Blofeld, there’s a possibility that should Dr. No be in play, he could be swimming in the same villainous circles he’s always been a part of. Though most of the organization has been killed or captured, SPECTRE could still be operating, and our new baddie maybe isn’t a part of the gang just yet.
Cary Joji Fukunaga might be laying down some misdirection after all, vaguely stating that this new menace in No Time To Die isn’t a part of the group to the public. So rather, the twist now would be that instead of Rami Malek being revealed as Dr. No, we’re actually going to see how that character joins SPECTRE’s ranks to begin with.
The final adventure of Daniel Craig’s James Bond would be a hell of a place to start a new era in SPECTRE, as this film seems poised to cement the modern run of Bond’s character for whomever picks up the tuxedo in the future. Of course, there’s another explanation that is equally compelling.
Rami Malek Might Not Be Playing Dr. No, Or Might Not Be Part Of SPECTRE
It might feel like Rami Malek playing Dr. No is a sure thing to some, but there’s still a distinct possibility that he is actually representing a fresh adversary in No Time To Die. While it would be interesting to see this theory confirmed, it would be playing a very similar card to that of Blofeld in Spectre. Considering how much Cary Joji Fukunaga talks about rediscovering Bond, and wanting to tie up Daniel Craig’s time in the role, this might be a bit counterintuitive.
Whether Dr. No is or isn’t in play, there is a chance that instead of just folding him into SPECTRE’s operation, the character could be used as a more vicious and worthy adversary than the man with the white cat ever could be. Which totally fits with what we know about “Safin” so far.
The first teaser to No Time To Die set up our mysterious bad guy as, essentially, a dark mirror of James Bond himself. It’s a concept that’s more fitting for this grand finale, one that some would say runs counter to the concept of Dr. No himself. In this instance, the rumor mill might just be a tad out of control, and Safin could indeed be Safin.
You can watch the behind the scenes for No Time To Die, and judge for yourself whether Rami Malek is Safin, Dr. No, or some other shadowy figure we don’t know about yet:
No matter the result, No Time To Die closes the Daniel Craig run of James Bond films in its release on April 10th.