The James Bond franchise has its fair share of hallmarks and traditions that deep cut fans and novice viewers identify the series with. One such formula is the fact that each Bond film has started out with a pre-credits cold open that sets the tone for the rest of the movie, complete with a huge action set-piece to get the adrenaline pumping. Well, that’s not going to be the exact blueprint for co-writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s entry in the 007 series, No Time To Die, as we’re going to see something more deliberately paced, and devoid of Bond himself, open up this twice delayed movie.
In a profile piece for WSJ Magazine, the level of care and innovation that Fukunaga approached No Time To Die’s big opening sequence was laid out pretty clearly. Rather than giving the audience another huge moment where Daniel Craig’s James Bond wrecks the operations of a mid-level villain, and gets a better footing for the adventure he’s about to undertake, something much more emotional is on display. What the audience is going to get this time out, in an opening that’s being teased as potentially the longest cold open in Bond history, is a flashback sequence, focused on the childhood of Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann.
If what was being theorized in the early phases of No Time To Die’s marketing comes true, we’re actually going to see a traumatic moment from Madeleine’s childhood that she references in Spectre. Only, we now know something pretty gigantic about the good doctor’s childhood: her mother was murdered by Safin (Rami Malek), and she herself was a target, leading to that sequence we’ve seen in the trailers where a masked man chases a young girl onto a frozen lake.
Even more interesting is the fact that this moment totally retcons key details from Madeleine Swann’s backstory. In the story she told about her father in Spectre, the villainous Mr. White and his wife were eventually divorced; presumably because of his criminal double life working for the organization the film gets its name from. There’s also a story about how Dr. Swann knows how to handle a weapon, because an intruder tried to kill her father once in her childhood, and Madeleine already knew how to use a gun and where her father hid one in the house.
However, it looks like this slightly different version of events in No Time To Die may be overwriting key parts of that story, perhaps in service of the greater secret surrounding Madeleine Swann’s character. Now, the tale seems to be that her mother was killed, rather than leaving the family in a more legally final way, and Safin is the culprit behind that act. Which ultimately inspired Cary Joji Fukunaga to deliver a joke that’s so witty and entertaining, that we hope it speaks to the humor that’s present in the 25th James Bond film. Confirming that the masked figure we’ve seen is indeed Safin, Fukunaga couldn’t help but remark on how a previously failed project of his came back to haunt him in No Time To Die’s opening sequence:
Some clown chasing a child around the house. Yeah, it’s like I brought back It in the first five minutes of Bond.
While we have to wait until spring 2021 to decode the entire picture surrounding Madeline Swann’s childhood, it looks like No Time To Die is going to bank its thematic fortunes more heavily on Lea Seydoux’s character than we’d expected. Not only does this break the tradition of the action packed 007 exploits that normally open a Bond film, but it yet again confirms that Dr. Swann is the most important Bond woman in the entire series, alongside Casino Royale’s Vesper Lynd and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’s Countess Teresa di Vicenzo. No Time To Die opens on April 2, 2021, so you can be sure that James Bond will return to CinemaBlend in the meantime, as there’s a lot to be discussed.