Much as the casting of James Bond changes from time to time, the actors that play those closest to him also shift depending on which direction the franchise is going in. As Daniel Craig is set to leave at the end of a new era of 007 adventure after No Time To Die, fans are wondering if any of the current cast members will continue on in their roles after the 25th installment has been released into the wild. Naturally, Ralph Fiennes has some thoughts on the matter, as he’d love to continue giving orders to whoever the next Bond may be — should he be offered the opportunity.
As Fiennes was on hand to talk about his latest role in the Netflix original film The Dig, talk naturally turned to all things Bond. It’s certainly a fair question to ask, as some may be wondering how the continuity of the James Bond legacy will continue after five serialized adventures draw the Daniel Craig arc to a close. And as he told Total Film, Ralph Fiennes is more than happy to stay on board to show Craig’s successor the ropes:
If anyone from Eon Films is listening, I'm very keen to continue training the new Bond. I love playing M, and I love being part of that franchise. But who knows? Things have to change. But I love working with Daniel. He's a terrific Bond. I will treasure that experience.
Ralph Fiennes has been playing M since he was officially installed at the end of 2012’s Skyfall. The successor to Dame Judi Dench, his character Gareth Mallory was brought in to investigate MI6 and the 00 program, eventually being installed as its head gatekeeper after his predecessor’s demise. So one reason it wouldn’t be weird to keep Fiennes’ M on board is because he’s only had a short time in the role; and it’d be a terrible waste not to let him return after No Time To Die.
More importantly, the world of James Bond has seen roles such as M, Q, and Moneypenny keep actors at their posts for quite some time, even when the face playing James Bond has changed. The longest recurring actor was the original M played by Bernard Lee; who played the character for the first eleven 007 films. Starting in 1962’s Dr. No, and continuing straight through to 1979’s Moonraker, Lee saw both Sean Connery and Roger Moore’s Bond stroll into his office for orders. Though the more applicable precedent would probably be that of Dame Judi Dench, whose casting survived the decision to reboot the James Bond series with 2006’s Casino Royale.
There’s plenty of precedent to allow Ralph Fiennes to continue giving the orders in the 007 world. And at this point the only decision that would have to be made is if EON Productions will decide to keep not only Fiennes, but also Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw’s Q, and Rory Kinnear’s Tanner, in the offices of MI6. It’s probably best not to expect a decision any time soon, as any official word would probably be announced along with the casting of the next James Bond. Meaning that, at the very least, No Time To Die’s October 8th release has to happen, leaving the air to clear before plans for the next phase are drawn up.