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No Time To Die ending explained: How Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie finishes up


Daniel Craig’s final James Bond adventure has one heck of an ending.


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You could say No Time To Die is the Bond movie to end all Bond movies. Already a hit in the UK, the 25th official 007 movie closes Daniel Craig’s 15-year tenure as James Bond with a bang (despite its lack of a post-credits scene).

“In Daniel Craig’s final outing as the suave superspy, James Bond finally gets a life,” Richard Trenholm said in CNET’s No Time to Die review, which is out now in the US and in Australia on Nov. 11. “The result is an epic, explosive and emotional swan song that throws everything it has against the wall for a genuinely unique entry in the series.” That’s especially true of the bold and unprecedented ending.

Let’s dive into the movie’s final moment, but be warned: the following SPOILERS should be for your eyes only if you’ve seen the movie.

spoiler alert

Infiltration

Bioterrorist Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) drags Bond’s former lover Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) and her daughter Mathilde to his classic villain lair on an old World War II island base between Japan and Russia. Earlier, Madeleine insisted Mathilde wasn’t Bond’s kid, but those striking blue eyes suggest otherwise.

Madeleine’s father, the late Mr. White, killed Safin’s family on behalf of terrorist group Spectre when Safin was just a wee lad, so he killed Madeleine’s mother to get back at Mr. White. Madeleine got trapped under ice as she tried to escape this attack, but Safin saved her and became obsessed like a big weirdo.

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Lyutsifer Safin brings some creepy villainy to the adventure.


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Safin already forced her to take part in his scheme to wipe out Spectre with Heracles, a DNA-based bioweapon containing nanobots that target specific people. Bond unwittingly completes her mission to kill captive Spectre boss Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), as part of Safin’s revenge (cue maniacal laughter). But there’s more: from his base, Safin intends to launch Heracles globally, infecting millions (laughter intensifies).

Newly reinstated as 007, Bond and fellow 00 agent Nomi (Lashana Lynch) infiltrate the island and seemingly succeed in opening the silo doors for a missile strike ordered by M (Ralph Fiennes) to wipe out Safin’s base. Nomi escapes with Madeleine and Mathilde, while Bond sticks around to make sure the base is destroyed.


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Bond’s fate

The silo doors start to close, so Bond rushes back to reopen them. Could it be a trap? It definitely is. 

Safin gets the drop on 007, shooting Bond several times and infecting him with nanobots coded to Madeleine’s DNA — meaning he can never touch her or Mathilde again without killing them. What a jerk.

Bond numbly executes Safin and re-opens the silo doors, but it’s clear he doesn’t have time to escape. Severely wounded, he climbs a ladder to the roof and calls Madeleine to tell her he loves her.

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Bond and Madeleine Swann bring us on an emotional rollercoaster.


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“You have all the time in the world,” he says.

“She does have your eyes,” she responds, confirming that Mathilde is his daughter.

“I know,” he says, as the missiles come down on the base. “I know.”

With that, Bond is enveloped in the explosions.

Wait, James Bond dies?

Yes, for the first time in the character’s 59-year cinematic history (and 68-year literary one), 007 is killed. The movie’s title lied to us. It’s pretty definitive too; he’d been badly wounded by Safin and the missile strike wiped out the island. But the legendary spy also seemed at peace with his fate.

This comes after Bond became a father for the first time (that we know of) and seemed ready to settle down with Madeleine and Matilde, making it all the more devastating. Pardon me, I have something in my eye.

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Daniel Craig’s James Bond: 2006-2021


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What happens after his death?

Nomi returns to MI6 headquarters in London and M gathers her, Moneypenny, Tanner and Q (Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear and Ben Whishaw) in an emotional toast to their late colleague during which M reads a quote from author Jack London.

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist,” he says. “I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

This was previously used in Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice novel, appearing in Bond’s obituary when the world thought he’d died.

The final moments take us to the spectacular Italian mountainside city of Matera, where we met Madeleine and Bond at the start of the movie. This time, she’s driving with their daughter.

“Mathilde, I’m going to tell you a story about a man,” Madeleine says. “His name was Bond, James Bond.”

The credits roll, to the tune of Louis Armstrong’s We Have All the Time in the World.

How is that song significant?

Longtime Bond fans will recognize that We Have All the Time in the World from 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sixth movie in the franchise and George Lazenby‘s one and only outing in the role.

The title is darkly ironic — it’s taken from Bond’s final line after his new wife, Tracy, is fatally shot by Blofeld’s goon.

No Time To Die echoes On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in that it sees Bond growing as a person and apparently willing to leave spycraft behind to settle down. In both instances, fate intervenes — and something appears to have gotten in my eye again.

Is there a post-credits scene?

No Time To Die doesn’t have a post-credits scene, but if you stick around to the end you’ll see the classic words “James Bond will return.” 

The phrase has never been more reassuring, but we don’t know yet who’ll be taking over from Craig. 

The future 007

The search for the next Bond actor will begin in 2022, producer Barbara Broccoli told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, according to Deadline.

“We want Daniel to have his time of celebration,” she said. “Next year we’ll start thinking about the future.”

The Bond franchise has always been a bit fuzzy in terms of continuity — newer actors’ movies sometimes referred to events from a previous era, so it seemed like Sean Connery, Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were all playing the same person.

However, Craig’s first movie, Casino Royale, rebooted the franchise in 2006. So his movies are a self-contained series, and the death of his version of the character closes the loop on that narrative. Goodbye, Mr. Bond.

If Broccoli and fellow producer Michael G. Wilson are feeling truly daring, Bond’s nephew appeared in 1991 cartoon James Bond Jr. Perhaps it’s time to bring young Bond out of obscurity?



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