‘If 007 producers true to Ian Fleming, they’d undo James Bond’s death’

Jeffery Archer slams ‘woke’ editing of James Bond novels

James Bond’s death has been faked a number of times over the course of the 007 film franchise. There was the opening of Sean Connery’s You Only Twice with a false burial at sea and the beginning of Daniel Craig’s Skyfall saw the spy return to MI6 after “enjoying death”. But with the conclusion of the latest movie, it really looks like something pretty final. No Time To Die saw Bond unmistakably perish after being blown to smithereens in a missile strike on Safin’s island. Nevertheless, the blockbuster’s end credits concluded with the usual “James Bond Will Return”. But how exactly?

Producer Barbara Broccoli said in a previous interview she doesn’t know, but 007 will be back in some form. Some fans have wondered if the next Bond movie will be entirely a reboot or somehow a sequel to No Time To Die. Craig may have ruled himself out from more 007, but let’s not forget that Connery did the same twice, returning for Diamonds Are Forever after George Lazenby’s one-off stint in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Then, 12 years later, Connery was back again for unofficial Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again, the title commenting on the fact he’d previously said he’d “never” play Bond again.

Express.co.uk previously spoke with 007 expert Mark Edlitz, the author of The Many Lives of James Bond, and asked how he thought the producers might dig themselves out of No Time To Die’s controversial ending. He suggested there are a number of options, one of which was going back to the source material, which first debuted with Casino Royale 70 years ago this week.

Edlitz told us: “The producers have many different ways to go. They can turn to Ian Fleming’s books. In them, a seemingly dead 007 finds his way back to the land of the living. If the producers wanted to take a page out of Fleming’s novels, then we may see that 007 survived the attack.” The expert was referencing how the Bond author toyed with killing off his character at the end of From Russia, with Love, only for Dr No to open with him surviving a poisoning. Then in You Only Live Twice he was presumed dead but ultimately returned in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Interestingly, No Time To Die’s ending was partly inspired by the You Only Live Twice novel, with 007 blowing up a lair and being presumed dead only to have survived. Whatever the case, Edlitz is now starting to doubt they do bring Craig’s Bond back in some form, even if it may be one of many options.

Edlitz continued: “EON productions can return to the Bond that Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan played.Those five actors played Bond at different points in his career. Craig played an entirely different version of the character.

“Going forward, I suspect that we might see yet a third timeline. That new timeline will not be dependent on any of the events from the previous movies. However, many of the Bond tropes that we know, and love will be present. Fans need not worry. James Bond will return.” As for No Time To Die’s conclusion, the expert believes it does make sense for Craig’s incarnation of 007.

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Edlitz assessed: “The ending of No Time to Die was deliberately shocking and heartbreaking. However, it was also a fitting conclusion to Daniel Craig’s Bond story. At first, it appeared that Craig’s Bond movies were about a man who was learning to love his job and accept the weight of the terrible responsibilities that came with it.

“However, Craig’s Bond has a different arc and emotional journey. Craig’s Bond was learning to embrace his humanity and finding a deep connection with someone else.”

The Many Lives of James Bond: How the Creators of 007 Have Decoded the Superspy by Mark Edlitz is out now.

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