To Live or Let Die?

John Munter, Student Contributor

With the release of No Time to Die, the 25 mainline James Bond has finally been released. I am looking forward to seeing it in theaters soon. I have heard it’s good. A proper to send off to Daniel Craig, who by this point has solidified himself as either best or second-best actor to play the character along with Sean Connery. I have been thinking about what the future of the franchise and more importantly who the character is in 2021. It has been almost sixty years since Dr. No came out and six actors have portrayed 007.

When I was nine years old, my dad and I watched each of the James Bond movies over the course of two months. We began with the Connery films and moved through them in chronological order. I particularly enjoyed the Roger Moore movies, perhaps in part because they were the most cartoony and humorous of the films. Timothy Dalton’s two films have a much more serious, modern tone to them, and Pierce Brosnan has charisma in spades throughout his four films. But Craig is the actor who has truly elevated Bond to be more than a character. He is portrayed from Casino Royale up to the latest film as a man, one who is shaped by the actions and events from each preceding films. Many James Bond movies play out like this: a new villain is planning some evil plan or has killed someone Bond knows, Bond is called into stop them, he investigates, uses a cool gadget or two, defeats said villain and walks off in the end with whoever the film’s Bond “girl” is.

These movies have almost no continuity between them, and this is where the modern films are able to succeed. Bond has emotions and struggles to deal with the traumas in his life, just like the rest of us. Craig portrays a human character; as cool and suave as Connery is, one never questions if he truly is affected by any event in his films. I wonder who will play James Bond in the future or what the character even looks like. M tells Bond that he is “relic of the Cold War” and that is truer than ever today. A character created from Ian Fleming’s experience with British commandoes in WWII, what does James Bond have to offer us today? Is he a simply a callback to a more “simpler time” when men were portrayed as being the ones who saved the world, while winning over a different beautiful woman every mission? Should a person of color play what has been an exclusively white character? Could a woman play James Bond? Daniel Craig said himself he would not want a female Bond because there should be roles created for women that are just as good as James Bond. I am open to changes to the character, but I also wonder if he is simply a man out of time. I will go the theaters soon to see No Time to Die and I will probably enjoy it a lot, but I wonder if I’m closing a chapter of my own childhood with the conclusion of Craig’s arc as James Bond. There may be no time to die for 007 but is there any more time to live? Only time will tell.