The world found out in 2019 that Daniel Craig was planning to hang up his MI6 badge and James Bond tux after delivering No Time to Die (a movie that has been delayed, often, but is due in theaters in November). It was a shock to most, but not to longtime 007 producer Barbara Broccoli. Naturally, Broccoli needs to be up to speed on any potential development on the franchise that she has helped shepherd since Pierce Brosnan stepped into the part in 1995’s GoldenEye. And it turns out that the concept of finding Craig’s replacement has been on her mind for a while now… like, years.

With the No Time to Die creative team starting to make the press rounds ahead of the release of the film, Games Radar confirmed that Craig planned to leave the franchise after Spectre. The gruelling shoot, and the knee injury he sustained on the production, convinced him that he physically was unable to continue in the part. And as the feature continued, current James Bond director Cary Fukunaga mentioned that his conversations with Barbara Broccoli extended back to two years before he ever landed the gig, with talks of replacements happening way back then. The director told the outlet:

Two years ago I took Barbara to my favorite Japanese restaurant in New York. I tried to wine and dine her. At that point Daniel said he wasn’t doing another one, so we spit-balled all the potential new Bonds – that was exciting. I just told her what I loved about Bond and what it meant to me growing up. And just that I’d be honored if they’d consider me for the next one.

Sadly, they didn’t, The James Bond producers originally chose Trainspotting and 127 Hours director Danny Boyle to tackle the next film in the saga. Only, creative differences cropped up, and Boyle left the project. The way that Cary Fukunaga explains it, this collaboration almost was meant to be, as he says:

I was on vacation at the time, and everyone I was with at breakfast (was) joking: ‘Come on Cary, do Bond, so I can be the next Bond girl!’ I said, ‘Maybe I will email Barbara...’ That led to an invitation to meet with her and Michael, and a conversation with Daniel. And that was it, we were off to the races.

It’s interesting to think about how long the James Bond franchise has been considering Daniel Craig’s replacement. Spectre was released in 2015, and Craig made it sound like by the time he watched those end credits, he was prepared to walk. We’d love to hear the conversations that the brains behind the franchise have been having during this time, because while Craig’s return for No Time to Die postponed the decision, sooner or later, a new 007 will have to be revealed, and there has been a lot of speculation about where the series should go. A female agent? A person of color? Another Brit, or a revolutionary choice?

No Time to Die will be in theaters on October 8, 2021, so be sure to check it out to learn how the Craig Era of Bond movies comes to a close.

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