James Bond movie titles have ranged from the not quite good to the objectively terrible. However, sometimes they reveal a little something about the movie: Goldfinger, Dr. No and Spectre were references to the villains, and Casino Royale was a location. But what about the newly announced title for the 25th Bond film, No Time to Die? (Not to be confused with Live and Let Die, Tomorrow Never Dies , or Die Another Day.)
Believed to be Daniel Craig's final performance as 007, No Time to Die finds Bond no longer in active service, and spending his days in Jamaica -- until CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) turns up to request his help in rescuing a kidnapped scientist. It's a simple enough mission, that puts them on the trail of another shadowy villain (presumably Rami Malek) who has developed a dangerous new technology. That much is known. However, there are also reports that Captain Marvel co-star Lashanna Lynch will be introduced as a new 007, who might have to carry the notoriously macho franchise kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
The Literal or Metaphorical Death of Bond?
From a comedic point of view, dying right after beginning retirement is terrible timing, which could be what No Time to Die refers to. Or it might be a plea, arguing to audiences that it isn't yet the time to kill off James Bond. Or it might be Lynch’s new 007, stating that her new role doesn’t allow her the luxury of dying, because she has too much work to do.
It is also possible that when a 00 agent retires, MI6 fakes his or her funeral. In this case, the phrase could be uttered by Felix Leiter when he comes to ask Bond to return to duty; that this this isn't the time for him to “die.” His services are still needed.
But What About the Meta-Level?
No Time to Die might also be aimed at Craig himself. While filming an action sequence in May, the actor injured his ankle and had to undergo minor surgery. Additionally a crew member suffered minor injuries during the filming a controlled explosion at Pinewood Studios, an accident that also damaged the facility. If there’s ever a wrong time for an actor or a filmmaker to die, it’s while the movie is still being made, which would tie in neatly with the title.
Scott Mendelsohn of Forbes argued the title refers to the Bond franchise still being viable in a post-Marvel Cinematic Universe world, which has been irrevocably changed by mergers, streaming services and real-life Bond villains. Who can the bad guys of an action franchise be if the job is already taken in the real world? Not that this has ever stopped Bond's writers from aiming shots at corporate overlords, Tomorrow Never Dies being one of the best examples of biting the hand that feeds (and maybe poisons) you.
Following that train of thought, the title might not be referring to Bond being too busy to retire permanently, but about the era not being the perfect time for the franchise to die -- at least not while it seems as if the bad guys are winning.
Directed and co-written by Cary Fukunaga, No Time to Die stars Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, and Rami Malek. It is scheduled for a USA release on April 8, 2020.