‘Bond 25’: ‘No Time to Die’ Is Making Some Shocking Updates to the Series

Very few movie franchises are as defined by tradition as James Bond. Then again, not many film series are still going strong nearly 60 years after they started. Nonetheless, 007 fans clinging to the past might be less than thrilled with Bond 25.

The film — now officially titled No Time to Die — will be Daniel Craig’s final appearance as James Bond. Yet, while it marks the end of the current Bond era, the film’s production also looks forward to how the series might finally evolve.

Daniel Craig at the 'Spectre' premiere
Daniel Craig at the ‘Spectre’ premiere | Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

What do we know about ‘No Time to Die’?

To anyone following No Time to Die, the writing’s on the wall as far as the progress happening behind the scenes. First, the film brought on recent Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar winner Rami Malek as the central villain. Environmentalism will be fundamental to his character’s threat, though he will — at Malek’s insistence — not be motivated by any religious ideology.

Then Bond 25 made headlines by casting Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch as the first female 007. This turned out to be a great indication of the series’ focus on rehabilitating its portrayal of women. Craig himself has personally advocated for the addition of Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to the writing team.

So, with these pieces in place, No Time to Die is poised to shake up the decades-old status quo of the Bond series. How else might the film better reflect the more progressive world of today?

Updating James Bond for today

According to a new report in The Daily Mail, the changes are intensive. The result is a “woke” James Bond film that aims to directly address many of the more dated elements of the series.

The most obvious example of this stems from gender equality. In No Time to Die, Bond ties the knot with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). But, in a playful moment, his new wife chooses not to take her husband’s last name. Moreover, Bond tries his hand at seduction later on, though his techniques “fail miserably.” Reportedly, Bond 25 even banned the term “Bond girl” from use on set, implicitly giving its ladies more agency.

Despite its efforts to more fairly serve its female cast members, No Time to Die is still expected to feature plenty of the sexual innuendo fans expect. At one point, Bond struggles to take off in a seaplane, as a passenger pleads for him to “get it up.” Well, you can imagine the quip Bond has in store for viewers there.

Moreover, the environmentalism central to Malek’s character played an integral role behind the scenes. In No Time to Die, Bond will be driving an Aston Martin Rapide E, the electric equivalent of his beloved ride from previous films. Accordingly, everyone on the production was given reusable water bottles, and literal tons of on-set waste was recycled.

Will ‘Bond 25’ reinvigorate the series?

By the sounds of things, director Cary Fukunaga and the creative team behind No Time to Die have the right idea. No franchise should get a free pass when it comes to representation. Moreover, these reports indicate the production is being careful not to sacrifice the series’ signature humor but to sharpen it. Perhaps then Bond 25 can grow without alienating much of its core audience.

If James Bond wants to continue to endure in this more socially conscious age, it has to evolve sometime. Honestly, it’s impressive how the franchise has been able to survive this long without reckoning with its more problematic aspects. Bond may not be ready to expand into the realm of spinoffs, but maybe — just maybe — No Time to Die will be turning point for the series to change for the better.

No Time to Die — aka Bond 25 — hits theaters on April 8, 2020.