One of the first major films to be postponed due to the pandemic was No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007. Originally slated for an April 2020 release, the film was first postponed until November 2020 and then delayed again until April 2021. While some theaters remain closed around the world, MGM is sticking with its latest release dates: a world premiere at Royal Albert Hall in London on September 28, 2021, followed by a general release on September 30 in the UK and October 8 in the US. And the studio has released one last trailer to remind audiences that yes, this premiere is finally happening.
(Spoilers for the 2015 film Spectre below.)
As we’ve reported previously, this 25th installment in the franchise is co-produced by MGM and Eon Productions, with United Artists and Universal serving as distributors in North America and internationally, respectively. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beast of No Nation), the film takes place about five years after the capture of Spectre‘s archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), a criminal mastermind and head of the organization SPECTRE. (Ian Fleming’s original character inspired Dr. Evil and his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, in the Austin Powers film series.)
Spectre sees Bond being suspended from MI6 after carrying out an unauthorized mission to stop a terrorist bombing in Mexico City—based on a posthumous message from Judi Dench’s late, lamented M. The new M (Ralph Fiennes) finds his agency in competition with a rival, privately backed intelligence service led by C (Andrew Scott).
Things get complicated, as they always do, leading to a showdown between Bond and Blofeld, who is behind an attempt to infiltrate a planned global intelligence surveillance system so that SPECTRE can access information about any investigations into its criminal activities. (In an unusual twist, Blofeld turns out to be Bond’s foster-brother.) The film ends with Blofeld captured and Bond driving off into the sunset with his romantic interest, psychiatrist Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux).
Danny Boyle (Sunshine) was originally supposed to direct No Time to Die, but he left early in production due to the usual “creative differences.” He was replaced by Cary Joji Fukunaga, best known for directing the war drama Beasts of No Nation (2015) and the critically acclaimed first season of True Detective. The film is expected to wrap up several loose narrative threads from the prior Bond films starring Craig, including the loss of Vesper (Eve Green), his love interest from Casino Royale. Per the official synopsis:
In No Time to Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Seydoux reprises her role as Madeleine Swann, and Waltz returns as Blofeld, currently imprisoned but obviously still plotting against Bond and the world in general. Other returning cast members include Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Rory Kinnear as M’s chief of staff Bill Tanner, and Ralph Fiennes as M. New characters include Rami Malek as the archvillain Safin, described by the director as a “hyper intelligent and worthy adversary” for Bond; Lashana Lynch as Nomi, a new “00” agent who joined MI6 following Bond’s assumed retirement; Ana de Armas as Paloma, a CIA agent assigned to help Bond; and David Dencik as Valdo Obruchev, a scientist who has disappeared, prompting Bond’s return to the field to investigate.
There’s an almost elegiac quality to the opening of this final trailer, as we flash back to the beginning of Casino Royale, when Bond becomes, well, Bond, earning his 007 status after taking out a bad guy in a bathroom. Bond acknowledges that “00s” have a very short life expectancy as we see a few quick shots of past missions. There’s also a shot of that devastating moment when Bond finds Vesper’s drowned body—the defining heartbreak of his life (so far). “Every mission, every sacrifice has led to this,” the text announces, culminating in our first glimpse of Safin in his trademark Noh-inspired mask.
While No Time to Die opens five years after Spectre, with Bond and Swann enjoying domestic bliss, no Bond gets to live happily ever after. As the trailer makes clear, Swann has her own secrets, and Blofeld and Safin know all about her. (“When her secret finds its way out, it will be the death of him,” Blofeld gloats from his cell.) As for the villainous plot threatening the world, “We used to be able to get into a room with the enemy,” Fiennes’ M says, lamenting the fact that evildoers are now largely operating “in the ether.” That ephemeral aspect seems to play a role in Blofeld/Safin’s nefarious scheme. “Target enough people…” Q says. “And the people become the weapon,” Bond concludes.
And of course, we’ve got all the exotic locations, beautiful women, and trademark Aston Martins one could ask for in a Bond film. The latter include the classic DB5, now avec miniguns, as well as a DBS and what may have been a 1980s-era Vantage in the first trailer released last December. The film also reportedly features one of Aston Martin’s brand-new midengined hybrid hypercars, the Valhalla, developed in conjunction with legendary F1 aerodynamicist Adrian Newey, as Ars’ Jonathan Gitlin reported last year.
No Time To Die opens exclusively in theaters on September 30, 2021, in the UK, and on October 8, 2021, in the US.
Listing image by MGM