Five other men have canonically played the role, but with the oft-delayed release of “No Time to Die,” Daniel Craig becomes the first James Bond to receive a true ending. Sean Connery quit the part, twice, but none of his “last chapters” were conceived as such. Roger Moore didn’t know going into “A View to a Kill” that it would be his swan song. Timothy Dalton never got a third outing after “License to Kill” and one must assume if Pierce Brosnan knew the middling “Die Another Day” would be his last stab, he might have spoken up a bit more in the preproduction stage. George Lazenby’s lone entry in the franchise, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” feels strangely complete, even given its cliffhanger ending. But Craig now stands alone as the only Bond with a completed five-film arc that tells one continuous, albeit messy, story.
Since Craig’s first appearance as Bond in “Casino Royale” owed so much to Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins”, and his series’ height “Skyfall” so much to “The Dark Knight,” it’s no surprise that “No Time to Die” in many ways echoes the end of that trilogy. This is one of those rare instances when a filmmaker, in this case director Cary Joji Fukunaga, is allowed to take a treasured piece of IP and bring the never-ending second act of their lives to a close.