James Bond was the one hero who couldn’t die. In 24 official Bond films, the charismatic English superspy remained alive, despite enduring torture that most mortals wouldn’t survive. When No Time to Die came along, we expected a similar result – the title clearly states that it wasn’t the time to die. 

However, the film was somewhat different. Before Bond executed Rami Malek’s Safin, the villain infected Bond with nanobots programmed to kill his partner Madeleine and their daughter Mathilde – they would die as soon as he touched them.

Badly injured and knowing that his survival meant the deaths of his loved ones, Bond waited for the missiles homing in on the island to arrive. As he spoke to Madeleine for the last time, the HMS Dragon’s rockets shredded him and the island to smithereens. 

Daniel Craig planned Bond’s death after completing his first Bond film

Make no mistake: James Bond is dead. He has pulled off miraculous escapes before, but this time, he is well and truly dead. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga told Empire:

“We wanted to show that he wasn’t going to jump down a sewer at the last second. So that wider shot of the island being pummeled was a mixture of macro and micro. The full effect is, ‘Yes, he’s gone, but he succeeded in making sure none of that weapons would go into the future.’”

Daniel Craig told Vulture that he discussed Bond’s death with producer Barbara Broccoli after completing his first Bond film. Craig asked Barbara whether he could kill off Bond in his last film, and she said yes. Daniel said:

“It’s the only way I could see for myself to end it all and to make it like that was my tenure, someone else could come and take over. She stuck to her guns.”

Producer Michael G. Wilson said that finally killing Bond made sense because death would surely catch up to a person risking their lives all the time. The filmmakers found validation in Ian Fleming’s attempts to kill the Secret Service agent. Wilson said:

“Eventually, the odds catch up with you. I think Fleming saw it and I guess ultimately we came to that realization, too. It’s also emotionally very important to understand the risks that people like Bond engage in.”

James Bond will return, but we aren’t quite sure how 

Bond’s death doesn’t end the world’s longest-running film series. Mega-franchises rarely kill their characters, finding ways to extend their on-screen lives as long as possible. 

“If you stay to the end credits, it definitely says, ‘James Bond will return,’” Craig added. “So all is good.”

James Bond will return to our screens in some way, though we aren’t sure how – and who will play the titular character. However, we are certain that Bond will save the day, even if it costs him his life. “Bond does save the day,” Wilson said. “He does do that.”

As the MI6 comes to terms with Bond’s death, M reads a quote from author Jack London that summarizes Bond to a tee:

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”