By: Skyler Johnson
Daniel Craig, the most recent Bond, is by far one of the most successful and most beloved. Compared to the other iterations of the iconic character, his films have ranked highly amongst others in the franchise. Starting with his performance in Casino Royale, a soft reboot of the Bond films, in 2006, he retained his position as the 21st century Bond through the most recent film No Time to Die in 2021.
His departure was a major upset to fans, who were large supporters of the actor since Casino Royale (2006), which was heavily praised partially due to Craig’s performance. While his casting was initially controversial and even ridiculed, Craig was known for his different take on Bond, adding depth and emotionality to the character. This was cemented in the original movie of his time in the role, which included the now iconic storyline of Vesper Lynd, who was continually referenced throughout the series.
From then, Daniel Craig’s Bond went through several changes, including Skyfall, which was a massive success, skyrocketing the career of director Sam Mendes and bringing Craig back into the spotlight. Skyfall is considered by many to be one of the best Bond pictures of all time and is widely beloved by fans. In all, Craig acted in 5 Bond films across 15 years, cementing James Bond as a 21st century figure.
However, Craig wanted a change. He did not want to permanently be Bond, and the character was starting to become his entire identity. A plight common for other actors who have taken on the role such as Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore, Craig sought to expand his identity. While hosting SNL in 2020, portrayed the character several times, including in the opening monologue though he does have a talent to portray comedic roles, as shown with 2019’s Knives Out.
Critically acclaimed Knives Out became a breakthrough role for Craig. Already a fixture in the public eye, Knives Out allowed Craig to show a completely different side to himself as an actor as the comedic Southern detective Benoit Blanc. The film received an Oscar nomination, three Golden Globes nominations, with adulation for Craig’s campy portrayal of a private eye.
With his creative talents turned in other directions, No Time to Die became the last Bond feature he worked on. Thankfully, it was a great way to finish. Directed by Cary Joji Fukanaga (True Detective season 1), this movie was highly enjoyed by fans for the excellent fight sequences, writing, and of course performances. Craig, as always, was incredible, both heart-wrenching and hilarious, and able to keep the audience’s attention throughout the entire 2 hours and 44-minute screen time.
The ending (no spoilers) served both as a deserving resolution for the character and a display of the talents of Daniel Craig. It was beautiful, emotional, and justified for one of the most revered Bonds. It served as an excellent ending to the modern era of Bond films. Only time will tell where Bond will go next.
Where Craig will go next, is a little more solidified than the iconic spy’s future. After 2019’s Knives Out, it’s clear the actor still has a lot to give to the world, possibly with more comedic roles like with Benoit Blanc. With Netflix paying $450 million for two sequels in the franchise, Craig may be at the center of a new film dynasty. Filming for Knives Out 2 wrapped in fall 2021 and much like the original film features a star-studded cast with the likes of Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, and more.
While Craig’s tenure as Bond is over, his performances cemented him in the history of the famed franchise, ensuring his legacy as a beloved version of the spy. Who knows what his next performances will offer? One thing is certain: his fans and the world will be watching.