The upcoming James Bond tentpole “No Time to Die” is in good hands with “Beasts of No Nation” and “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga, but part of the 007 fandom will always wonder what Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond would’ve looked like with original director Danny Boyle. The “28 Days Later” and “Slumdog Millionaire” Oscar winner boarded Bond 25 with his “Trainspotting” writer John Hodge after successfully pitching an original idea to franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The producers liked Boyle’s plan enough to put on hold the script being developed by franchise veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who previously wrote all of Craig’s Bond adventures. What Boyle’s ideas were have never been confirmed, but they ended up being polarizing enough for him to leave the project over “creative differences.”
“What John [Hodge] and I were doing, I thought, was really good,” Boyle told Empire magazine in March 2019. “It wasn’t finished, but it could have been really good. We were working very, very well, but they didn’t want to go down that route with us. So we decided to part company, and it would be unfair to say what it was because I don’t know what Cary is going to do. I got a very nice message from him and I gave him my best wishes… It is just a great shame.”
In a new interview with Total Film, Bond production designer Mark Tildesley says he knows what Boyle was planning for Bond and calls it “extraordinary.” Tildesley agrees that Boyle’s ideas weren’t completely cohesive and that Bond producers made the right call bringing in a new filmmaker to send off Craig’s 007, but that doesn’t mean Boyle shouldn’t be out of the running for future Bond films.
“Unfortunately Danny’s crazy, madcap ideas didn’t quite tie up with what Barbara and Michael had planned,” Tildesley says. “It was definitely a good thing to do. Maybe another time though. I’m revving Barbara up to have another go with Danny. [He had] some extraordinary ideas, they just needed a little pulling together.”
Tildesley won’t reveal the specifics of Boyle’s plan, nor will Craig. All the actor would say on the topic during a recent interview with GQ was the following: “Danny had ideas, and the ideas didn’t work out, and that was just the way it was.” One widespread rumor that circulated on social media at the time of Boyle’s departure from the film was that he was planning to kill off Bond, something the producers would never want.
As for whether or not Boyle would return to make a Bond movie in the future, that idea seems like a slim chance. In the wake of his Bond exit, the filmmaker told Metro that all the behind-the-scenes dramas over 007 creative differences had turned him off from signing on to direct franchise films.
“I learned my lesson that I am not cut out [for franchises], otherwise you’re digging in the same hole,” Boyle said. “I am better not quite in the mainstream franchise movies, is the honest answer. I learned quite a lot about myself with Bond, I work in partnership with writers and I am not prepared to break it up.”
Fukunaga’s “No Time to Die” will open November 25 in U.S. theaters.