The latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” has once again been delayed. It was announced Friday that the new release date is April 2, 2021, which is basically one year from its original release date. It was first bumped back to American Thanksgiving when the pandemic intensified this spring.
However, the pandemic is really just the latest in a series of delays and issues to befall the 25th official installment of the James Bond franchise. First it was the usual studio-level production and distribution issues that have long plagued the franchise, which has been contractually tied to MGM for decades despite that studio barely being a thing for decades. Then it was creative issues. The original script produced by long-time scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade was shelved in favor of one created by acclaimed director Danny Boyle, but when creative differences led him to quit, the original script was back but with input by new director Cary Joji Fukunaga and award-winning writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (among others). Basically, it was a mess, even for the standards of a film series stretching back nearly six decades that was no stranger to messes (see Lazenby, George).
Later, there would be production issues including an injury to Daniel Craig and the availability of co-star Remi Malik. The cumulative result was a film delayed before the pandemic even struck.
If this really is the last delay for the film, the gap between “Spectre” and “No Time to Die” will be the second-longest in franchise history, though just barely. There was a six-year, five-month gap between “Licence to Kill” in 1989 and “GoldenEye” in 1995 due to MGM-related issues. That gap corresponded with a “changing of the guard,” so to speak as virtually the entirely cast was swapped out, including Pierce Brosnan for Timothy Dalton, and more creative control was turned over to Barbara Broccoli from her father Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli. She and step-brother Michael G. Wilson continue to produce the films to this day as a sort of close-knit family business.