“I remember thinking, ‘Should I really get involved in franchises?’” Boyle said, acknowledging the problem with the blockbuster franchise model. “They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it, and we wanted to do something different with it.”
According to Boyle, his version of Bond 25, which he developed with longtime writing partner John Hodge, included elements that eventually made it into No Time To Die, directed by Cary Fukunaga. The introduction of Bond’s child, for example, was originally an idea developed by Boyle and Hodge, per the director, although No Time to Die “used it in a different way.” According to Esquire, it was also their idea to kill off Bond at the end of the film.
However, Boyle and Hodge’s story would have also brought the character back to his Cold War roots, a first for the Daniel Craig series of films, which rebooted with 2006’s Casino Royale. “It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins,” Boyle says of his planned story. But despite his grand plans, Boyle failed to impress the Broccolis. “[T]hey just lost, what’s the word … they just lost confidence in it.”
Although Boyle’s time working on the Bond franchise didn’t have a happy ending, he still praised No Time to Die during his chat with Esquire. He also offered some suggestions for the next actor to become 007, including I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu and the Batman himself, Robert Pattinson.
Cordial though it may be, Boyle’s exit does not bode well for those who want a little more flavor from their franchises. Although Mendes and Fukunaga have more flair than most working at that level, the Bond series has made it to 25 entries in part because of the work of yeomen like Martin Campbell, John Glen, and Guy Hamilton. That said, the current king of the franchise wars, Marvel, has found some success by letting more distinctive directors such as Sam Raimi and Taika Waititi handle its big-name characters.