Before the release of No Time to Die, director and co-writer Cary Joji Fukunaga claimed that the new film will take “a lot of inspiration” from vintage James Bond films. We already knew that Daniel Craig’s final 007 mission would be intimately related to the four previous films in his tenure, so we expected lots of allusions to those films, and the inclusion of historical Bond nods makes it a rich experience for long-time fans.
With No Time to Die currently in theatres, we dug deep into the film to find the greatest Easter eggs and Bond allusions from Craig’s period and earlier, as well as a particularly deep cut back to Ian Fleming’s original books.
Of course, No Time to Die has the typical Bond clichés of “Bond, James Bond” and a Martini served in a certain way, but you won’t find those on our list because even the most casual Bond fan is aware of them.
While Safin is not revealed to be a new Dr No, the effect of the first Bond film may be felt in No Time to Die. The title sequence begins with the same distinctive coloured circle design as Dr. No’s opening title sequence before evolving into something larger and more beautiful, replete with weaponry creating a double helix (a nod to the DNA virus in the movie). When we visit Safin’s villain lair later in the film, you could get a sense of déjà vu because it’s on a remote island, similar to Dr No’s in the first film.
Of course, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) would have a role in No Time to Die, since she has plagued Craig’s Bond since her death in Casino Royale. Fortunately, the new film does not do something stupid like disclose she is alive, but in the pre-title scene, Bond is persuaded by Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) to visit Vesper’s tomb while in Matera, Italy.
He writes “Forgive me” on a letter and burns it at her grave (a local custom, according to Swann) as the last gesture that he’s ready to move on. Unfortunately, Bond’s tranquillity is short-lived, as a device set by SPECTRE on the instructions of Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) explodes, resulting in a frantic automobile chase.
This is another reference to a famous Bond film, since For Your Eyes Only begins with 007 visiting the grave of a previous loved one, his wife Tracy, and Blofeld attacking him shortly after. Well, it was Blofeld in appearance only since they couldn’t identify him in the film owing to a legal problem.
No Time to Die is not only thematically linked to Bond history, but it also features not one, but two iconic vehicles. One will be apparent since we saw Bond drive the legendary Aston Martin DB5 at the conclusion of Spectre after Q (Ben Whishaw) had restored it to its former splendor following its destruction in Skyfall.
It’s the same automobile that Bond drives at the opening of the film, and it receives a lot of damage. That’s a bad vehicle. When Bond returns to London, he drives in the identical Aston Martin V8 Vantage with the same B549 WUU number plate as in The Living Daylights, Timothy Dalton’s Bond debut. As with any link to earlier Bond films, it raises the issue of whether we’re witnessing the same Bond across the decades, but try not to worry about it too much and simply enjoy the vehicles.
Dame Judi Dench may have attended the global premiere of No Time to Die, but that was no indication that she would make a surprise appearance in the film, as she did at the opening of Spectre.
Her M, on the other hand, has not been forgotten in MI6, as evidenced by a portrait of her in the corridor. There’s also a portrait of the late Bernard Lee, who portrayed M in 11 films ranging from Dr No to Moonraker, and Robert Brown, who played M in four films ranging from Octopussy to The Living Daylights.
Bond hasn’t forgotten Dench’s M, as we can see when he goes to pick up his Aston Martin V8 Vantage that he’s retained the bulldog figurine that she gave Bond in her will. Sure, he didn’t take it with him when he retired, but the concept is all that matters.
We had highlighted Safin’s big villain lair, which bears a subtle nod to Ian Fleming’s early Bond books. In memory of his father (who was assassinated by SPECTRE), Safin has planted a “poison garden” (Swann’s words, not his) that sounds very similar to the “Garden of Death” featured in Ian Fleming’s 1964 Bond book, You Only Live Twice.
Dr Guntram Shatterhand (who was actually Blofeld) ran the garden, which was full with dangers other than plants. The working title for No Time to Die was originally Shatterhand, a reference to this narrative aspect.