Danny Boyle reveals what his James Bond movie would have been like

No Time to Die Daniel Craig James Bond
(Image credit: MGM)

We’ll never know how Danny Boyle’s James Bond movie would have turned out, but the director recently revealed some of the details of what his version would have been about. More than six months after the release of No Time to Die and the official end of Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond, the director spoke with Esquire UK to promote his new limited series Pistols and unsurprisingly Bond came up.

In the article, it is mentioned that one of the reasons that Boyle stepped away from directing the 25th Bond movie was that he wanted James Bond to die. SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, but No Time to Die does end with the death of Craig’s Bond. Rather than that particular plot point, Boyle says the creative differences emerged elsewhere.

"I remember thinking, 'Should I really get involved in franchises?' Because they don’t really want something different," Boyle told Esquire. "They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really change it and we wanted to do something different with it."

That something different apparently was setting the entire story in Russia and exploring the character’s beginnings.

"Weirdly — it would have been very topical now — it was all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War. It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins and they just lost, what’s the word… they just lost confidence in it," Boyle said, referring to the producers. "It’s a shame really."

A specific plot point that Boyle said they did keep from their initial script was James Bond having a child, though he says that No Time to Die did it in a different way. He does not confirm if Bond would have died in his version, though said he was in favor of that decision in No Time to Die.

No Time to Die was well received, scoring an 83% "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes; you can read What to Watch's review of the movie here. Find out how to watch No Time to Die right here.

Boyle added he didn’t think that he would find himself back to the spy franchise in the future movie, though he did give his thoughts on who he thinks could be interesting choices to be the next James Bond. "Robert Pattinson would be a great Bond," Boyle said, while also talking "excitedly," per Esquire, about what Paapa Essideu (I May Destroy You) could do in the role.

Pistols, Boyle’s next project, comes out on May 31 on Hulu in the US and Disney Plus in the UK.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.