A lot can change in 15 years, even when that span of time sees something like the James Bond franchise embracing episodic continuity. Daniel Craig’s era of 007 saw major changes made to the structure of what went into a Bond movie, with No Time To Die serving as the capstone to that chapter’s legacy. And yet, way back when Craig was first cast in the role, part of the fandom’s vitriol was centered around something that never made sense to producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson: the fact that Daniel Craig was blonde.
Walking down memory lane with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson during their press rounds for Daniel Craig’s fifth and final James Bond movie, those early days still caught us all by surprise. Back in 2005, when Craig was more of an unknown quantity to audiences at large, his casting as the sixth official James Bond had sparked a ton of internet backlash. Even before a frame of footage was shot, the public seemed to have made up its mind on how they felt about Casino Royale’s freshly announced lead. That in turn saw Wilson and Broccoli having the following reactions:
It’s a scenario that shows what could be considered one of the few downsides to the James Bond franchise running for almost 60 years. The fans who were internet savvy enough to start websites like “Daniel Craig is not Bond” were probably running with either Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan as their touchstone for all things Bond. So the debonair, wise-cracking era of Roger Moore’s blonde Bond was something they were probably not familiar with yet. But make no mistake, the third 007 was, in fact, lighter haired than his successors, as you can see below:
Though the world may not have seen it just yet, the heads of Bond production company EON Productions knew they had a leading man on their hands. All it took was for Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson to shape him up and give him the chance of a lifetime. By time Casino Royale was released on November 17, 2006, moviegoers at large changed their tune. The door was open for Daniel Craig’s 007 to make James Bond history, which would happen in more ways than one.
Almost instantly, Craig’s effect on the franchise was felt in the fact that Casino Royale became, at the time, the highest-grossing James Bond movie ever. Six years later, Daniel Craig would set that bar even higher with Skyfall, giving Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson the first Bond entry to break $1 billion. The reversal of fortune is definitely not lost on James Bond’s producers, as they feel that the Craig era achieved the following milestones:
Sometimes, the world appreciates a concept like Daniel Craig’s James Bond run only after it happened. Even with consistent digs at entries like Quantum of Solace or Spectre, there’s no doubt that the Craig era continued to modernize 007 for today’s audiences. No Time To Die served as the definitive entry to do so, thanks to the help of co-writer Phoebe Waller Bridge, as well as performers like Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas. Whatever happens next will be a reaction to these events, and how they affected the public perception of the James Bond saga. It’s just further proof that Daniel Craig, like Roger Moore and the rest of his 007 predecessors, did indeed leave an indelible mark on cinematic, and Bondian history.
We’re still very much living in the era of Daniel Craig’s James Bond thanks to No Time To Die still being in theaters. Though if you’re in a part of the world that hasn’t seen the 25th Bond film released yet, your day is coming soon enough. So check your local listings carefully, and don’t forget to check in with the rest of 2021’s movie release schedule, as things don’t look like they’re slowing down any time soon.
CinemaBlend’s James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.