Has a huge James Bond twist in No Time to Die been leaked?
Fans are speculating that a leak from filming hints at 007 heading into uncharted territory. **CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS**
The speculation surrounding the plot of the next James Bond film No Time to Die has only intensified following the film's release being postponed by seven months, from 2nd April to 12 November. How will Daniel Craig's Bond bow out in what is the actor's final outing as 007? Is Rami Malek's villain Safin secretly a reimagined version of classic foe Dr. No? Will James Bond die?
Now, a new fan theory is doing the rounds and it might be the most shocking yet... is eternal bachelor Bond going to settle down into family life and become a doting dad?
Bond fans will recall that the previous film in the series, 2015's Spectre, ended with 007 apparently hanging up his Walther PPK and embarking on a new life away from MI6 with Dr. Madeleine Swann, played by Léa Seydoux.
Though confirmed story details for No Time to Die are scarce, a selection of call sheets apparently used on the film were recently put up for sale on eBay and, if they are legitimate, they reveal a number of significant details about the film, with Bond aficionados over at MI6-HQ.com using these new tidbits to come up with an interesting new theory, one that also draws on other confirmed plot points, rumours and assumptions made based on snapshots captured by the press.
A scene shot in Matera, Italy in September 2019 appears to show a loved-up Bond and Madeleine enjoying a happy life together – an existence that we know from the No Time to Die trailer is soon interrupted, as Bond comes to suspect (for reasons unknown) that his partner has turned on him. "Why would I betray you?" she asks. "We all have our secrets," a surly Bond replies.
No Time to Die director Cary Fukunaga has also confirmed that the film takes place five years after the events of Spectre, with Bond having left active service. We know, both from the trailer and the movie's official synopsis, that he takes up retirement in Jamaica, where he is approached by his old ally, CIA officer Felix Leiter, to undertake a rescue mission and save a kidnapped scientist.
All of which leads us back to the plot details apparently leaked by those call sheets: they reveal details of scene #235 of No Time to Die, a sequence that we can assume from that numbering takes place towards the end of the film. Again shot in Italy, near Maratea Port, this scene is said to have featured Madeleine, Nomi - a 00 agent played by Captain Marvel's Lashana Lynch – and one other character...
The third person in the scene is a 5-year-old girl, Mathilde, with the scene description for scene #235 reading as follows: "Nomi pilots Madeleine and Mathilde to safety with island in the background."
The fact that Mathilde's age corresponds exactly with the five-year gap between Spectre and No Time to Die has led fans to suspect that she might be Bond and Madeleine's daughter, with Dr. Swan falling pregnant during the couple's honeymoon period.
If we assume that scenes of a smitten Bond and Madeleine take place earlier in the timeline with the movie then jumping ahead half a decade – with Bond drowning his sorrows in Jamaica following their messy break-up – then it's possible he didn't know Madeleine was pregnant, or indeed that neither of them knew, when they parted ways.
James Bond becoming a father might sound like a surprising route for the spy franchise to take, but this being Daniel Craig's swansong, it's not impossible that his era could end with him embracing family life and rebuilding the Bond dynasty – there'd be a certain poetry to this turn of events given that the climax to 2012's Skyfall literally saw him tear his childhood home to the ground. Alternatively, maybe the death rumours are true and 007 will tragically perish having saved the daughter he never knew.
The idea of introducing Bond's offspring isn't without precedent either – from 2006's Casino Royale onwards, Craig's Bond films have sought to return to the film series to its literary roots and, as MI6-HQ.com points out, Ian Fleming's 1964 book You Only Live Twice (which has little in common with its Roald Dahl-scripted big screen adaptation) might offer a clue here...
The novel sees Bond sustain a head injury which leaves him amnesiac. Living for a brief period as a fisherman in Japan, his lover Kissy Suzuki falls pregnant, though Bond leaves her to chase a clue to his true identity before learning about his unborn child. (A short story published in 1996 and written by Raymond Benson, one of the authors who wrote Bond novels after Fleming's death, establishes that Kissy had a son, whom she named after his father.)
Could the writing team behind No Time to Die – the story for which was conceived by director Fukunaga alongside regular Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade – be looking to explore this element of Bond's literary life which has never before been depicted on-screen? It's not a bad theory – though some fans are also speculating that Mathilde could actually be a double of a younger version of Madeleine, with press reports suggesting villain Safin is obsessed with genetic cloning.
A clone of Bond's beloved, or 007's daughter? Still a little over five months to go till we learn the truth...