James Bond Will Return, as a title card at the end of each of the 25 EON Productions Bond films released since the Kennedy Administration has promised. Daniel Craig will not.
The new—well, newish—No Time to Die is an extended (163 minute!) victory lap for Craig's five-film tenure as 007. That's two fewer than the seven each that Sean Connery and Roger Moore got (though Connery's 7th was in an "unofficial" entry. Long story.). But because of Craig's public reticence followed by production stalls followed by a series of pandemic-necessitated release delays, his 15-year stretch in the role is the longest any actor has held it uninterrupted. But what's more notable is that it marks the first time in this character's six-decade screen history that an actor has been given the chance to show us the beginning, middle, and end of 007's career in Her Majesty's Secret Service.
The Craig-model Bond we met in the 2006 reboot Casino Royale was a revelation. Like the Bond of Ian Fleming's novels—and unlike the Bond of the initial four decades of movies derived from them—this professional killer was as fallible as he was arrogant; unlucky in love, frequently injured, conscious of the likelihood he would be killed on the job, given to morbid reflection. "I don't stop to think about it," he said in 2015's Spectre. Coming from this Bond, you knew that was a lie.
Bond at the beginning and the end—never in his prime
What's fascinating about Craig's five films considered in total is that save for the pre-title sequence of 2012's Skyfall, none of them have shown us a Bond in his prime. For the first 20 movies, whether he was being played by a svelte 29-year-old George Lazenby, a paunchy 41-year-old Sean Connery (as he was when he was lured back to the part he'd very loudly quit for the first time), or a palpably creaky 57-year-old Roger Moore, Bond was invariably presented as ageless; experienced and worldly but still youthful and athletic. In Moore's last couple of Bond pictures, from '83 and '85, he's as elegant and genteel as ever, and certainly doesn't look a day over 90. But the films don't acknowledge his visible infirmity in any way.