The distinctive tune of Monty Norman’s James Bond theme is just as integral to the franchise as the guns, women and luxury cars are. Fans simply can’t imagine a Bond film without the familiar theme, which has gone through various iterations since it was first featured in Dr. No. In the same light, after having redefined the role of Bond in four films, fans cannot imagine another film without the iconic Daniel Craig. Yet, during a press tour promoting Spectre in 2015, Craig said he “would rather break this glass and slash my wrists” rather than do another Bond film. The truth is, however, that the James Bond franchise couldn’t afford to lose Craig, and the producers were desperate to keep him on for one more film.
Daniel Craig began his James Bond ascent in 2006 with Casino Royale, which was an adaptation of the first Ian Fleming’s Bond book. As the film dealt with the origins of Bond, there was a need to highlight the change in Bond’s character and personality; from thug to superspy. What it needed was an actor who could be more than “just a blunt instrument,” as Judi Dench put it in Casino Royale, and who could represent that change on screen. In Daniel Craig, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson found the perfect spy. Lottoland’s James Bond infographic revealed that Daniel Craig’s Bond had the second most violent acts per film after Lazenby (who only starred in one Bond film). It was this toughness combined with his suaveness that made Craig popular with the producers and film fans.
Casino Royale was a gigantic success and rebooted the Bond series for modern audiences. The next Bond films, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre, were all top grossing with Skyfall breaking the $1 billion mark. The producers realized that there is obviously something unique about Craig, which appeals to global audiences and it is, therefore, no surprise that they have gone to great lengths to keep him from departing. In one of the many moves to keep the actor, the studio has agreed to push back the release of the next Bond to November 2019, a year later than the original release date, as well as up his fee from £50 million ($69 million) to £120 million ($166 million).
This desperation of the producers to keep Craig is based on a few factors. Apart from the appeal he has brought to the franchise thanks to his reinvigoration and transformation of the Bond character, casting another actor with a similar appeal and on-screen presence is a lengthy and time-consuming ordeal. Craig’s initial outburst against playing the role again could have been attributed to exhaustion. Craig explained to Vanity Fair that at the time of the interview he’d been away from home for a year and had to endure numerous TV spots and publicity shoots.
The studio would do almost anything to retain Craig and offered him the world (a true Bond fan would know that the world is not enough, according to his family coat of arms). In August 2017 there was good news. Daniel Craig confirmed his return to the role to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. One of the reasons the actor gave for returning was that he wanted to go out on a high note. Whether this was a response to the lukewarm reception Spectre got, or that the produces made the actor an offer he couldn’t refuse, one thing is sure, Daniel Craig will star in the 25th installment of the franchise.