Did Danny Boyle Really Have To Leave No Time To Die? One Of Bond 25’s Previous Writers Has Thoughts

Film

Before the success story that is No Time To Die closed out the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies, there were some growing pains that peppered the project’s road to the big screen. One of the most notable happenings was that time when the still-unnamed Bond 25 lost director Danny Boyle and writer John Hodge to “creative differences.” However, in a recent interview, Hodge seemed to think that Boyle’s departure may have been more voluntary than we thought. 

Daniel Craig looks up bittersweetly in No Time To Die.

(Image credit: Danjaq,LLC and MGM)

Was Danny Boyle Meant To Leave Bond 25?

John Hodge may have lost out on the Bond 25 writing gig, but he still found himself tackling the world of espionage. As the writer of ITV’s modern TV remake of The Ipcress File, Hodge has brought Harry Palmer back to life in a modern series. Speaking with The Guardian about that project, thoughts obviously turned to the film that would become No Time To Die; and John Hodge provided the following insight into his ultimate departure:

I think it was me they really wanted rid of, but Danny took the bullet, too.

If you want a quick history lesson in Bond 25’s short flirtation with the Hodge and Boyle team, we’ve covered that very ground before in a story. While talking about how No Time To Die was influenced by the team’s abandoned concept, Danny Boyle seemed to be the source of those “madcap ideas” that triggered the Bond 25 change up. John Hodge’s comments above tell a different story, suggesting that the creative differences may have laid solely on his writing, with Boyle potentially leaving to support his Trainspotting collaborator.

We may never know the full story about Bond 25’s big creative clash, despite there being heavy rumors that Daniel Craig’s finale would have centered around a “modern Cold War” with a Russian villain. John Hodge is certainly not going to be the one to spill the tea, as he’s very tight-lipped about any potential influence his script had on No Time To Die

Rami Malek in No Time to Die

(Image credit: Danjaq LLC and MGM)

Why John Hodge Won’t Spill The Tea On His Bond 25 Exit

The James Bond franchise is such a valuable asset to both MGM and EON Productions that you’d think something like the abandoned concept of Bond 25 would be NDA’d to the hilt. Evidently not, if John Hodge is any indication, as he’s imposing his own moral code of silence. However, Hodge did reveal what wasn’t a part of those “creative differences”: 

No. Just decent British discretion! My understanding was that that twist had been decided even before we came on board because Daniel Craig wanted it. I think, with us, it was that old cliche “creative differences”. It felt very dramatic at the time but it was just another bump in the road of the Bond franchise.

While the world has been clued into the fact that Daniel Craig called his exit at the time he made Casino Royale, the potential death of James Bond previously gained a bit of traction as a potential creative split. As that’s been well and fairly ruled out, the actual differences in Bond 25 now feel all the more mysterious. Still, John Hodge is maintaining that “British discretion” on all fronts to what could have been.

His most stalwart example of holding that line comes from the fact that No Time To Die actually does contain part of John Hodge’s original dialogue from Bond 25. More specifically, “half a line” was the exact measure mentioned in this interview, which saw Hodge pressed for what that morsel might have been. Refusing to give an inch, Hodge explained why he’s so precious with those details: 

Aaaargh, I can’t. It’s their film. I don’t want to seem like the guy who got paid and goes round telling stories about them. Look, it’s the screenwriter’s life. If you’re lucky, you get a job, and sometimes that job doesn’t end well.

As a James Bond fan, it’s frustrating to not get the full story of what Bond 25 was meant to originally be before being scrapped. That script probably sits on the “holy grail” list of 007 fans, right next to the draft of Spectre that saw Chiwetel Ejiofor cast as a vastly different Blofeld, as well as any of the unused ideas that could have been Timothy Dalton’s third film. However, John Hodge and his dedication to keeping secrets is admirable, and one could only hope that he and Danny Boyle might be considered to help usher in the new era of James Bond adventure.

No Time To Die, in its final and known form, is currently available for rental and purchase on physical and digital media. Meanwhile, Bond 25 is secreted away safely in the personal records of John Hodge, and anyone else who was party to that draft’s creation. For the rest of us, the 2022 movie releases may hold some sort of relief, as we maintain hope that maybe the truth will be revealed some day.

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