'No Time to Die': What That Post-Credits Moment Means for the Future of James Bond

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for No Time to Die

James Bond is dead at the end of No Time to Die. Safin's (played by Rami Malek) island has been blown up, with a missile scoring pretty much a direct hit on Bond.

Despite this pretty final end for Daniel Craig's tenure as Bond, MGM is hardly going to let a little thing like a character's death stand in the way of a multi-billion dollar franchise.

As such, the end of the credits features a reassurance that while this might be the end for Daniel Craig's time as the super-spy, Bond will be back.

Is there a post-credits scene in No Time to Die?

There is no Marvel-style stinger scene during or after the credits of the latest Bond movie —no surprise, as none of the other 24 movies have had one either.

It does, however, bring back a Bond staple right at the end of the credits that has featured in 22 of the movies so far—a title card that promises that James Bond will be back.

Specifically, the card promises that "James Bond will return"—an assurance that has appeared at the end of every 007 movie since Diamonds Are Forever in 1971.

However, that statement hits differently at the end of No Time to Die—especially as we have just seen Bond meet an explosive end.

It is interesting that the film decided specifically to say that James Bond will return. After all, the movie could have hedged its bets and said that "007 will return"—which could refer to either Bond or the woman that took his designation after he was presumed dead, Nomi (Lashana Lynch).

james bond post-credit scene
Daniel Craig as James Bond in "No Time to Die." The actor may be done as 007 but, as a caption states at the end of the movie, "James Bond will return." MGM

Instead, though, the film chose to confirm that the man we have just seen die will be back —though of course it never tells us how.

One thing we do know, however, is that when Bond is back, he will have a new face. No Time to Die is Craig's final movie as the character, meaning that a new, as-yet-unannounced actor will be playing him when he returns.

The fact that the movie so clearly shows Bond dying might be hinting that a long-held fan theory about the character is about to be confirmed. An oft-discussed piece of fan continuity that tried to explain why so many actors had played Bond speculated that "James Bond" was in fact a codename that MI6 gave to different agents at different times.

Though this was firmly debunked by the events of Skyfall, the fact that this Bond seems to be dead could be setting up the codename theory as a new canon—going forward, every new Bond is a new person, whose codename is a tribute to the man who died in the process of saving the world from a DNA-targeting nanobot virus.

This could have seismic implications for who could play Bond going forward. If "James Bond" becomes a codename, then anyone could be him, opening up the opportunity for women and actors of color to play the character.

Then again, the Bond franchise has never been one to take gigantic risks. As such, it is equally possible that that next movie will explain how Bond faked his own death (as he first did in You Only Live Twice) or had plastic surgery to hide the damage caused by the explosion (similar to how the franchise explained the change in Blofeld casting in On Her Majesty's Secret Service).

Alternatively, the film may just choose never to address the casting, as it did with every other change of the central actor playing Bond.