Greed, Revenge or Chaos? Making Sense of Safin's Masterplan in 'No Time To Die'

No Time to Die tries to tie up most of the major plot threads from the last four Daniel Craig James Bond movies, but in doing so it leaves a massive part of its own plot unexplained.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the entirety of No Time to Die.

As the movie comes towards its end, we learn that Safin (played by Rami Malek) has adapted the Heracles Project to make a DNA-targeted chemical weapon that could wipe out millions across the world. The problem is the film never actually explains why he would want to do this.

The bar on Bond villains' motivations is pretty low, but No Time to Die does not manage to cross it. He does not seem to be doing it for money, for example, and seems to have no interest in world domination.

So what exactly is Safin's plan? With the film providing no good answers, Newsweek's entertainment writers theorize as to why the villain does what he does.

Theory 1: To Play With Bond

One reading of the plan is that the whole thing is one big trap that Safin sets for Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and Bond.

A quick recap of the Safin backstory. As a young boy, his parents were poisoned by Swann's father. As revenge, Safin murdered that man's wife. After a young Madeleine falls into the ice, however, he has a moment of mercy and saves her.

In the years afterwards, it seems that Safin regrets saving that child's life. Of course, he had plenty of opportunities to just kill her (like when he visited her office), but in typical Bond villain fashion, he made an overly elaborate plan to get his revenge instead.

Rami Malek in No Time To Die
Rami Malek plays the big baddie Lyutsifer Safin in "No Time To Die." Eon Productions

That plan is to lure Bond to his lair with the Heracles Project. However, the murder of millions is just a potential side effect of his real plan: To get Bond to his lair, so he can either force him to watch as he murders the child he had with Swann, or alternatively poison him so he can never see Swann or his daughter ever again without killing them.

You may think that the murder of millions is a pretty big thing to have as a side effect of your plan, but a) that is Bond villain logic and b) he never intends to actually let the virus out. He expects Bond to save the day and stop the Heracles Project from being unleashed—and in doing so, destroying the life of Madeleine Swann.

- Samuel Spencer

Theory 2: Revenge Against Madeleine Swann

A good Bond villain often starts their arc with mysterious intentions that become clearer as 007 investigates. The plan is eventually explained via some classically clichéd clunky exposition which we've come to know as the villain's monologue. Unfortunately for Malek's Safin, even with extended soliloquies, his motivation to kill millions remains confusing and unclear.

Typically, movie villains get their hands on a powerful weapon and sell it on to the highest bidder, which would have made sense in the case of the Heracles Project. However, cash was never mentioned by Safin and a man who owns his own luxurious private island doesn't seem to be motivated by money.

No Time to Die production still
Rami Malek as Safin in "No Time to Die." He has a fictional lair, which was filmed in the Faroe Islands. Universal

Having Safin's back story explained by other characters leads audiences to wonder whether his plan is revenge-motivated. Perhaps murdering millions across Europe will avenge his family in some way? Maybe his killing spree is revenge against Madeleine Swann who had the audacity to continue living when Safin saved her life?

Or maybe he's just a lazily written character who needed to do something evil so the audience had someone to collectively root against?

- Jamie Burton

Theory 3: To Become a Criminal Kingpin

The most logical reason for Safin's plot is to become the next big player in the criminal underworld, especially given he killed the entire SPECTRE organization in one fell swoop.

However, Safin doesn't seem to want world domination because after destroying SPECTRE, and initiating Blofeld's death, the villain does, well, absolutely nothing.

So if it isn't for the money, and it isn't for power, the only other reason Safin could possibly be hatching this plot for is out of a twisted sense of love for Madeleine.

As a young man Safin chose to save her life rather than snuff it out, and he later claims the act bonded them for life.

And when he kidnaps her and Mathilde he tells the child he will take care of her, suggesting he wants to be her father figure and, in turn, be with Madeleine.

But even that doesn't seem like the right reason.

- Roxy Simons

No Time To Die is available to watch in movie theaters everywhere now.

No Time To Die Lea Seydoux
Léa Seydoux returns as Madeleine Swann while Daniel Craig plays James Bond for the final time in "No Time To Die." Eon Productions