[Note: This piece contains spoilers for the latest Bond film, No Time To Die.]
Daniel Craig has not always been, let’s say, at peace with the decade-plus of obligations that come with playing James Bond. Although the British actor has done his best to play the good soldier for most of his run as the professional people shooter, the mask covering his exhaustion at the whole massive rigmarole of it all has slipped more than once—most famously in a post-Spectre interview in which he declared that he’d “rather break this glass and slash my wrists” than suit back up for another globetrotting spy adventure in that moment.
Which might help explain why Craig sounds so clearly relieved about the ending of his final Bond film, No Time To Die, in some comments he recently made to NME. Craig dubbed the way the film panned out as “really very, very satisfying,” a statement we can’t help but assume is at least partially linked to the fact that it ends in such a way that nobody’s going to be bothering him to play James Bond again unless it’s on a Dante’s Inferno trip through the afterlife.
(Note to self: Please add “James Bond kills his way through hell to murder the devil” to our list of Excellent Screenplay Ideas, right next to that perennial classic John Wick Fights Dracula.)
Bond producers—who usually treat the character like an immortal jug of slowly metabolizing alcohol, hormones, and adrenaline—also note that they were actually pretty receptive to treating his last installment as, well, a last installment. Per producer Michael G. Wilson: “I think all of us discussed that it seemed like a situation that we could tackle for the first time in the Bond series.”
Craig also praised the film—which is one of the top international box office performers of the year—for actually trying to be about something beyond just trying to stop moon lasers or what have you. “ The through line of this is family [and] love,” he noted. And also, of course, the greatest joy of all: “The fact we had an end.”