No Time To Die is the 25th James Bond movie, and the latest in which Bond faces a world-threatening maniac. This time, however, the threat posed to Daniel Craig's 007 is of a distinctly personal nature. Enter Safin, played by Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar winner Rami Malek, who claims he is a "reflection" of the UK's finest secret agent.
It's often said that a Bond movie is made by its villain. Just think of Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) from The Man With The Golden Gun, or Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) from A View To A Kill as examples. More recently, we've had Javier Bardem's crazy-haired ex-MI6 agent Raoul Silva in Skyfall. So how will Safin match up?
No Time To Die director Cary Joji Fukunaga says the character embodies the characteristics of a Bond supervillain, yet also maintains a level of intimacy with Bond himself. This allows him to strike 007 where it really hurts while at the same time endangering the whole planet, forcing Bond into action for the greater good.
"First of all, Rami belongs in that company and in the same breath as any of the truly great actors. The awards tell you that but so does his work. Once we got into Christoph Waltz/Blofeld territory, you can't go small again. We had to think bigger. It's tricky because you don't want to make a cliché supervillain, but you have to make someone that's threatening not only to Bond and the people he loves but to the world at large"
Waltz's portrayal of Blofeld refers back to the previous Bond film Spectre. That movie resurrected the legacy of the classic 007 antagonist to mixed effect, Blofeld's incipient menace diluted via a confusing mixture of nostalgia and fresh backstory. Fingers crossed that the new movie and bad guy can strike a more emotionally direct note, and Fukunaga is promising something truly special.
"Let the rumors fly. because no matter what you expect from this movie, you will be shocked when you watch the film," he explains. "I will not add any fuel to that fire."
Craig is set to bow out as Bond in his fifth and final movie in the franchise. No Time To Die follows on the heels of Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), and the aforementioned Spectre (2015). The latest movie assembles a line-up of familiar faces including Waltz's Blofeld, Lea Seydoux's Madeleine Swann, Ralph Fiennes' M, Jeffrey Wright's Felix Leiter, Naomie Harris' Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw's Q.
More intriguingly, two new women agents are being introduced who may carry the franchise on their shoulders as it moves forward. Lashana Lynch is the new 007 agent Nomi and Ana De Armas plays Paloma – could they be tasked with taking over from Daniel Craig?
No doubt we'll get answers when No Time To Die is released in April 2021.
Tweet us @Regal if you think Rami Malek will become a classic Bond villain for the ages. And don't forget to check out our list of the late Sean Connery's best Bond moments.