What Happened Between Quantum Of Solace And Skyfall? The Missing Missions Of Daniel Craig's James Bond

With the release of "No Time to Die" several weeks behind us, we can firmly say that the Daniel Craig era of "James Bond" is over. The man had one heck of a run in the iconic shoes of 007, beginning with "Casino Royale" way back in 2006. Some 15 years and five movies later, it's nearly time for MGM and the producers to begin looking for the next actor to take on the iconic role.

Be that as it may, we have some time to kill before the next Bond is inevitably chosen, with the search expected to get underway next year. For those looking to help fill the time, an opportunity for fan fiction — or at the very least contemplation — may be available, as I'm here to propose that Craig's Bond has a host of missing missions that we never got to see unfold on screen. Let's break it all down.

007's Origin

In something of a first for the long-running franchise, "Casino Royale," appropriately named and loosely adapted from author Ian Fleming's first "James Bond" novel, gave Bond a proper origin story, showing us how he became a double 0 agent in the cold open, and tracing his earliest missions with MI6. This proved to be a winning formula, as the movie is widely considered to be one of the best — if not the single best — entry in the entire series. Fittingly, the movie concludes with Craig delivering the famous "Bond, James Bond" line, putting a punctuation mark on that origin tale.

Though not nearly as beloved, the 2008 follow-up "Quantum of Solace" is also unique, in that, it is a direct sequel to "Casino Royale," which is noteworthy as previous incarnations of the character were prone to "mission of the week" storytelling, largely leaving continuity behind. In this way, "Quantum" sort of serves as "Casino Royale 1.5," an epilogue of sorts tied to a mission that helps put Bond in position to do the work required of him by Queen and Country. Point being, through Craig's first two movies, we have scarcely moved past his earliest days as 007. And that is particularly important to remember when it comes to "Skyfall," which came several years later.

A Grizzled Bond Appears

Much ink has been spilled regarding "Skyfall" and its place atop the hill as the biggest "James Bond" movie of all time. It is the only entry in the series to gross more than $1 billion at the box office and it remains arguably the most crowd-pleasing entry in the history of the franchise, if not one of the most crowd-pleasing blockbusters of the last decade overall. That is, in part, because Bond got to do his thing, go on a mission, with all of the classic pieces in place (Q, Moneypenny, the Aston Martin DB5) while being comfortable and confident about his place in the hierarchy of men in the field doing this sort of work. All this taking place while bringing Bond into the modern era of blockbuster filmmaking with a masterful stroke.

But something else key happens in "Skyfall" that is easy to gloss over for the average viewer. If we're to assume that "Quantum of Solace" also takes place in 2006 (roughly speaking) as follows right after "Casino Royale," then six years or so passed between the events of those movies and "Skyfall," which was released in 2012. One scene in particular hints at the importance of this time gap, which sees Bond breaking into M's apartment after he was presumed dead, given that he was shot off a train and fell to a would-be death in the cold open. Let's have a look at the scene, just as a refresher.

This is a weary Bond. This is a Bond that has been through some things and seen some things. This is not the run-and-gun, fresh to the world of spies Bond that we saw in "Casino Royale." This is a version of the man who is bordering on "played out," who is held together by his drink and his pills, as Silva puts it later in the movie. Much has happened to Craig's Bond in the time between "Quantum" and "Skyfall," that much is certain.

Bond's Lost Years

My position on the matter is that there are a whole host of lost missions that we never got to see in the years between "Quantum of Solace" and "Skyfall." Not only because several years passed in the real world, but because the narrative of "Skyfall" makes it crystal clear that this is no longer a fresh active service member of MI6. All of the talk from Mallory about being able to retire quietly, and the notion of Bond trying to walk away from it all in "Spectre" truly leads to the conclusion that the bulk of Craig's run-of-the-mill missions happened away from the big screen.

The folks of the "James Bonding" podcast once theorized that the entire "James Bond" series was canon, in a sense, with all of the missions seen in Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and George Lazenby's movies took place in between "Quantum" and "Skyfall." While that theory falls apart in a heartbeat, the nugget of this very real notion was seeded in my mind by that show. It has stuck with me ever since, and following "No Time to Die" I simply cannot stop thinking about it.

What would Craig's lost missions look like? What sort of villains did he encounter during those years we never got to see? What high-stakes plots did he stop that made him so weary and reliant on substance to get through the day? A great many questions that, frustratingly, have no answers. Perhaps one day the folks at Dynamite Comics, who have done truly great work with the "James Bond" series on the page in recent years, could explore this idea down the line while we wait for a new actor to fill the void. In any event, it's certainly something for fans like myself to contemplate and discuss.