Daniel Craig got five movies in as the iconic James Bond, and most of us can agree that at least two of those movies were pretty good. "Casino Royale" in particular got a lot of praise for stretching the boundaries of what a Bond film could be. Craig's Bond was still cool — that's never going to change — but rarely had Bond ever felt so human.

Considering Craig's tenure went on for another 15 years, it's a little surprising to find out that he wanted to call it quits after "Royale." As he told The Times, "I had genuinely thought I would do one Bond movie, then it would be over." This might sound ridiculous in hindsight, but "Casino Royale" had not quite been a guaranteed hit at the time. When news first came out that Craig had been picked to play the new Bond, the initial response was negative. His detractors felt he was too blonde and too, well, boring to do the role justice. The Daily Mirror even reacted to the news with the headline, "The Name's Bland … James Bland." The British tabloids aren't exactly known for being classy, but that's a bit rude, even for them.

Of course, the backlash quieted down after "Casino Royale" hit theaters, and when Craig raised the idea of killing off his character, it was immediately shut down. "By then we knew we had a hit on our hands," explained Craig. "I realized the enormity of it, so I said to [producer] Barbara [Broccoli], 'How many more? Three? Four?' She said, 'Four!' I said, 'OK. Then can I kill him off?' She said, 'Yes.'"

Leaving James Behind

Daniel Craig did, in fact, get his wish four movies later, when "No Time to Die" definitively killed off Bond for the first time ever. Although this is certainly not the end of the franchise, it is the last time Craig will ever be involved in it.

Since then, Craig has quickly gone on to enjoy a successful post-Bond career. It helps that in 2019, before officially leaving the role, he played southern detective Benoit Blanc in the surprise hit "Knives Out." The movie has already spawned a sequel (with a second sequel currently in the early stages of development) and has basically ensured that Craig will never just be known as that guy who played James Bond. He's also starring in Luca Guadagnino's new movie "Queer" a film that promises to also be a stark departure from the tone of the Bond series.

More than anything, Craig has distinguished himself post-Bond by playing characters who are worlds apart from Bond. His performance in the first two "Knives Out" films is undeniably charming and funny, and his character there is a far cry from the dangerous lady's man that was Agent 007. "I want to make people laugh," he told The Times — something he didn't get to do much as Bond. And while we're glad Craig didn't get his wish granted back in 2006 (that would've meant no "Skyfall"), ultimately his 2021 departure from the franchise seems like the best choice for the actor. The most high-profile gig of his life is over, but Craig's professional future has never felt more exciting.

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