James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson realized they were "not aligned" with original No Time to Die director Danny Boyle, who cited "creative differences" when stepping down from Bond 25 in the summer of 2018. Weeks later, Broccoli and Wilson found their replacement in True Detective and Beasts of No Nation director Cary Joji Fukunaga, a new hire that shifted the release of the then-untitled Bond 25 from November 2019 to Valentine's Day 2020; the release was later shifted again to its current date of April 10. In an interview with Variety touching on Boyle's exit, the franchise producers explain it became apparent neither camp could move forward on the project:
"It was hard on both sides because we had mutual respect and admiration, but better to know [the differences] before you embark on a project," Broccoli said. "We worked together well for a number of months, but there came a point when we were discussing the kind of film that we wanted to make, and we both came to the conclusion we were not aligned. Movies are very hard to make when you’re all on the same page. When you’re not, it’s basically impossible; We recognized that, and in a respectful way we realized that it wasn’t going to work out."
Fukunaga was on Broccoli and Wilson’s radar "for a long time," and the filmmaker was once considered to direct star Daniel Craig in Spectre before that was helmed by returning Skyfall director Sam Mendes.
On joining the storied 007 franchise, Fukunaga told Variety, "It’s the longest-running, most iconic film franchise. You get to travel the world, work with the best talent, the finest actors out of the U.K. and go on a real adventure. Who would say no to that?"
In 2019, Boyle admitted his leaving the project was a "great shame."
"What [co-writer] John [Hodge] and I were doing, I thought, was really good," Boyle told Empire Magazine. "It wasn’t finished, but it could have been really good."
Boyle's Bond would have reportedly centered on conflict between the West and Russia, but Boyle declined not to divulge plans for his film out of respect for Fukunaga.
"We were working very, very well, but they didn’t want to go down that route with us," he said. "So we decided to part company, and it would be unfair to say what it was because I don’t know what Cary is going to do. I got a very nice message from him and I gave him my best wishes… It is just a great shame."
No Time to Die opens April 10.