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No To No

7th September 2021

No Time To Die's villain is not Dr. No

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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Shortly after the first look at Rami Malek's villain Safin was unveiled, fan theories sprouted that his character could be a re-imagining of Dr. No. There were a few elements to support this idea: the oval roof cut out was reminiscent of the 'Dr. No' set, Safin wears a 'Noh' mask, and his physical disfigurements could have been a result of radiation.

Individually though, connections to Dr. No for each of these elements can be disputed: Production designer Mark Tildesley has spoken about using Ken Adam's classic sets as a design language for villain's base; costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb chose the Noh mask for its indeterminate emotion (not for its name); and without going into spoilers, the disfigurements are linked to the plot of 'No Time To Die' but were not from a radiation experiment gone wrong.

All that aside, the rumour mill still cranks on. Director Cary Fukunaga came out to dispel the notion in the latest issue of SFX magazine. "If you want a good film you have to take it seriously and put a lot of thought into it," he explained. "It takes a lot of smart people to create these films, and also to create these characters that will hopefully last. This is a new villain. He’s not, as some have speculated, Dr. No. Hopefully, he’ll be one that is lasting in some way."

Safin is not Dr. No. However, there are elements of Safin that screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade pulled from the literary character of 'Dr No', as created by Ian Fleming.

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As can be seen in the latest trailer, Safin is shot in the heart but he reacts with a deep breath and survives. This is due to a condition called dextrocardia, in which his heart is on the right side of the body. Fleming's backstory of Dr No had the villain survive a shooting from the Tongs in the same manner.

'No Time To Die' will contain a bevy of nuggets from Ian Fleming's source material that have, as yet, been unused by the film series.

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