Paloma, Ana de Armas’ character in No Time To Die, is a scene-stealer so why doesn’t she return to help James Bond (Daniel Craig) at the end of the film? Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, No Time To Die is Daniel Craig’s final film as 007. It resolves the lingering plotlines left behind by Spectre while Bond faces a new enemy, Safin (Rami Malek), who plots to attack global populations with a bio-weapon. Ana de Armas is one of four Bond women in No Time To Die, and she’s joined by Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann, Lashana Lynch as Nomi, AKA the new 007, and Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny.
Paloma plays a small but vital role in No Time To Die. The bubbly CIA agent is assigned as James Bond’s contact in Cuba by Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), who asked the retired British Secret Service agent to help the agency find Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik). A Russian MI6 scientist kidnapped by Spectre, Obruchev is secretly working for Safin and took possession of a nanobot bio-weapon called Project Heracles. Paloma plays Bond’s escort to gain entry into a private Spectre party hosted remotely by Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christophe Waltz). When James realizes it’s a trap that Obruchev turned the tables on by unleashing Heracles on Spectre, Bond and Paloma fight their way out of the nightclub. They also capture Obruchev and keep him away from MI6’s 007 agent, Nomi. Once Bond and Obruchev complete their escape, James parts ways with Paloma for good – and so does No Time To Die.
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Director Cary Joji Fukunaga wrote the part of Paloma for Ana de Armas and part of the fun of No Time To Die is seeing her reunite with Daniel Craig, her co-star from Knives Out. But de Armas’ role was always intended to be a self-contained set piece during Bond’s mission in Cuba. The fact that Paloma is a charmer who fights brilliantly alongside Bond understandably left audiences hoping that James would call upon Paloma for help when he infiltrated Safin’s island fortress in No Time To Die‘s climax. Logically, Bond didn’t ask because Paloma’s contact, Felix Leiter was dead. Plus Bond was back in MI6 so he felt no need to contact the CIA and request Paloma’s help. Further, given the secrecy of Bond and MI6’s operation against Safin, neither James nor M (Ralph Fiennes) wished to involve the Americans and just to ask the CIA to send one particular agent in Paloma.
Paloma’s exit from No Time To Die was left open-ended but she made a memorably endearing impression in one of the best sequences in the film. Paloma was arguably an even better partner for Bond than Nomi, who No Time To Die needed to focus on as the new 007 who is alternately Bond’s rival and ally. Paloma is obviously more skilled and dangerous than her initial nervousness and her claim that she’s only had three weeks of training (“more or less”) led Bond to believe initially. Meanwhile, since Ana de Armas is a rising star who is well-known for her roles in Blade Runner 2049 and Knives Out, it was surprising and disappointing that Paloma disappears from the rest of the film.
Paloma’s crucial role in No Time To Die was to reintegrate James Bond back into the life of a secret agent after five years of self-imposed retirement. James became “James Bond” again in his Cuba sequence with Paloma; he donned a tuxedo, ordered vodka martinis, and engaged in a thrilling fight scene with Paloma by his side. Further, Paloma was also presented as a typical Bond Girl who was beautiful but seemed like Bond would need to protect her, only for Paloma to delightfully upend Bond Girl expectations. It’s a shame that Paloma couldn’t follow her own advice to James Bond and “stay longer,” but Ana de Armas’ performance in No Time To Die won’t be forgotten by 007 fans.