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What Happened to Madeleine Swann in Spectre?

A Quick Reminder of What Happens to Madeleine in Spectre — and Why It's Important

SPECTRE, Lea Seydoux, 2015. ph: Jonathan Olley/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

What happened to Madeleine Swann? That's one of the biggest questions raised by the No Time to Die trailer, which places Léa Seydoux's brilliant psychiatrist — and her relationship with James Bond — at the center of the conflict. Before we dive into theorizing about her role in the new movie, let's recap what we saw of her in the last movie, 2015's Spectre.

Spectre gives us some incredibly important information about Madeleine, going all the way back to her childhood. Her father, "Mr. White," was a longterm SPECTRE operative, working for the evil mastermind Blofeld for many years. As an adult, Madeleine is found by Bond after her father's death and helps him on his mission to find and stop Blofeld. Along the way, the duo are abducted by SPECTRE operatives, and Madeleine is apparently taken prisoner and hidden away as a trap to try to force Bond to get trapped in a building rigged to explode. Fortunately for them both, Bond is able to find her in time and they escape, then head off into the sunset after sparking a romantic relationship.

On the surface, Madeleine's arc in Spectre isn't that different from a usual nonevil "Bond girl," with her murky past but good heart and ability to kick butt on her own. A few details, however, seem to suggest that what we saw in that movie isn't the end of the story, and since she's back in No Time to Die under mysterious circumstances and with some knowledge of the new villain, that seems more and more likely. The new trailer makes it appear that, for some reason, Madeleine and Bond's relationship didn't work out and that, by the time we pick back up with the new movie, they've split up because of some secret she's been keeping. Could it be that her ties to SPECTRE aren't just about her father?

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Madeleine has two things that seem too important to overlook: experience handling weapons (as a child, she shot a man who came after her father) and a position at MI6. The trailer kicks off with Madeleine asking Bond, "Why would I betray you?," to which he bitterly replies, "We all have our secrets — we just didn't get to yours yet." An exchange like that certainly seems to hint at something bigger unfolding with Madeleine, but we won't find out for sure until No Time to Die hits theaters on April 8, 2020.

Image Source: Everett Collection
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