LONDON — With a guest list made up of Oscar winners and British royalty, James Bond film “No Time To Die” finally held its delayed world premiere in London on Tuesday in the cinema’s most high profile red carpet since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rain did not dampen spirits. Daniel Craig , wore a striking pink velvet dinner jacket and his costars Rami Malk Lashana Lynch and Lea Seydoux were all present for the highly anticipated movie. Cinema operators hope that it will bring audiences back to prepandemic levels.

“No Time To Die,” the 25th Bond movie, has been delayed three times since its original April 2020 slot as movie theatres around the world were forced to shut their doors as well as impose audience number restrictions due to the pandemic.

“A year ago I didn’t think that was going to happen,” said Daniel Craig. Henry Nicholls / Reuters

The Universal Pictures and MGM film, part of one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises, marks Craig’s fifth and final outing as the suave British secret agent, wrapping up a 15-year tenure that began with 2006’s “Casino Royale.”

“It’s such a great relief. Craig said that it was important for him to celebrate the film with the rest of the cast and crew.

“A year ago I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

Asked what he was going to miss the most from playing 007, he said: “The people.”

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Costing an estimated $200 million to produce, “No Time To Die” sees Bond come out of retirement in Jamaica to help track down a new villain, described by Oscar winner Malek as “mischievous (and) devious,” and armed with lethal technology. “The hardest part was coming up with a story,” Cary Joji Fukunaga, director of the film, said.

“I think of it as a last chapter of this one book where we (first) met Daniel in ‘Casino Royale’ (and) it’s all part of the same story.”

The film introduces 00 agent Nomi, played by Lynch, who said: “I’m just happy it’s here and we get to celebrate it in the way that it deserves.”

Prince William and his wife Catherine arrive at the Royal Albert Hall in London, on Tuesday night. Jonathan Brady / PA via Getty Images

Also at the premiere were Britain’s Prince Charles and his son Prince William and their wives Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. Health workers and soldiers were also invited as a thank you for their hard work during the pandemic.

Judi Dench, an ex-Bond actress, and Billie Eilish (who sings the film’s theme song), were also present.

“No Time To Die,” one of the most anticipated films this fall, is starting its cinema rollout this Wednesday. Seydoux said that she knows the world is anticipating this film. She reprises her role as Madeleine Swann in “Spectre”.

“We gave everything to this film … and I hope people will love it.”

Expectations are high after the last two Bond films, 2015’s “Spectre” and 2012’s “Skyfall”, grossed $880 million and more than $1 billion globally. “Now that the cinemas have opened, we are really happy to support the industry,” Barbara Broccoli, producer, stated.

“We made this film for the cinema and we want people to enjoy it.”

Dame Judi Dench stands next to James Bond’s Aston Martin at the Royal Albert Hall. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for EON Productions

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