No Time to Die, the hotly-anticipated 25th James Bond film and Daniel Craig’s last stint as the famous fictional spy, is truly an end of an era.
Craig is officially the longest-serving Bond, having filled 007’s shoes for 15 years, and was also probably the most unique Bond, too. Craig’s Bond wasn’t a skeevy womaniser or decadent bon vivant: he was a tortured, brooding, intense killer, with an icy-cold wit and no time for nonsense. It was a different, more mature take on Bond that stands worlds apart from previous characterisations.
With Craig now bowing out, there’s been a huge amount of speculation as to who will fill his shoes and what they’ll bring to the role. While some actors like Tom Holland and Idris Elba have been rumoured to be taking the helm, some actresses have, too. Lashana Lynch, who played Nomi – the MI6 agent who inherited Bond’s 007 designation after his retirement at the end of Spectre – might very well be the next Bond. I mean, she kind of already is.
Many fans have fiercely rejected the proposition of a female Bond – but if they didn’t like that idea, they’ll really dislike the latest revelation about the next James Bond.
Barbara Broccoli, the daughter of Albert R. Broccoli and both the producer and rights holder for all the modern James Bond films, revealed during a podcast interview that she’d be open to the idea of James Bond becoming non-binary, with the only proviso being “we just have to find the right actor.”
We break down the odds on who’s likely to be the next Bond below.
This has incensed some fans, with some particularly choice comments shared on TMZ: “yeah, so completely destroy what the character has embodied for almost 70 years, sure”, “get woke, go broke”, and perhaps most pointedly, “create a different franchise – and leave this alone.”
And that’s sort of the heart of the matter, isn’t it? Rather than trying to ‘rehabilitate’ the image of such a historied and well-loved character, surely it would just be better to come up with a different character who’s non-binary, or female, or queer… From the get-go.
It’s something the comic book industry has experimented (and struggled) with, for example. Marvel Comics, over the last two decades, has launched a wide variety of titles that have seen diverse figures take up the mantle of various famous superheroes, such as a black, female Iron Man and a Muslim Ms Marvel.
While some titles with fresh, diverse takes on heroes have been very successful – take Miles Morales, the Afro-Latino teen who’s the new Spider-Man – many have been quite unsuccessful, and have attracted criticism from fans. This EW article gives you a bit of a taste of the debate.
The core argument is that introducing diversity means nothing without good writing – and indeed, it’s better to just write existing characters better rather than try and change an essential aspect of their character.
Now, is this all much ado about nothing? Broccoli has previously voiced her opinion that Bond should always remain male: that as long as Bond is British and has XY chromosomes, everything else is open to discussion. It seems her comment about a non-binary Bond was designed to spark debate and court coverage, and well, it’s worked.
We’d say this endless speculation and ugly culture wars over James Bond are more damaging to the character and the films than the actual movies. Making Bond non-binary is one thing, but dangling that worm just to get Twitter fingers flying doesn’t do anyone any favours.
Both writers and fans need to come to some sort of consensus as to what is truly essential about Bond’s character. Male and British seem like two core prerequisites. He ought to have a naval background. More importantly, he needs to dress well and have exceptional taste. But his ethnicity, age, upbringing and sexual preferences? Are they really that important?
Or do we do away with Bond entirely? Is he a relic of a less enlightened age? We don’t think so. As Daniel Craig was able to show, Bond can be more than just an outdated stereotype of masculinity, and he’s a character that still has plenty of stories in him.
We don’t really care who James Bond is – as long as the films remain fun, high-budget and well-written. That’s what’s most crucial.