While producers have confirmed that Bond the character won’t fundamentally change, the franchise’s the franchises’ treatment of women will.
One thing we can almost all universally agree on is that the Bond franchise, as an entire entity, could probably do with a touch more diversity. There’s plenty of room to get new faces into the film series, whether that be introducing new characters or re-inventing old ones. The murkier waters of debate, however, have long sat as to what to do with the series’ lead character himself.
The nature of James Bond as a character is a subject that’s sparked fierce defense from long-time fans of the books and films alike, often prompting opinions from places you wouldn’t expect. Several prominent women linked to the series, including Daniel Craig’s wife Rachel Wiesz and ex-Bond girl Eva Green, have come out to say that they believe James Bond should remain played by a man.
Craig himself, alongside ex-007 actor Piers Brosnan, has said that he’d be open to handing over the codename to a female, whether that would mean replacing the James Bond character entirely, or simply introducing a new character to take over the title.
Amidst the arguments, the future of the franchise’s direction has taken on a rather fluid identity. Many fans weren’t sure as to what will come of James Bond after Daniel Craig leaves the series (No Time To Die will be his final appearance at the secret agent). Speculation as to the next Bond has been rife for years, and things were made even murkier when it was announced that Lashana Lynch would become the first female to play a ’00’ character in the film series’ history.
Naturally, Lynch’s announcement led many up the garden path of believing that she was in-line to replace Craig as the eponymous character of the 007 franchise. But longtime Bond producer has poured cold water over this speculation, finally confirming that James Bond will remain the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future. And contrary to those who (rightly or wrongly) was worried that James Bond could become Jane Bond, he’ll remain a man.
“He can be of any color, but he is male,” Barbara Broccoli, the woman who has creatively led the Bond series for decades, said in an interview with Variety. “I believe we should be creating new characters for women — strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”
The statement is a pragmatic one, and one that, in keeping with comments made by other prominent females within the franchise, speak to a shift in philosophy around the franchise. That being, Bond the character may not fundamentally change. After all, he’s a deeply flawed protagonist. But the way the franchise treats women will.
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the ‘Bond’ franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women,” Waller-Bridge told Deadline in May. “I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”