The upcoming James Bond film, the franchise’s 25th, finally has a new 007 according to reports circulating in entertainment media — and, no, despite years of unsubstantiated speculation and wishful thinking, 007 will not be played by Idris Elba. Instead, the franchise will be introducing British actress Lashana Lynch to take over the world-saving role of 007.
Before close-minded Bond aficionados get too up in arms about Lynch’s casting — 007 simply can’t be black or a woman, right?! — we should point out that Daniel Craig will be reprising the part of James Bond, getting pulled out of retirement by MI6 to take part in an important mission. He’s just not employed as 007 for Bond 25, having been replaced by the equally qualified character that Lynch plays. The film, yet to be given a proper title, will be directed by first-time Bond director Cary Fukunaga of True Detective and Jane Eyre.
If the rumor of Lynch playing 007 is true, this wouldn’t be the first time in the franchise that a woman has taken over a key position at MI6. In the 1995 Brosnan film Goldeneye, Dame Judi Dench was cast as M. She held the iconic role for nearly 20 years and only recently was replaced by Ralph Fiennes.
The Daily Beast also reminded its readers that the franchise had received some heat when it first cast Craig as Bond, since his blonde locks did not fit the image that Bond fans had of their dark, dashing, and handsome protagonist, who had previously been played by Pierce Brosnan. But Craig pulled off several well-received films in style, reflecting the gritty tastes of a modern Bond fanbase, and can’t seem to extricate himself from the films despite having expressed his desire to move on to other creative endeavors.
If you’re not into Bond films because of the role that women tend to play in the franchise — always beautiful and sometimes deadly, sometimes sidekicks and usually love interests — Bond 25 is also making elemental shifts to keep step with the times. Craig tapped Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag to rework the script and bring it up to date by expanding the film beyond the male gaze. Waller-Bridge responded to speculation that James Bond may no longer be a relevant character. “There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Bond is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now,” she told the Daily Mail. “[The franchise] 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 his character.”