Daniel Craig caused a stir around the world earlier this year when he said that the James Bond character should only be played by a man – not because men are better, but because there should be roles that are just as good for women. What he said shouldn’t be controversial, especially since it echoes what longtime Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli has said several times: Bond is a man. That’s hard to argue with, as the character has always been defined by his masculinity and narrow view of women. The Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig eras have questioned that chauvinism, but chauvinism is still a defining aspect of the character.
That being said, No time to die has already proven while Bond is male, 007 is not. And as Craig said, “There should be better roles for women and actors of color.” We will, No time to die created just such a role for both in the Bond canon with Nomi, that of Barbara Bach’s Triple X in The spy who loved me, or Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin in Tomorrow never dies, is his equal. In fact, more than those characters, she is his successor and can stand on her own without ever stepping into his bed.
If Bond had lived in No time to die, and perhaps not becoming a father, it’s easy to imagine a continuity in which Bond reclaimed the title from 007 and Nomi took another designation. But now that Bond is dead, and… No time to dieThe credits clearly say “James Bond Will Return”, it seems like it’s all for nothing. Still, I’d say it doesn’t have to be that way.
For starters, Craig’s era is arguably the most definitive since Sean Connery’s. That’s not to say Craig is as good as Connery — or even this writer’s second-favorite Bond — but he’s had the most consistent run of movies since the 1960s. And after a record 15 years, he is the… nothing but Bond has known a whole younger generation of fans from childhood to their twenties. Therefore, like Connery, it may be more difficult to quickly replace Craig in the role of Bond.
So why does Bond have to return immediately? The Craig era already had two long gaps between films of four and six years, a similar absence would make the heart beat faster for Bond’s inevitable recast, and create a window where Eon Productions could launch a new series of films starring Nomi as 007 or otherwise .
Producers Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson wanted a spin-off of Halle Berry’s Jinx from Die another day into its own franchise in 2002, but MGM reportedly got cold feet over spending $80 million on a Bond film without James Bond in the lead role. Additionally, given the claim that producer Barbara Broccoli was “outraged,” one wonders if it was also early skepticism of female-led action movies that led to the film’s cancellation.
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