Reports allege that Lashana Lynch will play the new 007 in next year’s Bond 25, but that doesn’t mean she’s the new James Bond. It didn’t take long for the internet to erupt in its usual fashion when it was reported that Bond 25 will not only include a brand-new 007 agent for the MI6 but that the person taking on the job will be a black woman.
Production on the newest James Bond movie has been fraught. Danny Boyle originally stepped down from directing Bond 25 before production began, after alleged fights with the producers over the direction the franchise should go in. He was replaced by Cary Fukunaga, who’s now the first American to direct a Bond film, something that stuck in the throat of many who believed the franchise should remain stridently British (although non-Brits like New Zealander Martin Campbell have taken on the job before).
Then Daniel Craig got injured and there was calamity on-set and people began to joke that the movie was cursed. But the show must go on, as will talks of where the series can go after Craig steps down from the role of James Bond. Now, a new report about Bond 25 has given us hints of what could be on the horizon.
According to the report, the start of the film will include a scene where M says, “Come in, 007,” and, rather than Daniel Craig, Lashana Lynch will walk in. So while Craig is still Bond, and James Bond is still very much James Bond, Lynch is the new 007 agent.
English actress Lashana Lynch had her breakthrough role in America on the Shonda Rhimes series Still Star-Crossed, but most people will probably recognize her for her turn as Maria Rambeau, Carol Danvers’s best friend in Captain Marvel. At the moment, Lynch’s Bond 25 character’s name is currently listed on IMDb as Nomi, though no official details have been given on her character or role in the movie. Lynch joins Rami Malek, Billy Magnussen, and Ana de Armas as newcomers to the series, alongside returning favorites Craig, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, and Léa Seydoux.
Primarily, this announcement revealed two major things: one, that the notion of a James Bond who is something other than white or male is still depressingly shocking and unacceptable to large swaths of the population; and two, that a lot of people were too busy getting outraged over the headlines to read the actual story. No, Lashana Lynch is not taking over from Daniel Craig as James Bond. If these rumors are true, then all she is doing is becoming the new 007, the spy to take on the number after Bond. It’s a key difference but one that still caused a lot of drama. The new 007 inclusion was reportedly a decision made by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the Fleabag star/creator who is doing much-publicized rewrites of the script.
The Bond franchise has had to deal with the fact that Daniel Craig is ready to leave. Many were surprised that Craig had even chosen to return for a fifth film (despite still being contracted for five installments). This is the actor who said in an interview that he would rather slit his wrists than do another Bond movie. He quickly walked that infamous quote back but that’s still a tough situation for the franchise’s producers to deal with.
Major movie stars can notoriously get away with a lot of bad behavior, as the history of Hollywood can attest to, but it can be particularly difficult to have an unwilling or openly unenthused actor in the leading role of your multi-billion dollar franchise who has said, seriously or otherwise, that they wouldn’t want to continue with the series. Craig is at least popular enough and charming enough to get away with it, although he’s also clearly got one eye on the exit (following a substantial payday for Spectre and Bond 25). That means the franchise will eventually need a new Bond but it will also need a life beyond what many viewers see as a dated character trope and narrative.
Lashana Lynch may very well be the new 007 – remember, this is still an unconfirmed report – but that doesn’t mean she’s going to be the new James Bond or that the franchise will follow her in the future. The Bond name is incredibly valuable and a major part of film history, and the Broccoli family who produce the franchise are unlikely to retire the character when Craig steps down. That’s why we have the endless cycle of casting speculation for Bond. It’s almost as proud a part of the Bond tradition as the gadgets.
As long as this franchise keeps making money – and Spectre did make over $880 million worldwide – then they will keep making Bond movies with James Bond front and center. It’s a dream role for many an actor, and hopefully, it won’t be one exclusively limited to white men. If this franchise wants to remain relevant in an expanded universe age, where competition is tougher than ever, then it has to move forward with the times. There’s a reason fans spent years wanting to see Idris Elba play Bond: It’s a role that means something to a lot of people and to Hollywood at large.
If Lashana Lynch gets to be part of the franchise in the long-term and they do indeed commit to her as a new 007 or some sort of leading character, that would be an undeniably big deal. But it’s still early days and that rumor remains just a rumor for now. Besides, even if it’s true, there will probably be at least a three-to-four-year gap between Bond 25 and its follow-up, As with most things Bond, all we can do is wait and speculate.
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