Recently, the internet has been blowing up since it’s caught wind of the possibility that Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch might just replace Daniel Craig’s James Bond as the new 007. Needless to say, people have been divided on this decision. Some (like our very own Dashran) have taken to the news rather well, believing that the studio has made an excellent decision. Others, however, have met this rumour with the typical reactionary fury that has become a fixture of the internet. They’ve even gone so far to brand the casting choice as a “political stunt” or an act of blatant pandering. Personally, I don’t really have a stake in this.
If anyone ever asked, I’ve always believed the Bourne trilogy to be the superior spy-thriller franchise. That being said, I have found myself indulging in a Bond film or two over the years and I get why people love them. Everything from the fanciful gadgets to each actor bringing their own brand of sex appeal to the role right down to the exciting world-ending plots.
I can definitely see why some diehard fans would find this news distressing, change is never easy. Frankly, I reacted to this news as yet another pathetic attempt by Hollywood to “change it up” but the more I thought about it, the more the idea seemed less absurd. So while I may have a few reservations, do allow me to explain why we think Lashana Lynch just might make for a great Agent 007!
The Right Direction, A Smooth Transition
Now if Universal Pictures was looking to just reboot the entire franchise and have some random person become 007, then yes, that would really suck. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. The latest film set to come out, that has yet to be given an official name, currently known as Bond 25 will apparently see James Bond leave the life of an MI6 agent behind to pursue his own personal matters. He and an old friend from the CIA, Felix Leiter will go on a mission to find an abducted scientist before a catastrophic event occurs.
The film is set to be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the director behind the brilliant first season of True Detective and Netflix’s war film masterpiece Beast of No Nation. Before I heard the news of Lynch potentially taking up the role of 007, I was honestly pumped to see how Fukunaga would tackle a Bond film. The man is a visionary storyteller who has been killing it recently in both the film and TV industry.
The man is capable of weaving rich, character-heavy narratives and the way he incorporates brilliant aesthetic choices from colour to framing into his work puts him up there with contemporaries like Denis Villeneuve and Darren Aronofsky. And while I don’t expect there to be any psychotropic dream sequences or insanely vibrant mixtures of colours on screen, there is a certain amount of expectation for Fukunaga to absolutely nail characterization.
The man has yet to show any sign of weakness in his directorial skills, so I’m fairly sure the Fukunaga will do something great with Bond 25. If the rumours are true that Lynch’s character of Nomi will be replacing James Bond as the new 007, I will nonetheless hold to my faith in Fukunaga’s artistic vision. It’s a lot like the current situation with Robert Pattinson being cast in Matt Reeves’ The Batman . We were sceptical at first when they heard that Pattinson was going to be cast as the new Bruce Wayne/Batman but when we sat down and truly thought about it, we realized that there was great potential there!
As of now, Lashana Lynch has yet to really show any real acting chops, seeing that she’s mostly played supporting roles in films like Captain Marvel and Fast Girls. Perhaps, Fukunaga could bring out the best in Lynch’s performance given the right direction. In the past, people said that Heath Ledger’s Joker would never be great and now look at him. You wouldn’t believe the amazing performances people can give with the proper script and direction. It’s possible that Fukunaga has found a way to have the 007 buck passed over to Nomi in a way that feels organic and natural.
Breaking From Bond
Let’s make one thing clear here: James Bond is not being changed. Regardless of whether or not Lynch will be confirmed, Bond will always be the deadly, smooth-operating, womanizing secret agent we all have come to know and love. And yes, James Bond should absolutely forever be a man, not some tacked on, disingenuous reimagining who goes by the name of Jane Bond. That would be pretty stupid. So relax, James Bond is still James Bond.
The title of 007 however, has room for original interpretations. Since his first appearance in 1954’s made-for-TV adaptation of Casino Royale, we’ve only ever really known Bond as a grizzled, handsome English gentleman. Is it really so far fetched that we see Daniel Craig’s James Bond retire? No, it isn’t. But if he is leaving, it begs the question: What does 007 mean without the man? A question that is actually quite exciting! For me, the role of 007 has been defined by four things.
The first being expertise in the field of espionage, that means whoever inhabits the part must be capable of diplomacy, interrogation, seduction, extraction and charisma. The second would be a proficient and intelligent combatant. Somebody who is adept at hand-to-hand combat, firearms and is resourceful enough to find unorthodox ways of taking down a foe. I want to see a 007 who can turn everything from a pen (because pencils are Wick’s territory) to a towel into a deadly weapon.
The third element that marks Agent 007, whether man or woman, would be the gadgets! The agent should be armed to the teeth with laser watches, concealable explosives, rocket packs and of course drive a decked out, weaponized Rolce Royce. If all else fails, a reliable Walther PPK should do the trick. As for the final element, the agent has to be a loyal British citizen. Contrary to what some small minds may think, the United Kingdom (UK) is a nation of many cultures and many peoples. So while there technically is a “ye-olde-English” culture, it is not a qualifier for what makes one a true son or daughter of the soil. At the end of the day, it is loyalty to Queen and Country.
Over the decades, the UK has learned to embrace its cultural pluralism and has even made it a part of its own national identity. Fun fact: the national dish of the UK is Chicken Tikka Masala! So if the nation can have a freaking Indian staple as its national dish, why the hell can’t it have a black, female 007? Lashana Lynch is indeed a British actress so I really don’t see the problem here. If she does take up the role of 007, she isn’t violating the spirit of the franchise’s cultural setting, she’s giving us a different aspect of it.
Look, we’re not asking you to go nuts or hype up the idea of Lashana Lynch becoming the new 007. Neither are we asking you to turn your back on James Bond. All we’re doing is imploring you to give Lynch a fair chance if she does become the new 007. If it really does suck and feels inauthentic or pandering, we won’t pull any punches. For now, we’re keeping an open mind about it. We want it to succeed because if it does, that means more good films and who doesn’t want more of that?