Bond, you have a license to retire

Amidst discussions of who can and can't take on the iconic British role, is it time for James Bond as we know him to hang up his tuxedo once and for all?

Harriet Metcalfe
26th October 2021
Lashana Lynch and Léa Seydoux star in the newest Bond film. Credit: Youtube

Spoilers for No Time to Die ahead...

After waiting an eternity for the release of No Time to Die, Daniel Craig's last hurrah to the Bond franchise, many have been questioning if and how the famous owner of the 007 title could continue after his er... fairly definite farewell to the saga. But should it even continue? Should the franchise get a reset? Who would even take over? Why do I have so many questions?

My short answer is no. My boyfriend can definitely attest that after a twenty minute long rant about why I didn't like No Time to Die, I'm not much fussed about any more films with Mr Bond at the front and centre. They've made a pretty penny with this release (to the tune of £88 million at time of writing) - enough for a decent beach house and surely enough to give Bond his license to retire.

Lashana Lynch is "007" for much of the film. Credit Youtube

A franchise now also associated with its problematic representations, the latest release made an attempt to fix everything in two hours and forty-five minutes (a run-time far too long for what you actually get from the plot of the film); Q likes men! We've given the 007 title to a black woman! Bond's partner drives off into the sunset, not him! But I wouldn't call any of that a 'proper' acknowledgement of where it has gone wrong in the past, nor does it make up for it.

Of course, resetting the brand would be a great opportunity to fix the issues of older films. But why can't we get something new? And this is where Daniel Craig came under fire from many online earlier in the year for suggesting that James Bond should not be played by a woman. Speaking to Radio Times, he's quoted as saying: “There should simply be better parts for women and actors of color. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”

"The thing about sexism on-screen is that we constantly see women taking on male-attributes [...] rarely do we see men taking on female-attributes"

I completely agree with Craig. Why haven't roles that good been created yet? Having a female James Bond doesn't instantly fix everything, because the thing about sexism on-screen is that we constantly see women taking on male-attributes. Lashana Lynch as the holder of the 007 title for much of No Time to Die, for example, takes the title held by one man for years and still kicks ass as much as James Bond would. But rarely do we see men taking on female-attributes. Sure, you could argue that Bond is presented as having some kind of maternal instinct for the second half of the film, but his scenes are hardly as emotional or impactful as those featuring the mother of his daughter played by Léa Seydoux.

"As we were repeatedly told in No Time to Die, 007 is just a number anyone can have."

If Bond is to keep his license, this balance needs to be addressed, whoever the character is played by. But as we were repeatedly told in No Time to Die, 007 is just a number anyone can have. Whether it's Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Henry Golding, Lashana Lynch, Léa Seydoux, Ana de Armas, maybe even Phoebe Waller-Bridge after she was brought in to work on the screenplay - if 007 is to live on, let's give it to someone new.

But, Bond? Here's your license to retire. Now go get your free bus pass.

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AUTHOR: Harriet Metcalfe
English Literature BA student. Loves film, TV, books and coffee. Thinks "Thor: The Dark World" gets too much hate. Twitter: @hattiemetcalfe

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