You’ve heard it here folks, actress Lashana Lynch will officially be taking up the mantle of 007. We’ve long speculated in the past regarding Lynch being a possible replacement to Daniel Craig’s James Bond. The actress recently confirmed it in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. She was initially coy about the rumour but now Lynch has finally confirmed it.
For the first time in the history of the franchise, the moniker will be passed down to a woman. This marks a historic moment for the illustrious “James Bond” film saga. That being said, we can’t help but think this a terrible idea. And no, before any of you come jumping at us in the comments, it’s not because we hate women. There’s obviously a place for both men and women in the spy thriller and action genre. Films like 2017’s “Atomic Blonde” and last year’s “Birds of Prey” are plenty proof of that.
No, the problem here is within the context of this specific franchise, this decision won’t bode well. There could even be far-reaching consequences that could forever alter the franchise’s future.
The Choice for Character
To be fair, there’s a slim chance we may be wrong. Perhaps, director Cary Joji Fukunaga could find a way to introduce Lynch’s Nomi in an endearing and captivating way. Perhaps 2021’s “No Time to Die” could find both a satisfying and organic segue into Nomi’s future as 007. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against them. This is the first time fans of the franchise are introduced to the character of Nomi. Beyond the fact that she works for MI6, we know nothing else about her. No previous foreshadow. No easter eggs in the background to give us some hint of her history with Bond and the agency. So to have her suddenly appear at the tail-end of Daniel Craig’s run as Bond to replace him feels cheap and insincere.
If the studio was planning to do this all along, then they should have done a far better job of easing us into it. Instead of introducing some random new character near the end, they should have picked a female partner or agent to Bond whom fans have had time to grow attached to over the years. There have been some fantastic female characters in Craig’s Bond films. There was the sexy and intelligent Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, who proved to be every bit Bond’s equal as an agent, a fighter and a lover. One who tragically died before her time.
There’s Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann, Bond’s current lover, whose father was a member of the infamous SPECTRE crime organisation. Someone who has fought by Bond’s side since 2015’s “Spectre”. Then, of course, there’s the obvious candidate they could have foreshadowed to succeed Bond, Miss Moneypenny. A headstrong, competent agent of the British Intelligence Agency. Someone who has been in the fight with Bond since 2012’s “Skyfall”.
The point we’re trying to make is that from a storytelling perspective, having Nomi replacing Bond as 007 without any proper setup seems like bad writing. It feels cheap, lazy and derivative. There isn’t necessarily a problem with having a female spy take the helm of a major franchise. So as long as it’s done in an authentic way that honours the tradition of the past. “No Time to Die” sounds less like a rousing send-off than it does a soft reboot. Which brings a slew of problems in itself.
Resisting the Reboot
Historically, all-female reboots based on popular franchises don’t perform well in the box office. The most prominent example of this can be seen in the case of 2016’s “Ghostbusters”. A modern retelling of the cinematic classic of 1984, except this time all the members of the team are replaced with women. The film was met with strong opposition from fans of the franchise. At some point, the film’s trailer even clinched the unenviable achievement of being the most disliked film trailer in YouTube history. Oh but it doesn’t stop there, the film would also make a loss of a whopping approximately USD$70 million.
This isn’t an isolated incident, mind you. The latest casualty in the box office bomb came in 2019 with “Terminator: Dark Fate”. A film that significantly changed the franchise by having the leader of the human resistance be Dani Ramos instead of established John Connor. The way “Dark Fate” nonchalantly killed Connor off to make for Ramos sparked outrage amongst “Terminator” fans. The film ended up underperforming with 20th Century Fox making a loss of over USD$120 million.
Now, are we saying that female-centred action, comedy or spy films can’t do well? No, that’s obviously not true. What we are saying is that franchises can’t expect to simply resort to gender-swap reboots in the hopes of reinvigorating them. It could very well have the opposite effect, alienating fans of the old guard and tarnishing the legacy of its predecessor. Worst of all, it continues to perpetuate the notion that female-led films can’t stand on their own two feet. That they need more recognisable properties, with historically male leads, to prop them up.
Which brings up back to the issue of having Lynch take up the mantle of Bond. Regardless, how you personally feel about 007 being a woman of colour, we need to at least acknowledge the risk of alienating fans of the franchise. “No Time to Die” runs the risk of dishonouring the legacy of the property the same way “Dark Fate” did with John Connor. Also, if the “007” franchise bombs at the box office with future films starring Lynch, it could result in a cinematic hiatus or even death.
Now, this isn’t an open-and-shut case. There’s a chance we could be wrong, we certainly hope so. Nobody wants a film to be bad. Fingers crossed, Fukunaga defies expectations and creates a truly amazing film that gives Bond proper closure with Nomi inspiring confidence in fans. Till then, we don’t have particularly high hopes for Lynch’s character. “No Time to Die” is set to premiere on 2nd April 2021.
So what do you think of Lashana Lynch’s Nomi becoming the next 007? Do you disagree with us and believe she’ll make for a great replacement? Be sure to let us know in the comments down below!