This morning, social media lost the plot over the possibility of a black woman being 007. However, looking at the fine print, it’s nothing to get excited about. Not yet.
This morning, Britain woke to a rather severe shot to the crumpets, as it seems that the next 007 will be a woman. The woman in question is Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch. However, there are a series of caveats one has to apply to headlines, making the backlash, and indeed, the entirety of the move a bit pointless.
According to numerous reports, Lynch will enter as 007 early in the film, prior to Daniel Craig returning to take over “Bond duties”. Thereby saving the world, getting the girl, et cetera. In this case, this apparently goes for the proto-Bond that was created to replace him. A greater metaphor for the patriarchy fucking you there could not be. A ‘movie insider’ shared the following tidbit with The Daily Mail, stating that “Bond, of course, is sexually attracted to the new female 007 and tries his usual seduction tricks, but is baffled when they don’t work on a brilliant, young black woman who basically rolls her eyes at him and has no interest in jumping into his bed. Well, certainly not at the beginning.”
The history of black women in the Bond franchise is a fairly grim one. While Lynch seems a step forward, it echoes the step of Grace Jones’ May Day, with the View to a Kill henchwoman blessed with superhuman strength and a superhuman resistance to 007’s philandering. Until, of course, she’s bested and bedded by Bond (at the command of her white handler, Max Zorin), who later spoils the villain’s masterplan because Bond’s willy is magical
Elsewhere, we have Trina Parks, half of the interracial male-fantasy lesbian stereotype pair Thumper and Bambi in Diamonds are Forever, Gloria Hendry of Live and Let Die, who was the beta love interest of Bond, one portrayed as an idiot scared of the obvious supernatural fakery of heroin manufacturer Dr Kananga; Halle Berry visited 2002’s Die Another Day as Jinx, an agent of equal skill who had to be rescued by Bond, who later goes gaga over diamonds. Berry was the closest we’ve got to equality, mind you, but she was still a “Bond girl”. The franchise walked it back a touch with revamped Moneypenny, as Naomie Harris was shown to the uniformly hopeless in the field, resulting in James Bond being fatally shot, a crime that sees her banished behind a desk, and away from Bond’s bed forever.
Why would today’s news be taken seriously if it hadn’t been treated seriously in the past?
This, mind you, is the same franchise that received extreme backlash for daring to cast Daniel Craig, because of his obvious unsuitability for the role (read: blonde). The website erected to support the uniform middle finger, www.craignotbond.com, states that “…the next choice for a modern James Bond will be crucial to pave the path into the following ten years in which the character can be reborn…it is not a secret that a huge part of the Bond character is actually the flirting with the most beautiful women on Earth. He adds that glamorous touch of being a distinguished English gentleman that does all this marvellous stunt stops the bad guys.”
Hideous syntax aside, the above speaks to the Bond fan mindset. Not all, mind you, but most. The backlash this morning has been typical. “Diversity: Ruining movies since 2012”, “Thoughts and Prayers for the Bond franchise, RIP”, and “First Ghostbusters, now this. Rumour has it they’re also remaking Brokeback Mountain with a female cast. On the one hand, I’m pretty sick of all of these gender-swapped reboots. On the other hand, will be lotion”.
The fact that the plot has been lost over a temporary rug pull speaks volumes. This, I believe, was emboldened by the simplified headlines magnified for clicks, but what we really have here, is a tester. Daniel Craig is set to retire after this movie, it could happen. Lynch is the dipped toe in the water. Of course, I’m yet to see the movie, and we can only go off what has been leaked to the media, but the writer of the Bond script, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who also wrote the female-centric Killing Eve), said that “…there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Bond is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bullshit. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to his character.”
The previously referenced insider said: “This is a Bond for the modern era who will appeal to a younger generation while sticking true to what we all expect in a Bond film,’ the source added. ‘There are spectacular chase sequences and fights, and Bond is still Bond but he’s having to learn to deal with the world of #MeToo.”
What we have here, I believe, is redux of the Doctor Who backlash, where the creators decided to make a British institution female, one that traditionally travels around besting evil with superhuman abilities (and gadgets) with a female accomplice in tow. Bond, just like the Doctor, are characters defined by anonymity. “007” has the same merit as “The Doctor”, they’re generic titles given to individuals, who could be anyone.
Those railing against the editing of tradition, or defending the sacred order of the text, should cease the shaking of their mental Martini. After all, the “sexist, misogynist dinosaur” has already made steps away from his past, as the Bond of today is far beyond the Bond of his creator. In 1959, Ian Fleming addressed criticism regarding ‘Goldfinger’, namely Bond’s bedding of lesbian Pussy Galore, with Fleming believing that she “only needed the right man to come along and perform the laying on of hands in order to cure her psycho-pathological malady.”