Lashana Lynch—a Black Woman—Is Taking Over as 007. It’s About Damn Time.
According to a new report, Daniel Craig will pass the martini to “Captain Marvel” actress Lashana Lynch, who will be introduced as the new 007 in the still-untitled 25th Bond film.
In news that will surely come as a shock to James Bond fans and the film industry at large, it was revealed today that longtime 007 Daniel Craig will pass the Walther PPK to black British actress Lashana Lynch in the iconic role.
For years there has been intense speculation about who would take over the reins of one of the most durable and profitable film franchises in history once Craig stepped aside. Much of that speculation has revolved around whether the series might make a nod toward diversity and cast a person of color or a woman for the first time.
But if the report from UK tabloid the Daily Mail is to be believed, the 007 producers are going for a radical twofer: casting a 31-year-old black female newcomer as Bond’s heir apparent.
According to the report, the upcoming, yet-to-be-titled 25th Bond film will reveal Lynch as the new 007 with Craig’s character coming out of retirement for one last mission.
This development will almost certainly divide diehard Bond fans who are notoriously protective about the series, which has spanned six decades and featured six white male actors in the black tux.
For instance, there has been a prolonged debate over whether current “Sexiest Man Alive” Idris Elba could or should replace Craig. In 2014, The Daily Beast broke the news that Amy Pascal, then-head of Sony Pictures Entertainment, wanted Elba to be the next Bond. And almost every interview or profile of Elba has seemed to renew the speculation, about which the Hobbs & Shaw star has remained remarkably sanguine.
Prior to a debate over whether there could be a black Bond, there was even a hue and cry over whether there could be a blond 007 14 years ago when Craig was first cast in the part.
Clearly, the producers of Bond 25 have decided that it was time to do something even more unorthodox with the globe-trotting espionage series.
According to the Daily Mail’s source, “There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says ‘Come in 007,’ and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman.”
“It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman,” they added.
This piece of news is just the latest in a string of tumultuous headlines to emerge from a production that has seemed rocky at best.
First, there was Craig’s initial reluctance to return to the role after four successful, largely well-received films. Following 2015’s Spectre, which grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide, he claimed he would rather “slash his wrists” than play the part again (he later walked back the remark and got on board).
Then there was the hiring (and departure) of A-list director Danny Boyle after he and his leading man reportedly wanted to take the series in diametrically opposed directions. With Boyle’s departure there was a need for a whole new script and director.
Since then, True Detective guru Cary Joji Fukunaga has taken over directing duties—making him the first American filmmaker to helm a Bond film—and the 007 Instagram feed has begun to share tantalizing on-set photos, suggesting that perhaps the film, which has been repeatedly delayed, was back on track.
It would come as no surprise that after five grueling films—and many, many injuries—the 51-year-old Craig would be ready to move on to other projects. The Bond role has long been viewed as a blessing and a curse for the actors who have played it since it can overshadow everything else they do.
Even Sean Connery, who arguably has had the most productive post-Bond career, will be best known for originating the part of the suave spy in the 1960s.
With Lynch, there will be a relatively blank slate. Mainstream audiences know her best from her supporting turn as Carol Danvers’ sidekick/pseudo love interest in this year’s blockbuster Captain Marvel.
She has also previously appeared on television in several, mostly short-lived shows like Crims and Still Star-Crossed.
The Daily Mail’s source says, “Lashana is absolutely brilliant and Phoebe’s script is as sharp and funny as you would expect. This Bond pays tribute to some of the earlier films with a lot of humor.”
“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.”
Still, this news is guaranteed to cause controversy. For every fan who says “it’s about time,” there will be purists who whine about continuity—or worse, “political correctness” run amok.
In fact, it’s probably only a matter of time until President Donald Trump weighs in. After all, there’s no pop-culture squabble too petty for him to wade into.
Meanwhile, for producers, this is surely a big gamble. Unlike Elba, Lynch is not a well-known quantity and the series has struggled in the past when audiences were ambivalent about the performer portraying 007.
Then again, there were plenty of raised eyebrows when Craig was cast and he now ranks among the best Bonds for many fans and critics.
We’ll have to wait and see if Lynch can leave audiences both shaken and stirred.