In Casino Royale, the first James Bond book from 1953, Ian Fleming described what it meant for Britain’s iconic super spy to hold the distinction of 007: “you’ve had to kill some chap in cold blood in the course of some job.” Through many more books, and dozens of films, Fleming and other writers have given more clarity to the meaning of the double-0 designation.
Here’s the explanation of the double 0 status: “00 agents are elite special operatives of MI6 who have a discretionary ‘license to kill’ in the field in order to complete their mission.”
According to Fleming’s books, there are only five double 0 agents: 006, 007, 008, 009, and 0011. Of the five, only two are ever named. 007 is Bond, in Moonraker, there was a mention of agent 008 as a guy named ‘Bill’. In You Only Live Twice, Bond is briefly moved to another branch where he’s given the designation 7777, but eventually returns as 007. That switch implies that no one replaces Bond as 007 during his time away.
Obviously this was discarded in No Time to Die, as Lashana Lynch holds the title 007 in the latest James Bond movie. While she did not call herself ‘James Bond’, she did take over his famous double-o moniker. But this week, in what looks like a massive walk-back from that development, Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, who oversees the franchise with Michael G. Wilson, has pushed back against demands from those who want the next 007 to be a woman.
“I think it will be a man because I don’t think a woman should play James Bond,” Broccoli said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (via David Ng at Breitbart). “I believe in making characters for women and not just having women play men’s roles. I don’t think there are enough great roles for women, and it’s very important to me that we make movies for women about women.”
She added that the next actor to take over the role from Daniel Craig should be British. “British can be any [ethnicity or race],” she said.
No Time to Die marks Craig’s fifth and final outing as 007, igniting speculation as to who will inherit the iconic role. No official announcement has been made but the Hollywood rumor mill has mentioned Henry Cavill, Idris Elba, and Tom Hardy as possible contenders.
Craig has publicly stated that the next Bond shouldn’t be a woman while his predecessor Pierce Brosnan said a female Bond would be “exciting.”
In the interview, Broccoli also discussed Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM, which controls the Bond movies.
“We knew that the studio would eventually be sold and Amazon was always one of the [companies]that was being considered. So, our feeling is that we do what we do and we’ve been told that things are not going to change,” she told the Reporter.
“I’ve never spoken to Jeff Bezos. We haven’t really had any discussions, and we probably won’t until next year when the sale is approved. But as far as we know, [Bond 26] will be an MGM film under an Amazon banner.”
Lashana Lynch made history, and woke journalists swooned, when she became the first female 007. But with Broccoli’s comments, barring any interference from Amazon, it would appear that Lynch’s MI6 agent likely will not be the central protagonist in the next film.
Daniel Craig himself was skeptical of the role being offered to a woman, choosing instead to insist equally good roles should already be out there for women and people of color, telling the Radio Times : “There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”