Although I support the message behind this James Bond Supports International Women’s Day video, I’m not really a fan of the video itself. I don’t really see how having Daniel Craig as James Bond just stand there for a bit, and then return in drag, adequately conveys the inequality between the way men and women are treated in society. Surely having a woman (say, Naomie Harris) perform Bond’s lines, while Daniel Craig delivers the Miss Moneypenny lines, would better convey how men and women are treated differently in all walks of life?
Could there ever be a female James Bond? This may seem like a silly question: That James Bond is a man (a womanising man, no less) seems to be a ‘defining feature’. I raise the question because the Overthinkers recently asked whether you could have a gay James Bond. After all, there are homo-erotic moments in Skyfall and Bond even hints he has had homosexual experiences. Could there be a black James Bond? Could a popular black British actor like Idris Elba take on the role when Daniel Craig retires?
I think you can have a black James Bond, and a gay James Bond, and woman James Bond, if you consider ‘James Bond’ to be simply a codename. Perhaps it is simply the name given to any and every MI6 agent who is designated ‘007’. This would explain how Bond is able to persist as an active field operative for the British Secret Service from 1962 to at least 2012 and have six different faces.
This is a much better explanation than that the franchise has simply been ‘rebooted’ (as modern parlance has it). Throughout the series of Bond films, there is a constant overlap of charaters and actors. Desmond Llewellyn played Q opposite Connery, Lazenby, Moore and Dalton, for example… so all four of those Bond’s cleary exist in the same continuity. Judi Dench plays M opposite both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. The former flirts with Samantha Bond’s Miss Moneypenny in all three of his films, and yet the latter somehow meets a different Miss Moneypenny for the first time at the end of Skyfall! None of this works unless ‘James Bond’ is just the name that MI6 bestows on whoever is designated 007 at the time.
The fact that all the James Bond’s share character traits is easily explained under this thesis, because being a Government sponsored killer requires a very specific personality. Being able to make witty jokes as you murder rival agents, or callously seduce then abandon women, are essential elements to the skillset.
The implications of this realisation are shocking. It means that ‘James Bond’ is expendable and can retire, or die. In either case, a new James Bond will fill his tuxedo. And the replacement may be female, gay, or black… or all three. Just so long as they can get the mission done.
Yes, I am aware that Casino Royale (1967) features multiple James Bonds, but other than David Niven’s character, these are all decoys. If we were to try to crowbar this spoof film into the wider James Bond continuity, I suppose we could say that the Niven character gets the idea for the decoy Bonds precisely because James Bond is not his original name either.