The future of film franchises

Sanne Peek, Contributing Writer

According to Daniel Craig, the next James Bond should not be played by a woman. Headlines reviewing the interview with Radio Times are creating an image that the actor is bigoted; meanwhile, the actual interview paints a much different picture. 

Craig has been unenthusiastic about playing the legendary role of 007 for a number of years now as he believes the role itself is sexist. In his more feminist response to the question about the future of the Bond role, Craig stated, “There should simply be better parts for women and actors of color. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?” The sentiment can be felt as Hollywood, in a ‘strive for inclusivity,’ has produced a number of films in recent years featuring women in adaptations of previously male-led casts: rather than create roles made for women and people of color in the first place. 

Despite playing the character for 15 years, Craig does not seem to relish the role. He has said the character of Bond is sexist and in one interview with Time Out London in 2015 that if he “did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.” Apparently, Craig cheaped out as he stars in the 2021 film “No Time to Die” before finally retiring his depiction of Bond to move on to other projects. 

Understandably, there’s a reason for Craig’s disenchantment with the role. James Bond, in layman’s terms, is a jackass. The elusive character of a British super spy was first created in 1953 and his values, arguably, stayed in that same time period; he goes around fighting crime and acquiring a woman or two for the journey only to drop them before the end of the movie so a new woman could take the role in the next film. 

Its first film released in 1962, the Bond franchise is the longest continually running film series of all time; in each of the film’s iterations, white male actors have played the role. As Craig’s 15 year run as James Bond comes to an end, fans have speculated whether or not a woman might take over in his absence. Personally, I find that James Bond is a blasphemous, sexist, power-hungry individual and I don’t think anyone embodies that better than a straight white man. 

So often, women and people of color are given the backends of an already established franchise, and we as the audience are expected to pat Hollywood on the back and state what a good job they’re doing for finally including someone other than a white man for once. There are amazing Black, Asian and Hispanic actors and actresses who deserve more and we should be giving it to them. Rather than changing an iconic role make one. Make a role for a woman and people of color: fund and publicize it the same way for generations of movies like the Bond franchise. 

If a woman were to play the role of 007 she’d undoubtedly do an amazing job, the only problem is she will always be referred to as the ‘female Bond’ of the franchise. Anytime actresses take on a role of an already established male-led franchise, their part is consistently reduced to the ‘female-led one.’ We’ve seen it with “Ocean’s Eight” as an amazing list of actresses took on the parts of the cast of the “Ocean’s Eleven” series, as well as with the female “Ghostbusters.”

Rather than pander off a singular movie, why can’t there be roles made for women? A movie can only become iconic in Hollywood if time and money are given to the project. Audiences have heard different actors in expensive black suits say “Martini shaken, not stirred” as they jump around in million-dollar sets for nearly 60 years: no wonder roles like James Bond become so well known. If we give women and people of color the same opportunities, then similar iconic roles will ensue.

The sooner we start to create characters made for people of color and women, the sooner other generations can have similar iconic roles to look up to. When time and money are put in favor of diversity and inclusion, Hollywood can become a place for all people to look up to, not just white men. Maybe then we can see a woman or person of color in a role more famous than Bond’s drink order.