NERD MUSINGS; A Female Bond? Maybe...
Since the recent news broke about Danny Boyle dropping out of directing the next Bond film, (And Cary Fukunaga dropping in.) the Internet (At least the corners of it that aren't saddled with Nazis Assholes.) has been awash in speculation about the future of the series. And there's been the usual speculation about who the next Bond will be and will they make the next Bond a woman.
And honestly, I find that kind of problematic.
And not in the sense of “Wimmen can’t be Bond cause they have cooties”. Because they don’t. But in the simple honest fact that you can’t just take a character like James Bond who’s been around for fifty years and and give him lady bits like flicking on a light switch.
I mean, technically, you can. Because it’s a fictional character in a fictional world and if you decided to turn James Bond into a Lovecraftian Monster with penises for fingers, you can. (Good luck keeping that PG-13 rating though.) But, it would mean radically rewriting the rules you’ve established for the universe you’ve created over the previous 54 years.
I’m not saying you can’t reimagine Bond as a lady.
I’m just say that you’re going to have to extend some shoe leather first.
Before we start considering the question, we have to nail one thing down about the character. Is Bond either A), a single character that’s been played over the years by multiple actors or B) A codename designation for a certain type of agent. If it’s the latter, then the job becomes easier. MI6 needs a new Bond and this year’s top candidate just happens to be a lady. A development I could see M taking in stride.
UNDERLING: Sir, we’ve finished testing the new candidates and it seems the top candidate for 007 designation is…a woman.
M: Fine. Rename her Jane Bond and get her to Quartermasters for outfitting.
UNDERLING: But sir…there’s never been…I mean…in all the years of the 00 program…
M: U, The Sudan is on fire. North Korea is restarting it’s missile program and the US may be under the control of a Russian Mole.
We have bigger fish to fry!
So, now we have a plausible female Bond. (Who by the way, should be Alicia Vikander because she’s an accomplished actress who’s proven in TOMB RAIDER to have the physical acutity for the gig and is also a Brunette, which should throw a freaking bone to the purists.) And you could have fun with this reveal. As she’s waiting to be outfitted, we see her looking at portraits of previous Bonds with their real names. Sean Connery could be Angus McCavendish. Roger Moore’s could be…let’s say Bertram Pennington-Symth. (And let’s keep it 100%. Roger Moore was a Bertram. That needs to be Canon!)
And let’s be honest, instead of awkwardly flirting with Moneypenny, she could awkwardly flirt with Q. ( I can see Vikander and Ben Whishaw playing the hell out of these scenes.)
And as for the sex question, I say make her Bi. The Bond movies are primarily Power Fantasies so why not have the new Bond sexually aggressive with both sexes? (Within reason, of course. Consent is key. This ain’t the sixties for Christ’s sakes!)
But yeah, a codename designated Lady Bond could work like gangbusters.
(And yes, I know that we saw the graves of Bond’s parents in SKYFALL. But if we’re going to try to make this work, some retconing may be necessary.)
But what if it’s option A)? And Bond is a single character who’s been played by different actors? You can’t possibly suddenly make a character that’s been a man for 56 year into a lady, can you?
Well, you can. But it’s a big Goddamned swing.
You make Bond Transsexual.
(Bet you didn’t expect that when you started reading this post, did you?)
On the plus side, this would be a big step forward in Transgender representation, taking it out of exotic tokenism and into the mainstream.
The downside are the big issues that come with this change. Unlike the codename designation thing, you can’t really reverse it. You can’t have Bond deciding to transition and then switch back five years later because the actress decided to move on. You make Bond a Transgender Woman, it kind of has to stick.
The other problem is that this is a very tricky change to pull off for an established character and you have to navigate any number of gender issues. And you really have to ask yourself, do you want to explore transgender issues in an action/adventure milieu with the team that wrote SPECTRE?
The answer of course is no and that’s why if you do pull the trigger on this, you hire the Wachowski’s to make it.
Because when you want gender bending progressive, action cinema, they’re your Huckleberries.
Look, the culture is changing. And like it or not, (And if you don’t, why the hell have you read this far?) white males can no longer be the default setting for leads. We’ve been at the top of the heap for a hundred years and frankly, cinema could use some freshening up.
So, yeah. A female Bond, either cis or trans is fine with me.
And whatever the results, they can’t be any worse than A VIEW TO A KILL.