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While the 007 franchise has continued pumping out new movies at least once every few years since 1962’s Dr. No, changes have come to the franchise over time. In fact, Daniel Craig’s recent version of James Bond has done a lot to update the franchise, changing Bond’s tone, making the newer movies even more action-heavy, and giving more agency to its women.
Now that Bond 25 is currently in the process of coming together, even more changes are coming to the Bond franchise. Fresh off the news that James Bond will be a retired agent at the start of Bond 25, we’ve learned that allegedly a certain Captain Marvel star will be the new 007, albeit not the new James Bond.
Tucked amidst that report is a quote from someone on set alleging the movie hiring Lashana Lynch is only one of several female changes writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge has made on the set of Bond 25. From what an anonymous source told The Daily Mail, people on set have been tasked with not using the term “Bond girl” anymore, either.
Instead, on the set of Bond 25 the preferred term is reportedly “Bond woman,” according to an unnamed source close to the movie.
The person in question also mentioned the use of “Bond girl” is not only frowned upon, it’s “forbidden.” Basically, it’s been nixed from the lingo. It’s on the outs.
Now, although Lashana Lynch is allegedly signed on as yet another character in the long-running franchise that James Bond is attracted to, she’s reportedly not being called a Bond girl. This is in stark contrast to even the most recent 2015 Bond film Spectre, which made headlines for casting "the oldest Bond girl" in Monica Bellucci, who was 50 at the time.
First and foremost, the reports indicate Lashana Lynch's character rebuffs the former 007… at least at first. She’s also going to be a cool-as-a-cucumber spy in her own right. While, she’s not expected to be the James Bond replacement, who knows what the future could bring? Lynch herself has not confirmed she's taking over the 007 number, but she has been seen on the set of the new movie.
It seems like switching the mindset from “Bond girl” to “Bond woman” is in some ways more symbolic than anything else. It also is coming after Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been brought in to punch up the script for Bond 25. Although the status of the script remains unclear, the movie did begin production some time ago. And one of Waller-Bridge's big focal points has been making sure the franchise treats the ladies properly, even if James Bond remains James Bond.
In fact, she has spoken out on just this matter previously, noting:
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.
Plenty has been done already to update the women in this franchise. Judi Dench’s M was given much more to do than she was given during Pierce Brosnan’s tenure, at least until the events in Skyfall. M was not a “Bond girl” per se, but she was a key woman in this franchise who returned for multiple movies.
This version’s Moneypenny has also been modernized, starting out in the field and only returning to the office after accidentally shooting Bond and being given desk duty. Her character has been given more to do in the recent Bond movies as well.
Adding a character like the agent played by Lashana Lynch and changing the terminology should be simple and effective ways for the Killing Eve creator to give women a little more agency without changing who Daniel Craig’s James Bond is in the still-untitled Bond 25.
Although we've seen plenty of female characters in the franchise be flirtatious before falling into a sexy relationship with James Bond, the new 007 is expected to completely rebuff his advances, at least when we meet her. Where this will leave Daniel Craig’s James Bond as his character fades off into the sunset remains to be seen. This will be the last movie for Craig and his replacement has yet to be announced. Craig himself has said he feels "everybody should be considered" when it comes to hiring the Bond character for Bond 26.
We’re still likely months out from learning anything new about where the Bond franchise is headed post-James Bond. The latest movie isn't even out until April of next year, so I'm guessing the speculation will still be running rampant for a while. Still, there has been a lot of talk about potentially changing the gender and race of the popular film character and people have feelings and arguments both for why they think a casting type switch would be a good idea and why it would not be in some ways. It’s hard to tell if this rumored “Bond woman” phrasing will push any of those arguments forward in any way, but it is a reminder that the times are a changin’ as we move into the twilight of Daniel Craig's run as the character.
The Bond women are still likely to be beautiful and captivating on the big screen. I doubt that will shift, given that James Bond is also generally a fit and attractive character. Still, while some things never change, the preponderance for hanging on to old terminology looks like it may be dying. The Bond girl is dead. Long live the Bond woman.