As historic as the James Bond franchise has been over the course of its soon to be 55 years of operation, there’s some traditions that have been in much need of an overhaul. None was more notably phased out of the modern era of Bond than the stereotype known as the “Bond Girl.” It’s a concept that’s so outmoded at this point that even the man who plays 007 himself, Daniel Craig, has gone on record as saying he doesn’t appreciate such terminology in a modern context.
He said as much in a recent interview, profiling his No Time To Die and Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas, throwing down this verbal gauntlet to anyone who still uses that term:
I don’t even call them Bond girls. I’m not going to deny it to anybody else. It’s just, I can’t have a sensible conversation with somebody if we’re talking about ‘Bond girls.’
In the past, the “Bond Girl” has been a stock companion who assisted 007 in some way, but ultimately fell for him by the end of the film. Usually saddled with a punny nickname, as highlighted by the Vanity Fair cover story this discussion comes from, they’re the means to an end for James Bond’s formerly womanizing ways, and a quick joke or two.
But in recent years, that concept has thankfully fallen away, especially in the Craig era of films, in favor of more three dimensional characters. While romance is definitely still part of the game, as Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd and Lea Seydoux’s Dr. Madeleine Swann have both provided James with the loves of his life, those characters exist as emotional counterbalances to Bond’s more rugged nature.
In fact, No Time To Die probably wouldn’t have seen Ana de Armas’ new CIA agent Paloma taking the stage if it wasn’t for the fact that de Armas was careful when considering what her new character brought to the table. Naturally, as the production on the 25th James Bond movie progressed, there were quite a few developments that came to light that only hammer home how the concept of a “Bond Girl” seemed good and dead with this new movie.
With Dr. Swann and James Bond’s relationship flaming out, and the good doctor possessing a secret that will supposedly drive Bond off the deep end, No Time To Die’s story seems to see James making more emotional mistakes with his female counterparts. Newer 007 films haven’t been afraid to give our hero a romantic Achilles Heel, and as seen in Madeleine’s return for a second adventure, No Time To Die isn’t going to let him get away from this relationship as easily as his past reputation would dictate.
It’s also no secret that the film’s story has been worked on by Fleabag and Killing Eve writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, someone who has promised that this new film would “treat women properly”. These latest remarks from Daniel Craig only further show how in sync he is with Waller-Bridge’s hiring, as he’s previously defended her hiring to those who might have sounded like they thought her skills were enlisted solely for socially conscious reasons.
If you needed proof that the “Bond Girl” was dead, just watch the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films. The stories have evolved, as well as the characters, to provide a more equal playing field for all involved. Should No Time To Die go off without a hitch, it will be nice to see Ana de Armas holding her own alongside Daniel Craig once again. Plus, fingers crossed, this film’s success will help bring that same sort of energy to the tenure of Craig’s successor, provided those rumors about Bond 26 are true.
We’ll have to see what No Time To Die bring first, as it opens on April 10th.