With Daniel Craig turning in his license to kill after his fifth and final James Bond film, No Time to Die — which finally arrives in theaters on Oct. 8 — speculation is naturally rampant about the identity of the next 007. So far, the guardians of the long-running franchise, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, are keeping that particular secret hidden away in their own Q-designed vault. But that hasn't stopped fans from offering their own suggestions, with one common theme being that the new Bond should reflect the diversity of modern-day action heroes, not to mention the diversity of the modern-day audience for action movies.
Over the years, everyone from Idris Elba and Regé-Jean Page to Emily Blunt and Gal Gadot has been floated as a replacement for Craig. But the actor has his own thoughts on whether the time is right to reinvent the role so dramatically. In a new interview with Radio Times, Craig discussed why he thinks the conversation goes beyond Bond and should entail creating exciting new characters as opposed to reimagining existing ones.
"The answer to that is very simple," Craig said when asked about the possibility of a woman or actor of color taking over the franchise."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?"
It's worth noting that No Time to Die is already making history by featuring breakout Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch as the first Black actress to achieve "00" status. In fact, her character, Nomi, is rumored to actually be the new 007 in the film, at least until Bond comes out of his post-Spectre retirement. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar U.K. last year, Lynch described how she accepted the part because she'd be placed on equal footing with Craig and not "behind the man."
"I didn't want to waste an opportunity when it came to what Nomi might represent," she continued. "I searched for at least one moment in the script where Black audience members would nod their heads, tutting at the reality but glad to see their real-life represented. In every project I am part of, no matter the budget or genre, the Black experience that I'm presenting needs to be 100 percent authentic."
And, for the record, Lynch says that she doesn't want to inherit Bond's mantle herself. "Nooo! You don't want me!" she told The Guardian earlier this year. But unlike Craig, she does see a future in which James Bond changes along with the times. "We are in a place in time where the industry is not just giving audiences what it thinks the audience wants. They're actually giving the audience what they want to give the audience. With Bond, it could be a man or woman. They could be white, Black, Asian, mixed race. They could be young or old. At the end of the day, even if a 2-year-old was playing Bond, everyone would flock to the cinema to see what this 2-year-old's gonna do, no?"