Warning: The following contains spoilers for the 2021 James Bond film, No Time To Die.
With the long-awaited No Time To Die finally released, speculation has started once again that the next actor to play 007 could be female. The long-standing fan theory that all the actors who have played James Bond have been playing a different character with the same codename, which explains how he’s barely aged in half a century (and how he manages to have so many different faces) has also (sort of) come true.
A female Bond could be easily explained within the story. Or maybe she doesn’t have to be explained at all. Would it really be so out of the box if movie audiences have another few standalone spy stories in the Bond franchise and the lead is a woman and that’s never addressed? It doesn’t get addressed when Bond changes from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig, so why does this need an on-screen explanation? Whether the movies ever decide to fully commit to a female 007 or not, these actresses would be great for the part.
Updated on October 27th, 2021 by Amanda Bruce: Though some fans maintain that 007 shouldn’t be female and that new female roles should be created within the franchise, there’s also a large contingent of fans who are ready for the super spy to be a woman. As the franchise’s audience evolves, shouldn’t the franchise itself do the same? Women in the movies shouldn’t solely be Bond girls and receptionists anymore. That has started to change with actresses like Ana de Armas and Naomie Harris allowing for the Bond girl to evolve, but Bond as a woman would be the ultimate evolution.
Best known for playing Peggy Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hayley Atwell is on her way to being a bona fide action star thanks to a role in the Mission: Impossible franchise. While her role as Carter, especially in the Agent Carter television series, relies on a lot more physical comedy, Atwell more than proves she has the chops to play the dramatic action-heavy role of 007.
Atwell’s Carter gets to have the romantic comedy aspects of Captain America: The First Avenger, but also gets to show raw emotion and grief in the first season of Agent Carter. She gets some fantastic fight sequences opposite Bridget Regan as well, making her a fun pick for a future 007.
Though Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been acting since 2005, it wasn’t until Beyond the Lights and Belle debuted that she developed a worldwide audience who took notice of her talent. She’s got an incredibly diverse body of work in action, comedy, and drama, playing as part of the ensemble as often as she’s the lead.
Her recent role in Marvel’s Loki on Disney+ put her in the position to play a character whose entire world is upended but is never allowed to “break” emotionally. That perfect control (and fight sequences) is a good snapshot of how she could play a calm and collected Bond even as a plan falls apart.
For years, Ruth Negga has been in a position to quietly take on complicated roles, giving characters immense amount of depth, without being under the microscope that blockbuster franchises place on their stars. It’s entirely possible that she wouldn’t want to join a major franchise like Bond, though she has already dabbled in that world with roles in the World of Warcraft movie and Agents of SHIELD.
Negga earned a slew of accolades for her turn in Loving, and will likely do the same in Netflix’s Passing. She’s also earned genre cred from TV audiences and comic book fans by playing Tulip in Preacher. 007 wouldn’t be a massive leap for her. Maybe she could even pick Daniel Craig’s brain about the role since she’s set to appear on Broadway in Macbeth with him.
Lily James is, perhaps, best known for musicals and romantic comedies. She took on Cinderella and Mamma Mia Here We Go Again, stepping into iconic roles made famous by others already. She’s got experience making a role her own while still honoring the past.
Though she’s mostly done that in musical fare, James isn’t a complete stranger to action either. She’s mostly appeared as a love interest in action, like Baby Driver, but also showed that she could hold her own in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It might not be the best Pride and Prejudice story ever told, but James was engaging and deadly in the part.
Technically, Lashana Lynch has already been a female 007. No Time To Die proved fans at least partially correct in their assessment of a rotating cast of Bonds when she appeared as the new 007. Her name might not have been James Bond, but Lynch still proves that a woman could take on the role.
Her character walks away from the job by the film’s end, but fans are already speculating that Lynch’s character could get her own spinoff if producers are willing to do it. That would be a step in the right direction for bringing women into a different kind of spotlight for the franchise.
In 2016, Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke said in an interview, “I have a lot of unrealized dreams. I would love to play Jane Bond.” While the movie itself wasn’t well-received, Clarke’s turn as Sarah Connor in Terminator: Genisys proved she was an action star just waiting to break out from the small screen.
Solo: A Star Wars Story proved that she can give an engrossing and thought-provoking turn when surrounded by big-budget spectacle and trying to meet franchise fanboys’ sky-high expectations – not to mention her performance as Daenerys Targaryen on the hit HBO fantasy series. She could easily be “Jane Bond.”
TV fans have seen Claire Foy’s high-society regal side in her award-winning portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s gargantuan drama series The Crown. But they’ve also seen her darker, more action-oriented side in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Foy has both sides of the British acting coin to make her the ideal actor to play 007.
Plus, with her time on Netflix’s The Crown at an end, Foy could be looking for another long-term gig. What’s more stable than getting cast as James (or Jane) Bond?
From Mission: Impossible 2 to The Chronicles of Riddick, Thandiwe Newton is no stranger to action movies. But she also brings humanity to all of her roles, as demonstrated by her powerful BAFTA-winning portrayal in the star-studded race examination Crash and her Emmy-turning turn as a sentient android in HBO’s sci-fi epic Westworld.
Newton is one of those immensely talented actors who can play anyone, from Condoleezza Rice to Norbit’s love interest (okay, Norbit’s no masterpiece, but it shows Newton’s range). She was recently awarded the OBE, so if there’s any actress that the British public will accept as a female Bond, it’s her.
When Priyanka Chopra was asked if she’d want to play the femme fatale in one of the Bond movies, she simply replied, “I get that all the time. But f*** that – I want to be Bond.” In the recent reboot of Baywatch, Chopra played the villain, an oil tycoon.
Unsurprisingly, the role was written as male in the original script, but because Chopra didn’t want to be another bikini-wearing lifeguard, she ended up landing the part. If she keeps kicking down those doors and changing the minds of those stubborn studio executives, she’ll be a female Bond in no time. She’s already shown her ability to play a spy in the television series Quantico. Bond wouldn’t be a big leap.
Daisy Ridley was completely unknown when J.J. Abrams cast her as Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. But thanks to her engaging performance in those movies, she’s now one of the most recognizable movie stars in the world.
With The Rise of Skywalker wrapping up the Skywalker saga, Ridley likely has her pick of roles. If she’s interested in a new franchise though, Bond is a good route. The audience rooted for Rey in the way they need to root for Bond. If Ridley is up for it, moviegoing audiences would surely be happy with her trading in the lightsaber for a Walther PPK.
Though she’s famous for her role of Maggie Greene on The Walking Dead, perhaps Lauren Cohan could swap shooting zombies for shooting henchmen. In TWD, she’s already taken on a flamboyant villain with a defining quirk and an unstoppable army, Negan, so she’d have no trouble turning her sights to a character like Blofeld or Goldfinger.
Cohan recently played a secret agent alongside Mark Wahlberg in the action thriller Mile 22, which was intended to be the beginning of a multi-picture action franchise. It didn’t make a huge splash at the box office, so sequels seem unlikely, but Cohan proved she could hold her own in that kind of movie.
The ending of Skyfall seemed to be setting up Naomie Harris as a female star of the franchise. The audience saw her involved in all the action scenes, even though she did accidentally shoot Bond with a sniper rifle. She traveled the globe to all the exotic locations Bond went to, even though she did end up sleeping with him.
Still, despite the trappings of the “Bond girl” role, Harris struck a chord with fans and seemed to set up a long stint in the franchise with the reveal that her name was Moneypenny (Moneypenny as a field agent, not a receptionist and target of flirtation) and she did return in Spectre. She could easily just take over after Daniel Craig leaves, as long as the producers want the newer films to have a tangible continuity.
While news surfaced that Lupita Nyong’o had passed on the “Bond girl” role in the new James Bond movie, there’s no reason she couldn’t just play the lead role herself. She’s proven her acting chops time and time again, including as the butt-kicking matriarch in Jordan Peele’s horror opus Us and, of course, in her astoundingly powerful Oscar-winning turn in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
Plus, Nyong’o already played an undercover spy last year in Black Panther. That whole South Korea scene felt like a better Bond sequence than fans have seen in the actual Bond movies for years.
In the past few years, Charlize Theron has proven herself to be one of the most badass action movie heroines around. She stole Mad Max: Fury Road from the title character and then played a darker, grittier, more violent, more political version of James Bond in the spy thriller Atomic Blonde.
There’s no doubt she would make a great Bond. Even Chris Hemsworth has publicly supported Theron’s casting: “She embodies every ounce of strength and nobility and dignity and integrity that that character should have.”
Emily Blunt already missed out on the chance to play one badass super-spy, Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to scheduling conflicts. The gods of the film industry will be able to redeem themselves if they make her the next Bond instead. She’s one of the most beloved actresses in Britain and she’s more than qualified for the role.
We’ve seen her as a skilled and fiercely driven fighter in movies like Edge of Tomorrow – in which she also used Bond-like high-tech gadgets – and Sicario. She also carried a convoluted, twist-filled thriller with The Girl on the Train – and she had to play that character as heavily intoxicated half the time. It’s a no-brainer that Emily Blunt would make a terrific Bond.
NEXT: 15 Best James Bond Opening Action Scenes
- No Time to Die/James Bond 25 (2021)Release date: Oct 08, 2021
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