James Bond Should Stay White, Male and British – Here's Why

James Bond is back to being a blank slate now that Daniel Craig's run has reached its conclusion in No Time to Die. Now everyone and their gardener has an opinion on who should play him next. "It should be a woman!" "Idris Elba should play him!" "It should be a black lesbian from Haiti who's deaf!" Producer and guardian of the franchise Barbara Broccoli has come out and said that James Bond should remain male and British but is open to him being played by a man of colour.

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Daniel Craig as Agent 007 James Bond in No Time to Die (2020). Image courtesy of MGM

There's a reason James Bond shouldn't be played by a man of colour: he's a symbol of British colonialism. Ian Fleming created the character in the 1950s, just as the British Empire was on the wane. Bond was the "blunt instrument of England." He was racist, sexist, misogynistic, and a rapist. The movies watered down the racist part, and by the 1970s, the misogynist and rapist parts were erased entirely. Bond became a symbol of British pride, a fantasy of British supremacy where it had none in real life. He is also a symbol of male supremacy.

The movie version of Bond is popular worldwide because he is the fantasy of the glamourous secret agent who lives the high life. His assignments are really holidays to exotic locations where he wore the best clothes, drank a lot, shagged the hottest women, and got to murder people with no repercussions. He continues to represent a British colonialist mentality and entitlement to go anywhere and wreak havoc under the excuse of saving the world. Bond wrecks a lot of real estate wherever he goes and leaves a large body count in his wake. To have a black or South Asian man playing Bond inadvertently represents a colonalised man doing Britain's bidding to mess things up in foreign countries, some of them former British colonies. It really is not a good look.

James Bond has always been a problematic character, and his fans have to turn a blind eye to those problems. If he weren't sexist, racist, or British, he would just be a Generic Secret Agent of Action who could be played by a person of any gender and any nationality, but it wouldn't be James Bond – those problematic parts are built-in. James Bond is an awful man. Maybe a man of colour will be the next James Bond, but that would only be a new layer of problems to the character.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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