Daniel Craig has a new Bond film (Spectre) coming out in November 2015, and he is contracted for one more after that. But, contracts can be broken, and Craig has reportedly been trying to get out of it for some time, anyway. So, Sony higher-ups are apparently considering possible replacements. (Makes sense.) But, the current Co-Chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Amy Pascal, already has a favorite: Idris Elba. In a leaked email from January 2014, she expressed her enthusiasm for the idea to Elizabeth Cantillon, former Executive V.P. of Production for Columbia Pictures, which distributes the Bond movies. Elba seems open to it, though no official overtures have been made — or, at least, admitted to.
Elba is tall, attractive, and British, so he has those requirements down. He’s stylish, suave, and physically fit. He’s also a talented actor who I’m sure would do the role justice. Of course, Elba is also a Black man, whereas Bond was conceived — and has always been portrayed — as white. This has caused some hubbub among Bond fans and everyone else with an opinion. Even political commentator Rush Limbaugh has given his two-cents on the matter. (He’s against it. And, no, he’s not being racist. When he said, “I know it’s racist to probably even point this out…”, he was implying that the mainstream media would accuse him of being racist — and they have.)
Let me be clear… I have no problem with a Black super-spy or action hero. I would love to see Elba in a similar — but not too similar — leading role. (Btw, I haven’t seen him in “Luther”, yet.) But, Bond is an iconic character who has always been a particular race for decades, and changing it now wouldn’t make much sense, imho. That would be like making Superman or Batman non-white, or making Star Trek’s Capt. Benjamin Sisko other than Black. You can give another person the name/title, but it’s not the same character. It just doesn’t feel right, because (I think) the race has become part of who the character is. Of course, if we’re talking alternate realities / parallel worlds, you can pretty much play with the characters however you want. Another way around it that has been suggested is to have “James Bond” be just an alias, a code name used by a succession of spies (all ‘007’?). I’m open to that idea for Jason Bourne but not for Commander James Bond.
Yes, I realize that other changes have been made between the Bond novels and movies, even between movies. (For example, American agent Felix Leiter has been both Black and white. But, he is a supporting character with only sporadic appearances. Similar thing with the new Miss Moneypenny.) If there is to be any continuity or consistency with the other movies and/or the novels, the Bond that follows Craig’s should also be white. (Unless they do another “reboot”, and who wants that?)
Of course, you know I’ll still watch it, no matter what, right?
Just one man’s opinion….