With a new James Bond film directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Maniac) due for release next year, the question is resurfacing whether the suave — and, OK, flagrantly womanizing — British secret agent is relevant in today’s world. After all, even the franchise’s most ardent fans would have to admit that the women in the films tend to be either romantic conquests for Bond, damsels in distress, or femmes fatales.
There are exceptions, to be sure — Bond certainly met his match with the tragic Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), and Halle Berry’s Jinx is no doubt one of the most empowered Bond Girls the series has given us. But for every M, there are at least 25 characters in the Pussy Galore mold.
So, is the character of Bond, James Bond, an appropriate hero to modern moviegoing audiences, or an outdated icon from a bygone era? Well, writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is revising the script for the 25th Bond film — which some reports speculate may be called Eclipse (or is it Shatterhand?) — argues that the character of Bond is “absolutely relevant now.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women,” the writer behind the shows Fleabag and Killing Eve told Deadline. “I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now.”
Waller-Bridge, one of only two women in the franchise’s history to be credited on a Bond film’s script (the other being Johanna Harwood, who co-wrote the first two films in the series, Dr. No and From Russia With Love) added: “It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”
Perhaps with a woman punching up the script now, the women in the film have a fighting chance of being portrayed differently. (Hey, maybe Idris Elba’s idea of a future female Bond, once Daniel Craig retires his tux, could be another good way for the character to evolve?)