James Bond producer: 007 ‘can be of any color’ but never a woman

A woman is at the helm of the James Bond film franchise, but 007 will never be a woman as long as she’s in charge.

In an interview with Variety released Wednesday, Barbara Broccoli, who inherited control of the spy saga with her half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, in the 1990s, shared her thoughts on what the next Bond could look like. And while she’s open to some diversification, a female Bond is where she draws the line.

“He can be of any color, but he is male,” Broccoli told Variety. “I believe we should be creating new characters for women —strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”

In the buzz leading up to the spring release of the next Bond film, “No Time to Die,” many speculated that “Captain Marvel” actress Lashana Lynch would succeed Daniel Craig as the sophisticated MI6 agent. Amid a flurry of rumors sparked by her casting, the first official trailer for the highly anticipated sequel did eventually confirm Lynch’s status as a new 00 —but not that 00.

“The world’s moved on, Commander Bond,” Lynch’s Nomi tells the veteran operative in the trailer. “So stay in your lane. You get in my way, I will put a bullet in your knee.”

Another female newcomer to the series, “Knives Out” breakout Ana de Armas, recently told the Los Angeles Times that she looked forward to playing a different kind of Bond girl who is proof of the franchise’s progress.

“(She) is flawed. She says what she feels, she’s nervous, she’s scared. It’s human,” De Armas said of her character, Paloma. “When I read it, I was like, ‘Oh, wait —I can be a Bond girl. I’m that. I’m that messy.’ That’s what felt so attractive, on top of what she’s actually doing in the story, which is another step toward giving women a more powerful and strong place in the films.”

Judging by Broccoli’s recent comments, it’s safe to say a promotion to 007 isn’t and never was in the cards for Lynch or De Armas; however, the producer was open to evolving the brand in other ways. While the Bond films so far have always debuted in theaters, Broccoli entertained the idea of a future installment potentially landing on a streaming service like Netflix.

“We make these films for the audiences,” she said. “We like to think that they’re going to be seen primarily on the big screen. But having said that, we have to look to the future. Our fans are the ones who dictate how they want to consume their entertainment. I don’t think we can rule anything out, because it’s the audience that will make those decisions. Not us.”

The producer also shared her feelings about Craig’s plans to retire from the beloved character after his fifth 007 outing in “No Time to Die.”

“I’m in total denial,” she told Variety. “I’ve accepted what Daniel has said, but I’m still in denial. It’s too traumatic for me.”

“No Time to Die,” directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and co-written by “Fleabag” mastermind Phoebe Waller-Bridge, hits theaters April 10.

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