While No Time to Die introduced Ana de Armas’s fan-favorite character Paloma, it also marked the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond, opening the conversation about the potential to finally cast a woman in the iconic role. The character was created by British novelist Ian Fleming in 1953, and Bond has been portrayed by seven different actors on film: Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. Craig’s fifth and final outing, No Time to Die, tied up his story definitively, paving the way for the chatter to begin about the search for the next Bond.
While Craig has weighed in on the possibility of a female taking on the role of James Bond, suggesting that new roles of equal weight should be created specifically for women instead. While he’s right, the name James Bond holds such cultural weight, and a woman taking the reins would be historic. It would also be fitting for a franchise that has often been a symbol of debonair misogyny to flip the script and focus on a female star and a feminist lens.
No Time to Die introduced and underutilized Ana de Armas’s Paloma, an irrepressible CIA agent who claims to only have three weeks of training, but she shone in her brief screentime, leaving fans wanting more. The next natural step for the film series is to soft-reboot James Bond with Ana de Armas returning as Paloma to serve as the new Bond’s equivalent to Craig’s Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). The franchise has already demonstrated the success of this strategy, as Judi Dench smoothed the transition from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig, playing Bond’s boss M opposite both actors. Incidentally, Dench also represents a seamlessly gender-bent character, setting the stage for a female James Bond. Here are some of the actresses who could conceivably make this dream a reality, complementing Ana de Armas and carrying the franchise.
Emily Blunt has already proven herself as a capable and compelling action star in Edge of Tomorrow, opposite Tom Cruise. She has also played an FBI agent in Sicario, a role for which she received Oscar buzz. In fact, Blunt has been in the awards conversation for quite a few of her roles, just missing for Into the Woods, A Quiet Place, and Mary Poppins Returns too. She turns in consistently good performances and has what it takes to shine in a combat- and stunt-heavy role. Her stoic bravura as Bond would also make her the perfect foil to Ana de Armas’s bubbly persona, setting them up for a dynamic rife with chemistry and banter.
Florence Pugh’s career has taken off very quickly, and she is now a massive star. She starred in three massively successful movies in 2019: Fighting With My Family, Midsommar, and Little Women. All three of Florence Pugh’s movie roles are so incredibly different, showcasing her impressive range and magnetic energy. She received an Academy Award nomination for portraying Amy March in Little Women — a wildly different role from James Bond, but a significant milestone nonetheless. Pugh also demonstrated her ability to hold down an action franchise in this year’s Black Widow as the scene-stealing Yelena Belova. She and de Armas would harmonize with one another perfectly, establishing a lively and genuine connection as easily as Pugh and Scarlett Johansson did in Black Widow.
Michaela Coel is a “jane” of all trades, having won an Emmy this year for her semi-autobiographical writing on HBO’s I May Destroy You, a show which she also created, starred in, and directed (she was also nominated for Emmys as an actor, director, and producer). She had previously succeeded in creating, writing, and starring in her own show with the off-beat comedy Chewing Gum as well. While she may be an unconventional choice for Bond, she is a bold and exciting presence on the screen, with a striking look and an astonishing range. She would gel with de Armas’s character with no problems, and she would absolutely not shy away from an unflinchingly feminist take on Bond.
Anya Taylor-Joy has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom over the last year after her breathtaking performance as a tortured chess grandmaster in Netflix’s semi-true story The Queen’s Gambit. She established her even more of her range in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho this year; she also delivered standout performances in The New Mutants, Split, and Glass. She is also set to play a younger version of Charlize Theron’s Furiosa in George Miller’s prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, which is sure to make her a staple for feminist action films. Her intensity and aloofness will deftly counteract Ana de Armas’s bright and breezy Paloma and make for a compelling Bond.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been one of those actors who consistently turns in memorable supporting performances, with just a handful of leading roles under her belt. This year, she took on the role of interdimensional agent Ravonna Renslayer in Disney+’s Loki series, and she held her own, leaving viewers wanting more. Mbatha-Raw first gained acclaim in Belle, playing a character that truly showcased her strength and stardom. Her beloved performance in Black Mirror‘s “San Junipero” episode and her notable turns in The Morning Show, A Wrinkle in Time, and Motherless Brooklyn show off her range and capacity for expertly capturing the emotional core of a character. She would make for a poised and emotionally intelligent Bond, well-suited to bounce off of de Armas’s playful energy while forging her own path.
Despite not yet achieving wide recognition, Jessica Henwick has already held her own in an impressive array of popular franchises. She played X-wing pilot Jess Testor in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a small but interesting role. Henwick also played Nymeria Sand in Game of Thrones, a controversial role among fans that showcased her nonetheless. Most notably, she played martial arts expert Colleen Wing in Netflix’s Iron Fist series, which highlights her potential as an action star. Her career is on the precipice of exploding, with the impending release of The Matrix Resurrections, in which Henwick plays Bugs, a new character that is sure to set her up to play even more action roles, such as Bond. She would bring a fierce and steely verve to complement Ana de Armas’s fizzy Paloma and establish her as a perfect reimagining of James Bond.
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About The Author
Dylan Connor (20 Articles Published)
Dylan Connor is a freelance writer who measures time with MCU releases and Nicole Kidman performances. He has degrees in English Education and Theatre from Hope College. When not bingeing his latest obsession or lining up at the movies with his partner Syd, he is playing board games, playing with his cats, or attempting to catch up on his insane gaming and reading backlogs.