James Bond is back in No Time To Die - but he's not 007 anymore. A new interview with Lashana Lynch, who plays an MI6 agent called Nomi in the film, confirmed that she has inherited the mantle of 007 from Bond.
It was first reported that Lynch would be playing the first female 007 in summer 2019, but at the time it was merely an unconfirmed rumor. Trailers for No Time To Die have similarly played coy, introducing Nomi as a Double-0 agent of two years, which would certainly fit with the idea of her taking over Bond's job after the end of Spectre, but not revealing her specific code number. It's now confirmed, though, that when Bond returns to MI6 next year he'll find that he's been replaced.
'Forever and a Day,' an official James Bond prequel novel written by Anthony Horowitz and including unpublished material by original Bond author Ian Fleming, was published in 2018. Telling the story of Bond's first mission as 007, 'Forever and a Day' confirmed that Double-0 agents are replaced after their death or retirement and that James Bond himself was not the first 007. In fact, the novel begins with the words, "So, 007 is dead," as M looks over photos of James Bond's predecessor (who was shot dead on the job) and prepares to send in his replacement. Loose continuity notwithstanding, the inclusion of other Double-o agents in the films has also indicated that they're replaced; a 009 is killed in Octopussy, while another unfortunate 009 gets his car stolen by Bond in Spectre.
The 007 code name is available for Nomi to take over because James Bond retired from the spy game at the end of Spectre. After the franchise was retconned to make Ernst Stavro Blofeld and the criminal organization SPECTRE the invisible hand behind all of the previous villains that Daniel Craig's Bond had faced, he ended up standing over an injured Blofeld on Westminster Bridge. Blofeld challenged Bond to shoot him, but the super-spy saw his latest great love, Dr. Madeleine Swann, standing on the bridge. He chose to let Blofeld live and left MI6 behind to explore his romance with Madeleine (though he took the Aston Martin with him).
The trailers for No Time To Die have revealed that Bond's blissful life with Madeleine will be interrupted by a violent attack that causes him to distrust her, draws him back to MI6, and forces him to seek Blofeld's help against a dangerous new enemy called Safin. He'll also have to work with the new 007, who appears less than impressed by Bond in the trailers, telling him, "The world's moved on, Commander Bond" and warning him to stay out of her way.
No Time To Die will be Craig's last film in the role of James Bond (though he also said that last time), so it will be interesting to see what happens to the 007 codename at the end of the movie. James Bond's producers have been resistant to the suggestion that the next Bond could be a woman, and there hasn't been much demand for it among fans either. Whereas another iconic British character, The Doctor, was relatively easy to gender-flip due to reasons of both personality and existing in a sci-fi universe, James Bond is the quintessential gentleman spy, and the franchise's longevity is arguably tied to its dependable status quo. Having a Black female agent inherit the 007 mantle is an interesting compromise, but it remains to be seen whether Nomi will stick around for more than one film.
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