Lashana Lynch, the British actress best known for her star-making role in this year’s “Captain Marvel,” is reportedly first black woman 007 agent to join the 55-year James Bond franchise.
Note that careful distinction: “007 agent.”
In the upcoming “Bond 25,” Lynch will not be overwriting Daniel Craig’s beloved Bond so much as she’ll be playing a new 007 character, a woman named Nomi who takes over after a wearied Bond ducks into retirement.
The film will open serenely, with Bond reclining into his life of luxury in Jamaica after having retired at the end of his last escapade in 2015′s “Spectre.”
But the movie’s initial calm doesn’t last for very long — an insider has reported that “there is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says, “Come in, 007,” and in walks Lashana, who is black, beautiful and a woman.”
Obviously, Bond won’t be able to resist the new agent’s charm or her brilliance, but she’ll be largely disinterested in his pursuit of her ... at least at first.
The 007 codename reassignment to Lynch marks a major moment for the franchise, which is among the longest, continually-running series in history and has fielded complaints for years over the persistent whiteness of its cast and treatment of its female characters.
This comes on the heels of Brie Larson playing the titular character in “Captain Marvel,” and the recent announcement that Halle Bailey will be playing Ariel in Disney’s forthcoming, “The Little Mermaid.”
The addition of Nomi to the Bond universe appears to have been largely motivated by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of “Fleabag” and “Killing Eve” who wrote the “Bond 25” movie script in an effort to modernize its storyline.
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Bond is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women,” she told the Daily Mail.
″[The franchise] 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 his character.”
Lynch, who is 31 and a Jamaican-born, British actor, made her big debut in 2011′s “Fast Girls,” but her breakthrough was her role as the fighter pilot Maria Rambeau in “Captain Marvel.”
She had her first leading role on Shonda Rhimes’ ABC period drama, “Still Star-Crossed,” and was classically trained in theatre from the prestigious performing arts Sylvia Young Theatre School, which has produced enormous stars, such as Amy Winehouse, Rita Ora, and former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, aka Baby Spice.
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Bond is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.”
The Bond retreat is particularly interesting and fairly predictable, given Craig’s admission in late 2015 that he was sick and tired of playing the debonair man, and that, if he was to do another Bond film — which he really, really didn’t want to do — “it would only be for the money.”
Bond will, of course, remain a crucial part of the movie’s plot. It’s been reported that he will be emerging from retirement to help Lynch — Nomi, rather — fight off a new villain, who will be played by Rami Malek.
“Bond 25” will hit theatres in April 2020.