Boyega, the next James Bond?
Competition Brief: Competition Brief: Who Should Be the Next James bond and Does it Matter?

Beginning in 1962, James Bond has been a staple of the film industry ever since.

In order, he has been portrayed by:

  • Sean Connery (1962 – 1971), David Niven (1967), George Lazenby (1969), Roger Moore (1973 – 1985), Timothy Dalton (1987 – 1989), Pierce Brosnan (1995 – 2002), Daniel Craig (2006 – 2021)

The classic character, a British Secret Agent, is set in contemporary setting and perhaps that’s just it. The contemporary setting is not a static things. The real life British Secret Service certainly cannot be stagnant and must evolve and so why not the artistic franchises that reflect it?

Government intelligence agencies are fundamentally pragmatic institutions. Art, and the world of art, has the option at least to be anything but pragmatic. It can serve any number of purposes including nostalgia, social commentary, or nothing but the joy of its creation.

Art, in the form of blockbuster movies at least, is tied to business and business, no surprise, must be pragmatic. Here, at the intersection of art, culture, and business lies an important intersection of considerations. The tremendous success of the James Bond franchise means that the decision cannot help but go unnoticed even though, fundamentally, what difference does it make? From X-ray shades to alligator submarines and laser space battles, James Bond routinely forays into the ridiculous and so should we, the public, even care who plays this fanciful figment of imagination?

Happy Fanalyzing

Statement of Fact
  • James Bond is based on a fictional character from the novels by Ian Fleming.
  • The first movie was release in 1962.
  • Daniel Craig was the last actor to play the iconic character.
  • Daniel Craig is retiring and this opens the way for another to take his spot.

When it was announced that No Time to Die would be Daniel Craig’s last movie under the 007 Franchise, having performed the role well but not quite as excellently as the likes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan, I knew we were in for a debate about his replacement. One of the many things Craig and his predecessors had in common was the fact they were all white men. Surprisingly, this also cropped up as part of the debate. Without a doubt, the Agent 007 that Ian Fleming created in his books before the numerous film adaptations we would later enjoy in motion pictures was a white character. And, to a large degree, Craig and the rest brought the character to life in their respective portrayals, especially Bond’s whiteness. James Bond just has to be white. However, when it comes to film adaptations, the possibilities are endless.

Because of this and given the times, especially with the global clamor for an end to racism and the need to address other nagging issues related to diversity, casting a black man as the next James Bond wouldn’t be a bad idea. Whether you agree with this opinion of mine or not, I would like you to see why I think it matters and, of course, who should play the role. The “White” Black Panther versus “Black” James Bond Debate There is no way to enter this argument, defend the idea of a black James bond, and come out triumphant. It’s simply impossible. Wake Fleming up from his grave and throw the proposition at him. His reaction would be a no-no outright. Mr. Bond is essentially white and, as such, having Jamie Fox or Denzel Washington play his character would be tantamount to casting a white man as the King of Wakanda, or Agent Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe. It wouldn’t make much sense, right? You bet.

Growing up as a kid in a Sub-Sahara African country, I soaked in a lot of American and British pop cultures. The majority of the iconic characters and superheroes were white. I never imagined that sometime in the future I would put pen to paper and go, “Dang it! Why not a black James Bond?” So, I understand those with deep sentiments about the whiteness or blackness of certain fictional characters they have grown accustomed to from childhood. Nonetheless, things have changed in today’s world. We are beginning to embrace the diversities that are replete in our world. This is unfolding in many ways in entertainment, art, and sports across the world. Hollywood is making strides to create movies that factor in diversity (especially in race and sexuality) and more inclusive minority representation. We now see on the big screen more minorities playing superheroes and main characters. And, many A-rated script writers are becoming more comfortable threading the gray areas of diversity in their interpretation of characters.

This development has given me (and I’m sure other Bohemians) a glimmer of hope that even though society still views some characters as innately white or black, Mr. John Boyega will make a massive killing of the character of James Bond. Sounds far-fetched? Maybe. But, it’s a fantasy that makes sense if considered beyond the young actor’s skin pigment. Boyega’s Got All it Takes!

John Boyega’s performance as Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 put him under the global spotlight. After replicating this stellar performance in the subsequent films in the Star Wars Trilogy, including The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019), I knew this
young British star would stay shining for a long time.

James Bond is a difficult character to interpret successfully but I believe Boyega’s got a great mix of qualities that guarantee a killing of the role. He’s handsome and can interpret all of Bond’s trademark mannerisms, features, and traits. His involvement in a good number of action films and miniseries in the past few years makes it easy to imagine excelling at doing the daredevil stunts characteristic of James Bond. As many of us junkies of 007 movies know, James Bond is stylish, eloquent, and highly charismatic. He knows how to handle all kinds of conversations and plays the mentalist whenever it suits him. His good looks complement his flirtatious skills. Having watched many films that feature Boyega, I know he has got all it takes to play Bond just as excellently as Sean Connery.

But, for many people, if there was ever going to be a black James Bond, it has to be Idris Elba. Without a doubt, he fits the profile perfectly and would have been my first pick too. However, the current producer of the 007 Franchise, Barbara Broccoli along with her team has enjoyed the benefit of sticking to an actor for a long time.

When Pierce Brosnan was featured in Golden Eye, he was about 42 years old while Daniel Craig is only 54 after playing James Bond in five full-length movies between 2006 and 2021. Elba is 50 already! Doing a one-off like David Niven and George Lazenby did in the late 1960s might not be good business today. Therefore, I think age favors the likes of Boyega who just entered his 30s. Remember, Sir Sean Connery could only feature in seven Bond films over 21 years because he started at 32 or thereabout.

I enjoy the fact that some people have tipped Lashana Lynch as a suitable replacement for Craig. This consideration must have been inspired by Lynch’s stellar performance as Nomi in No Time to Die in which she took up the role of 007 at the beginning of the movie after James Bond had retired. If the idea of a Boyega was far-fetched, Lynch’s would be a lot more of a shocker and, whether we admit it or not, a BLACK FEMALE BOND might seem too inclusive for traditionalists and more like a pipe dream. I am in love with this idea. But, I’d rather we start breaking such ceilings as this on a modest note. High doubts for even the man himself

I have to admit that it would take an incredible stroke of luck for the owners of the franchise to subscribe to Boyega or any other capable black actor (there are many of them by the way) as the next James Bond. Unsurprisingly, Boyega once expressed his doubts about the proposition in a couple of recent interviews, though acknowledging that he might jump at such an opportunity. Who wouldn’t? His doubts hinge on his experience as a black actor in both Hollywood and the movie industry in the UK. Despite the fame and fortune that came with his role as Finn in Star Wars Trilogy, he would express his frustration about being “the only cast member whose experience of Star Wars was based on their race.” Casting him as Bond would be despite his race. Wouldn’t that be an awesome thing?

I wish to reiterate that fictional books and their film adaptations make room for endless possibilities. Nothing is fundamentally white or black. While I continue to fantasize about this thought, Barbara Broccoli has already pointed out to us that it would take some time to announce the next James Bond. According to her, the decision is a big one that requires “a whole rethink” about the future of the franchise. Hopefully, this rethink would favor a black man. And, of course, I hope it turns out to be Boyega.

Adegoke Gbadamosi is a Journalist, Freelance Ghostwriter and Editor.


  • Jb

    This is such refreshing view. As I read through the article, I tried to imagine a black James Bond, and it does offer a startling break in ‘norm’. If there is ever a time for such an experiment, it is now!

    • Oluwafemi

      Reading through this article, I enjoyed the depth of the researcher. However, I know this opinion is based on fantasy, as I don’t see Barbara Broccoli going for a black man as the next James Bond. But, on a second thought, if this is to be considered, Boyega should be ready to contend with other fine actors from the black race for this role.

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