James Bond will return… and so will the inevitable speculation

It feels like we’ve been waiting an age to see 007 again, but eager as we are to see No Time To Die, there seems to be a huge swathe of the internet and British press determined to skip over Daniel Craig’s swansong completely and get straight to the speculation about who’s going to take his place.

Of course, there’s a place for that, but taking a look at social media or listening to the radio today, it seems the discussions have again been overtaken by lazy, ugly discourse which – frankly – isn’t helpful, entertaining or shining a positive light on some of those taking part.

Adopts Desmond Llewellyn voice

“Oh, grow up 007 ‘fans’.”

Yes, it’s that time again when the star of the long-running movie franchise is on his way out and the tabloids are desperate to whip up some controversy by speculating that a young, handsome ascending star of a recently popular TV show might be in line to take his place.

But… wait for it… his skin is a different colour to the other actors who’ve previously played the role and OHMYGOD ISN’T THAT SHOCKING?! HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION AND HELP US EXPOSE THIS HORRIFIC ABUSE OF THE CHARACTER!

Now, I’ve never seen Bridgerton, so I can’t speak as to his acting abilities but I have seen pictures of Rege-Jean Page wearing some pretty well-tailored suits and a tuxedo and I’ll be the first to admit he looks pretty dapper.

You could argue that putting any actor, especially a British one, in a tuxedo seems like a surefire way to make a link with the role, but holding up a young Black actor for this kind of online abuse for a role he hasn’t actually been linked with is just cruel – let the guy get on with his job, for Q’s sake!

Once again, the same old trolls are trotting out the same old arguments – my personal favourite is: “You wouldn’t cast a white guy as Martin Luther King Jr, so why would it be acceptable to cast a Black guy as Bond?”

“Well”, goes the argument in my head, “one was a living, breathing human being who was at the forefront of one of the biggest civil rights movements in history, and the other is a fictional creation whose appearance, age and personality open for reinterpretation every few years when the previous actor’s knees finally give out.”

So far, we’ve had a Scottish Bond, a Welsh Bond, an Irish Bond, a ginger Bond, an Australian Bond and a blond Bond – and whatever the hit-to-miss ratio of Daniel Craig’s films so far, you’ve got to expect the cretins behind the website set up to cancel him before he even got the keys to the Aston Martin must have felt pretty sheepish as they watched the opening act of Casino Royale. Maybe a little less so when they watched SPECTRE, but that’s for another day.

While we’re on casting, even Ian Fleming had issues with Sean Connery in the beginning, but was so impressed by what he eventually saw, he ended up creating a Scottish heritage for the character, so the canon is clearly flexible.

It’s always same old suggestions too – Tom Hardy would be fine, if a little too similar to Craig’s style. Idris Elba is a great actor, but surely he’s too old to carry the franchise for the next ten years?

I enjoyed Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, but found him dour and joyless as Superman (even more so as Clark Kent), and he’s probably got enough franchises on his hands at the minute, however good he looks in a suit.

Personally, I thought Dan Stevens was great in The Guest and could be a really solid choice for 007. Likewise, Riz Ahmed is superb and could take the role in a really interesting direction.

At this point though, whoever we want to see as the next Bond I think we can all probably agree on two things…

Firstly, this is all pointless speculation which at best, highlights the work of a promising young actor, but at worst, whips up the same frenzy of “I’m not racist, but…” arguments we see more and more of these days, so let’s just enjoy No Time To Die when we finally can, then wait for an official announcement.

Secondly, isn’t it nice to see Robbie Williams has stopped making the list in recent years?

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