Way back in my very first post on this blog, I wrote up a short article about how Skyfall killed the “James Bond is a code name” fan theory and basically destroyed any chance of seeing Idris Elba as Bond without breaking with the newly established canon. However, with the Spectre trailer releasing yesterday, it seems like an appropriate time for me to lay down the speculation I have had to legitimize both sides of this argument and make way for far more inclusivity in the Bond franchise from here onward.
Since they very rarely brought up any sense of continuity, the previous James Bond films were able to get away with their changing actors and tones with little suspension of disbelief required. This is where the code name theory came from – each “James Bond” was simply filling in a code name when they were promoted to the position of 007. This theory made a lot of sense and, up until Skyfall, it looked like the most reasonable way to explain why we could have the same M in the Brosnan era and the “origin story” Casino Royale. However, Skyfall unexpectedly grounded the current 007 in a very specific place and time and established pretty conclusively that this Bond actually is named “James Bond”. It’s pretty well known that Daniel Craig is contracted for 1 more James Bond film after Spectre, but after that whoever follows up him is going to have to figure out some way to keep the narrative intact (while simultaneously having some pretty big shoes to fill in). However, I think that there is a perfect solution that should be pretty easy to incorporate into Bond 25 which will make the series so much more interesting in the future.
If I was in charge of writing Bond 25, I would have the film end with Craig-era Bond dying. Yes, for real, especially because this is a fate that has been foreshadowed throughout his tenure, and would fit his arc pretty well (or, if we can’t have him die, then at least have him fake it for good). As a result, M declares that from this point forward, all agents with the 007 rank will be known by the code name “James Bond”, in honour of their greatest fallen agent. It could even end with the next James Bond being introduced if they have them cast by then, similar to what they did with Ralph Fiennes’ M.
This proposed ending would be perfect for a number of reasons. First of all, it would shake up the series quite a bit and probably break the Internet if they kept it secret. Secondly, it would keep the character development that has been built up throughout the Craig era intact, while also paving the way for future James Bond films to do something different. Thirdly, making the code name theory official opens up the Bond series to so many possibilities. There have been rumblings about casting Idris Elba as Craig’s follow-up for years, and serious discussions have been brought forth even within Sony Pictures. Having Bond’s character rooted in a very specific person kind of ruins this possibility, and you know that if they went forward with it then there’d be lots of asshats saying that Bond is white and therefore can’t be played by a black man. However, if this development went forward and the code name theory became canon, then I imagine that significantly more people would be accepting of non-traditional Bond portrayals. Suddenly, it wouldn’t feel out of character for the new Bond to be non-white, or asexual, or less serious… hell, we might even see a female Bond someday if this were implemented. The possibilities are endless, and I’m going to be absolutely grieved if EON productions don’t go forward with this proposed ending. It just seems to perfect to me and sets up Bond’s future to go forward indefinitely.