Daniel Craig with soot on his face as James Bond in the movie 'No Time To Die'

No Time To Die Director Cary Fukunaga Is Right About James Bond’s Past With Women

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James Bond isn’t exactly a feminist when you look at his past. From the Ian Fleming novels through Sean Connery’s run as the iconic spy through to even some aspects of the modern Bond films, it has been a long road for female characters in the franchise. Even more than that, it has been a spy world fit for a white man first and foremost. That doesn’t mean Bond isn’t fun; it is. There’s a reason we love the franchise so much, but we also know what to expect from a James Bond movie.

An aspect of Bond that will always remain is that he benefits from a patriarchal society. It is why I, personally, don’t think a woman could play Bond. Sure, we could have a female 007, but she wouldn’t be “Jane Bond” or whatever they’d call her because, at his core, James Bond does exist in a society where men are granted things that women are not. But that doesn’t mean he has to be a misogynist himself, which is why No Time To Die director Cary Fukunaga’s comments are brilliant because; he recognizes that, and it gives me hope that his movie clearly moves away from that era of Bond.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fukunaga asked, “Is it ‘Thunderball’ or ‘Goldfinger’ where, like, basically Sean Connery’s character rapes a woman? She’s like ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ That wouldn’t fly today.”

While working with Phoebe Waller-Bridge on No Time To Die, Fukunaga also recognizes that making Bond “woke” in the eyes of his audience also wouldn’t work. “You can’t change Bond overnight into a different person,” he said. “But you can definitely change the world around him and the way he has to function in that world. It’s a story about a white man as a spy in this world, but you have to be willing to lean in and do the work to make the female characters more than just contrivances.”

Fukunaga is right. The history of Bond women has gone from a sexual object for James Bond to characters who have their own arcs and storylines. There is still a ways to go, but it has been getting better. With creatives behind the character who recognize how he needs to function in his own world while also acknowledging his less-than-stellar past? It gives me hope for the future of James Bond.

I don’t expect Bond himself to head to a women’s march anytime soon, but having female characters in the series who are fully formed and aren’t just an object for Bond to conquer is a trend I’d like to see continue. And with creatives like Fukunaga and Waller-Bridge behind it, I think we can have a bit of hope that James Bond is in the right hands.

(via HuffPost, image: MGM)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.