Over the summer, it was announced that Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch would take on the title role of 007 in the upcoming Bond film No Time to Die.
The news of the casting came a year after executive producer Barbara Broccoli told The Guardian that, while James Bond will never get a gender swap, the idea of including more women in the 007 franchise was in the near future.
“Bond is male. He’s a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male. We don’t have to turn male characters into women. Let’s just create more female characters and make the story fit those female characters.”
But the fact that 007 will be played by a black woman struck a nerve with racist fanboys. It didn’t take long for the misogynoir trolls of Twitter to rear their ugly heads.
“…and so the Bond franchise ends after 24 films. Daniel Craig’s excellent portrayal was a fitting end to such an iconic character (though I preferred Roger Moore personally).”
Luckily for Lashana, she’s not taking the criticism to heart.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Lashana broke her silence on the backlash, explaining that if a person has a problem with the casting, it’s their problem, not hers.
“It doesn’t dishearten me. It makes me feel quite sad for some people because their opinions, they’re not even from a mean place — they’re actually from a sad place. It’s not about me. People are reacting to an idea, which has nothing to do with my life.”
Instead, she’s decided to kill them with kindness.
“Then they’ve been like, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you so much!’ But it’s an interesting test because it reminds them that they definitely wouldn’t say that to someone’s face.”
Lashana shouldn’t even be having this conversation. Trolls have detracted from the fact that her role is groundbreaking for the franchise.
No Time to Die was penned by Fleabag‘s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which most likely means that sexist female tropes that have plagued the past 24 Bond films will most likely be non-existent. Plus, the reason behind fans’ outrage is pretty much moot because Lashana isn’t even taking the place of James Bond. According to the Daily Mail, Bond is retired in Jamaica and the 007 moniker has been given to a new agent.
“It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman.”
And even if Lashana did replace Bond, would it really be that big of a deal?
Yes, the books were written in the fifties, but Bond is a fictional character, and his race never really seemed to be a focal point of his character in the movies. His debonair, play-boy persona was. Personality traits that any actor of any race can handle.
While Lynch is keeping a positive mindset, the abuse that she has been forced to deal with is nothing new for women in Hollywood, especially women of color.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi introduced a new character, Rose Tico, played by Vietnamese-American actress Kelly Marie Tran. It was the first time a woman of color had a prominent role in the Star Wars franchise. And once again, fanboys had a problem with it (because an intergalactic war is realistic, but apparently an Asian woman in space isn’t).
The abuse got so bad that Tran deleted her social media and hid from the world. Cast members Mark Hamill and John Boyega came to Tran’s defense, but in an essay for The New York Times, Tran decided to speak for herself.
“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them. Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.”
Though Kelly has yet to return to social media, she’s not giving up on knowing her own worth.
“I know that I now belong to a small group of privileged people who get to tell stories for a living, stories that are heard and seen and digested by a world that for so long has tasted only one thing. I know how important that is. And I am not giving up.”
Despite the hate from trolls, Lashana is making history by being the first black person and woman to take on the 007 role and, for that, she deserves all the praise in the world.
You can catch her in all of her shaken, not stirred badassery when No Time to Die hit theaters on April 8, 2020.
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Photo: Lashana Lynch / Instagram
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.