Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, blockbuster after blockbuster gave up on the cinema and went straight to our TV screens – but one franchise was simply too huge to take that route. Now, after endless delays, No Time To Die is finally coming to the big screen. And Daniel Craig’s last James Bond movie is as close to a guaranteed box office success as you are likely to find.
But as well as a commercial titan, the James Bond series has always told us something about a certain idea of Britishness – white, male, misogynist, and reluctant to give up on the idea that only he can save the world. And as Amazon pays $8.45bn (£6.17bn) to buy studio MGM and take control of the character’s future, many are sceptical that calls for a new breed of secret agent – one who might even be a person of colour, or a woman – will be heeded with such a loyal and conservative fanbase to keep onside.
In this episode, the Guardian’s film editor Catherine Shoard talks to Hannah Moore about the history of the character and his evolving relationship to the cultural moment, from Connery and Moore via Dalton and Brosnan to the present day. She explains the creative and commercial constraints that make a radical reinvention hard to imagine.
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