No Time to Die will serve as the final chapter in Daniel Craig’s James Bond era, and with the send-off of the actor, there’s the pursuit of the next James Bond afoot. It’s been hotly debated as to who should step up to take on the place of James Bond in the post-Craig era, and with the casting being left open-ended, comes the call for more diversity to be written into the Bond franchise. Ben Whishaw entered the picture as Q, Bond’s gadget guru, during Skyfall in 2012. Now, Whishaw is ready for the franchise to step up and introduce the first gay James Bond.
Whishaw publically came out as gay in 2014 and said that casting of a gay James Bond would be viewed as real progress for the film industry, noting that gay actors have struggled to secure “straight” roles, especially in the action genre. “I really believe that we should be working towards a world where anyone can play anything and it would be really thrilling if it didn’t matter about someone’s sexuality to take on a role like this. I think that would be real progress,” Whishaw said, though he acknowledges that there aren’t many British actors who have been open about being gay.
Whishaw already knows who he would cast as gay James Bond, specifically pointing out Luke Evans and Jonathan Bailey by name. Luke Evans has been known for his work on movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Hobbit. Jonathan Bailey is the central character for season two of Netflix’s Bridgerton. Whishaw remains confident that both actors would be capable of carrying on the James Bond legacy, and insists that he would be thrilled to see either personal choice take on the role for himself. The James Bond star, who will make his third appearance in the franchise, remains optimistic that sexuality does not define an actor’s ability to perform – in this case, perform as an international superspy.
James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has previously deflected the possibility of the next James Bond being played by a woman, though has not opposed the idea of the character being played by a gay man. She confirmed with BBC 4 radio, saying, “James Bond is a male character. I hope that there will be many, many films made with women, for women, by women, about women. I don’t think we have to take a male character and have a woman portray him. So yes, I see him as male.” Daniel Craig himself backed the producer’s decision to keep the character played by a man, supporting Broccoli’s decision while saying that there are other roles for women that are above being Bond.
The race to become the next James Bond is on as Idris Elba, Regé-Jean Page, and Tom Hardy have become top fan picks for the role. Henry Cavill and Tom Holland have expressed wanting to take on the role for themselves in the past, though there’s the intention for a lesser-known name to claim Bond fame. No Time to Die is determined to receive its theatrical release after being delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and finally prepares to send off Daniel Craig through a hefty, well-deserved run time of nearly three hours. It’s been made clear that James Bond will be back for more action and adventure, maybe this time, as played by a gay man. No Time to Die arrives on October 8, 2021.