Any long-running franchise needs to constantly reinvent itself in order to remain relevant for modern audiences and avoid becoming stale, and that’s especially true in the case of the James Bond series, which has been going strong for almost 60 years but still sits at the forefront of popular culture.
Cinema’s most famous secret agent has been through multiple iterations, and you can guarantee that interest would have fizzled out a long time ago if Daniel Craig played the character the same way as Sean Connery, with each new actor to throw on the tux putting their own spin on 007, one that’s reflective of the times we live in.
Of course, one of the most famous tropes associated with the brand is that of the Bond Girl, which in most cases is a brief love interest that occupies the thankless task of being little more than eye candy. Halle Berry’s Jinx was depicted as a capable agent in her own right in Die Another Day, Casino Royale‘s Vesper Lynd has haunted Bond ever since and Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann will return in No Time to Die, but for the most part, they tend to be fairly one-dimensional.
Gemma Arterton, who played walking in-joke Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace, admits that she regrets taking the role, but viewed it as an important stepping stone in her career at the time.
“At the beginning of my career, I was poor as a church mouse and I was happy just to be able to work and earn a living. I still get criticism for accepting Quantum of Solace, but I was 21, I had a student loan, and, you know, it was a Bond film. But as I got older I realized there was so much wrong with Bond women. Strawberry should have just said no, really, and worn flat shoes.”
The Bond Girl archetype has become so superficial that Spectre was praised for casting Monica Bellucci, due largely to the fact that the actress is older than Daniel Craig, but based on comments from everyone involved with No Time to Die, it would appear that the 25th installment is making some drastic changes to how the female Bond characters are depicted.