James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli may have just dashed fans' hopes that the next 007 will be a woman. In an interview with Variety, Broccoli and her co-producer and half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, discussed the kind of person they're looking for to take over the leading role ahead of Daniel Craig's final Bond film.
Unfortunately for fans hoping to see a woman cast as 007, Broccoli said Bond must be male — although they are looking to diversify.
"He can be of any color, but he is male," she said. "I believe we should be creating new characters for women — strong female characters. I'm not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that."
Wilson added that he's committed to keeping Bond's British roots. "You think of him as being from Britain or the Commonwealth, but Britain is a very diverse place," he said.
The two addressed their attempts to help "evolve" Bond out of the sometimes sexist spy genre in the #MeToo era. "Bond's been evolving along with all the other men in the world," Broccoli said. "Some men have just gotten there more quickly than others."
As far as how the filmmakers are feeling about Craig's decision to step away from the franchise once his fifth and final Bond film, No Time to Die, premieres in April, they said they are nearly distraught.
"I'm in total denial," Broccoli said. "I've accepted what Daniel has said, but I'm still in denial. It's too traumatic for me."
"He brought flesh and blood to the character. Bond in the novel is a silhouette. Daniel has given him depth and an inner life," she said. "We were looking for a 21st-century hero, and that's what he delivered. He bleeds; he cries; he's very contemporary."
With No Time to Die premiering in April, specific plot points remain murky — and it seems as if Broccoli and Wilson aren't keen on giving any up, with Broccoli only offering, "We have come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion."
When the first trailer was released last month, fans wondered if it hinted toward a franchise pivot to a female spy as the titular character. Fans were introduced to Lashana Lynch's brand new character, Nomi, who also carries a license to kill.
Several fans made it clear on social media that they'd welcome Lynch's character as the next 007, but still others were crossing their fingers that the rumor wasn't true.
A Bond insider reportedly told the Daily Mail that Nomi would be taking over Bond's secret agent number after he leaves MI6. "There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says, 'Come in, 007,'" and reportedly in walks Lynch, the source said. "It's a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he's been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman."
Fans will have to wait to see No Time to Die to see if Lynch is the future of the franchise. The 25th edition to the Bond franchise premieres in the U.K. on April 2 and in the U.S. on April 10.