Could a Black James Bond Deconstruct the Imperialistic Colonialism of the Franchise?
The producers of the James Bond franchise appear to be seriously considering giving the role to Idris Elba.
Elba would be the first Black man to play Bond. As such, giving him the role could help to address the franchise’s longstanding racism and colonialism.
But the problems with the Bond franchise go beyond casting, and absent other changes, those problems are likely to remain whoever plays 007 next.
Ian Fleming’s original James Bond novels were naked colonial Cold War apologias. Bond, a British agent with a license to kill, jetted about the world to various former or current colonial regions, shooting the men who lived there and sleeping with the women.
Bond’s job (in story and out of story) was to show that, despite British post-war decolonization, the traditional imperial order remained in place.
The franchise reassured an empire in decline that the Cold War espionage services were still enforcing discipline and white supremacy on the world.
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