With Daniel Craig’s future as 007 seemingly at an end after the next Bond movie—which itself endured endless speculation over whether Craig would even appear in the damn thing—Bond fans are wondering who will get the licence to kill next. But a new survey suggests that fans are divided over who they really want.
An new survey from the Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult about what franchises, old and current, that moviegoers would love to see more of also includes a frankly absurdly in-depth section about what people want out of the future of one of the oldest, still ongoing movie series around: James Bond, which of course has spent the past 56 years ceaselessly re-inventing itself with new stars, new stories, and new gadgets for everyone’s favourite superspy to save the day with.
At least some of Bond’s endurance comes down to the fact that the franchise has mostly stayed the same over the last half-century, despite pushing the tone and changing its lead actor every few movies. Over the past few years, there has been an increased call for James Bond’s (or even Jane Bond’s) future to be a diverse one when it comes to casting, whether it’s supporting characters or the lead secret agent. However, THR and Morning Consult’s survey suggests that a lot of people aren’t really ready for a Bond that isn’t played as a straight, white man. Or, more honestly, that they aren’t really sure what they want out of Bond altogether.
So yes, here’s your mandatory warning about sample sizes and all that—just 2,201 people took part in the survey, so it’s hardly encompassing of the millions of people who go watch Bond films when they hit theatres. Hell, some of the respondents hadn’t even heard of some films in the franchise, like the classic Goldfinger (12 per cent of responses!) or the recent Skyfall (18 per cent of responses!) But still, it presents some fascinatingly paradoxical answers.
A slim majority (52 per cent) would support a black James Bond, a solid amount would support the perennially-rumoured Idris Elba in the role (63 per cent!)…and yet 51 per cent of responders also argued that Bond is a classic movie franchise and that nothing about its approach, including casting, should change with the times. Odd, but maybe less odd when you consider that the larger trend present in THR’s survey beyond the Bond questions suggests an interest in reviving familiar, yet dormant movie franchises over new entries in currently ongoing ones like Star Wars and Marvel’s Avengers films.
That said, that more people in this survey would overwhelmingly support an American James Bond—usually a sore point for certain homegrown fans of the British icon, even as we hypocritically pilfer American superhero roles over and over—before they would any kind of diverse casting option is kind of a depressing thing to ponder. If you want to see the full results of the survey, you can check it out here.
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