James Bond
© Reuters / Carlo Allegri
James Bond actor Daniel Craig appears at a promotional event in New York
As Daniel Craig's time at the helm of the venerable James Bond franchise nears an end, producer Barbara Broccoli has said that his replacement will remain a man. Fans were relieved, but critics are still out for blood.

Daniel Craig dusts off his tuxedo for one last outing as the womanizing MI6 agent when 'No Time to Die' hits theaters in April. Ahead of the movie's release, senior producer Barbara Broccoli put some rumors about the future of the franchise to rest.

Bond, she told Variety magazine, "can be of any colour, but he is male."

"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," she continued. "I think women are far more interesting than that."

The news gave fans a license to chill. Rumors about a gender-swapped Bond have circulated for some time now, and both Craig and previous Bond Pierce Brosnan have both voiced support for the idea of a female replacement for 007. "Thank you for not destroying my childhood hero," one wrote. "I loved JAMES BOND, not jane/jamie/jasmin or whatever."


Meanwhile, an equal and opposite reaction was brewing. "Listen up, #JamesBond producers, it's 2020, and it's time to get over the misogynistic views of the past and start fully embracing #GirlPower," one commenter tweeted. "We want a diverse Bond."


According to another woke critic, Bond should remain a man, as his character is "defined by his toxic masculinity" anyway.

Yet no matter what reasoning Broccoli could have given for maintaining Bond's masculinity, some forward-thinking internet warriors were never going to be happy. After all, author Stephen King was flayed alive and accused of displaying a "backwards ... white privilege" this week for merely suggesting that quality is more important than diversity in art.

The woke may get their day, though. Broccoli said that James Bond will never be a woman, but she didn't mention 007: Bond's MI6 codename. 'No Time to Die' opens with Bond enjoying his retirement in Jamaica, his codename inherited by another agent. This new 007 is a woman, played by British actress Lashana Lynch.

It is unclear whether Bond reclaims his title from his replacement, or whether any future Bond will have to share the stage with the new 007. Whatever happens, the franchise will likely remain a flashpoint in the neverending online culture war.