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Rumors of Idris Elba as the Next James Bond Stirs Online Racial Debate

Picture of Idris Elba in Berlin, 2018
Picture of Idris Elba in Berlin, 2018 via wikimedia

Speculation has soared on who should take over the role of famed British spy character James Bond, with fans ardently declaring that Idris Elba should be next—but his race is causing a stir with movie fans on social media.

There’s certainly plenty of time to settle this, since the next installment to the Bond franchise is already in the works: earlier this year, British actor Daniel Craig signed up for his fifth take as James Bond, teaming up with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog MillionaireTrainspotting) on a sequel premiering in November 2019.

Nonetheless, a new report indicated that such subsequent casting after this 2019 sequel may actually be taking place already. The Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli reportedly told director Antoine Fuqua that “it is time” for a black actor to take on the iconic role.

The response on Twitter has been typically pointed, with fervent opinions on both sides, given that Elba is black and the character of Bond has historically been white.

Many fans used this potential casting news to comment on the racist treatment an Elba Bond might actually face—addressing heated issues that are at the forefront in our contemporary society.

One poignant tweet joked about potential storylines in a black Bond movie that would reflect the recent spate of black U.S. citizens being reported to police for engaging in innocuous public activities such as barbecuing or selling water.

Another tweet simply stated that dissidence towards such casting was indicative of conditioned racism that implies “black people as either an other or as inherently less than.”

But is there an argument for a film staying true to a character’s origins, including their ethnicity? Some commentators were simply arguing that, stating that if it were reversed and Bond was originally black and a white man was cast, there would be outrage. A tweet proposing this theory included a photo of a white actor in “yellow face”—made up to look Asian.

In recent years, there have been many films and cultural institutions that have been remade with new actors and images, reversing their original representation—from all-female remakes of the films Ghostbusters and the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, to a female Colonel Sanders character in a commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken earlier this year.

Ghostbusters got generally favorable reviews in 2016 but wasn’t as well-received as the original, and failed to generate box office revenue to cover its high production costs.

2018’s all-female Ocean’s 8 film was a box office success but met with mixed reviews, which some of its stars publicly attributed to the dominance of male critics and a lack of diversity among mainstream film reviewers.

On the subject of popular films, fans and casting, there have also been reports of online trolling against new actors because of their ethnicity or gender, such as Asian-American actress Kelly Marie Tran, who closed her Instagram account after alleged harassment from fervent Star Wars fans, criticizing her role in the latest installment in the franchise, the 2017 hit The Last Jedi.

As for who will play the next James Bond, although it hasn’t been confirmed or refuted, Idris Elba took to twitter himself, simply stating: “Don’t believe the hype.”

 

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31 Comments

  1. Betty Major August 14, 2018

    Why not him?

    Reply
  2. Anita Polidori Kramer August 14, 2018

    Why..???

    Reply
  3. Kaz Lokuciewski August 18, 2018

    Crazy. Not bond material AT All. Now Colin Salmon…he’s the private school Eton boy with a family Swiss account.

    Reply
  4. Beverly Chisholm Davis August 18, 2018

    Like it.

    Reply
  5. Vicki Brewer Wages August 18, 2018

    He will be perfect!

    Reply
  6. Linda Bednarz August 18, 2018

    I’m ok with this! Should be interesting.

    Reply
  7. White actors played Cleopatra, Egyptian pharaohs, Jesus Christ and those were real people that were not white but folks upset about a black man playing a fictional character gtfoh gtfoh with that bullshit

    Reply
  8. Gail Carney Bitner August 18, 2018

    He would be awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  9. Doris Matthews August 18, 2018

    Love it.

    Reply
  10. Charles Freedom August 18, 2018

    Nothing wrong with that….this man is a good actor….”Bring It” 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

    Reply
  11. George Tisnado August 19, 2018

    Lol fighting over a fictional character . Fucken morons who gives a shit.

    Reply
  12. Elsa Johnson August 19, 2018

    It would be cool

    Reply
  13. Barb Furry-Holleman August 19, 2018

    Go for it.

    Reply
  14. Cheryl Claytor August 19, 2018

    Who cares, i like it

    Reply
  15. Charlie Lagos August 19, 2018

    Why are some having a “racial debate”.

    Reply
  16. Philip Edwards August 19, 2018

    Idris is a good actor but I’m not sure he fits the character’s description from the books!

    Reply
  17. Michael Moore September 12, 2018

    He’d be perfect. Just watch his show Luther!

    Reply
  18. Dorothy Wong September 12, 2018

    Why is it a big deal ? He would be a great 007 # Tall dark & handsome !

    Reply
    1. Louise Dodson September 13, 2018

      Something we don’t see much of in the White House.

  19. Sharon Ruebhausen September 12, 2018

    No it’s not an issue but your trying to make it one

    Reply
  20. Zeynep Arig Badur September 12, 2018

    Some people truly don’t have anything to do.

    Reply
  21. Louise Dodson September 13, 2018

    We need a new twist only so much Bond until you need to shake it up

    Reply
  22. Gail Carney Bitner September 13, 2018

    Great idea!!!!!

    Reply
  23. Shirley Hawkins September 13, 2018

    Why not anyone can be a James bond 007.

    Reply
    1. Dorothy Wong September 13, 2018

      Shirley Hawkins Yes, Thank you !

  24. Vernon Howard September 13, 2018

    Dont HATE, APPRECIATE

    Reply
  25. Mary Urech Stallings September 13, 2018

    I think he would be an awesome 007.

    Reply
  26. Linda Krider September 13, 2018

    He’ll make a great James Bond.

    Reply
  27. Katy Tessler Braun September 13, 2018

    I LIKE THE IDEA.

    Reply
  28. Dellene Garlock September 13, 2018

    Bond is a badass. Elba is a badass. It works.

    Reply
  29. Ginny Celano September 13, 2018

    He’d be great.

    Reply

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