Will Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny Get Her Own ‘Bond’ Spinoff?
Thanks to Marvel’s success, it seems like every studio in Hollywood wants to develop its own shared universe. Considering the profit involved, it’s astonishing how one of cinema’s longest-running franchises has resisted the temptation to branch out. After more than 50 years and two dozen films, James Bond continues to work alone.
In the 2000s, Halle Berry nearly led a spinoff film centered on her Die Another Day character, Jinx. Of course, that project fell apart, and the series moved forward with Daniel Craig in the lead. Now discussions about a female-led Bond spinoff are happening again, with Naomie Harris’s Moneypenny at the center.
Where you’ve seen Naomie Harris
Harris joined the Bond franchise in Skyfall as Eve Moneypenny, one of the series’ longtime fixtures. She reprised that role in Spectre and returns again in next year’s No Time to Die. However, chances are that Bond fans have also seen Harris elsewhere.
Her previous credits include 28 Days Later, Miami Vice, and last year’s Dwayne Johnson film Rampage. But Harris is perhaps better known as the mysterious Tia Dalma in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance in 2017 Best Picture winner Moonlight.
A versatile talent, Harris’s new film — Black and Blue — sees the actress play a police officer who witnesses some corrupt cops murder an informant. Directed by Deon Taylor, the film examines the African-American community’s relationship with law enforcement. Black and Blue also proves Harris is capable of leading her own action thriller.
A James Bond cinematic universe
So, with all the speculation that the future of the Bond series could be female, could audiences see a Moneypenny spinoff? On a recent Good Morning America appearance, Harris addressed reports Moonlight director Barry Jenkins was spearheading just such a project. Unfortunately, the news wasn’t very encouraging.
“I got together with Barbara Broccoli, our producer [on the Bond films], and I was like, ‘Let’s make this happen!’ Harris said. “But she wasn’t so down for it. But maybe one day; who knows? The conversation has started, at least.”
Given how protective Eon Productions has been toward the property, this initial response is expected. The Bond series has been notoriously hesitant to take creative risks. But, then again, the franchise is likely heading for another crossroads when Craig leaves.
What’s next for the series?
Next year’s No Time to Die marks the end of Craig’s run as James Bond. Following that film’s debut, Eon could simply cast another actor as 007 and move on. However, it does feel like the winds of change may be hitting the series soon.
Barbara Broccoli has been adamant that Bond will not switch genders in subsequent films. Yet, No Time to Die introduces the first female 007 to the franchise. While she won’t bear the name of James Bond, casting Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) feels like a pointed statement.
More than likely, Lynch’s time as 007 will be brief, necessitating Bond’s return. That doesn’t make the fact that a woman of color, albeit briefly, takes the code name any less impactful. Times have changed a great deal since Bond’s debut; so maybe the films will reflect that sooner than fans think.
No Time to Die will hit theaters on April 8, 2020.