7 Months…and Counting…

So, the impact of the coronavirus has now peaked at a hitherto unimaginable level: they’ve postponed the release of the new Bond movie by 7 months. Now it has got serious.

An ironic travesty, considering that Bond – co-piloting a Moonraker shuttle – once laser-zapped and obliterated globes containing deadly nerve gas from space before they breached the earth’s atmosphere.

Surely, some acid-coated Kleenex and an exploding olbas oil inhaler and he’d save the world again?

Seriously though, I’m not sure whether the delays are down to the foreboding title of the film ‘No Time to Die’ or because the movie moguls are anticipating that the world will have self-isolated for much of the foreseeable future.

Either way, it will undoubtedly be no time to die during the next 7 months because it’s been nearly 4.5 years since Spectre and I’m struggling to maintain my composure with a follow-up not yet having been squeezed from the directorial uterus.

Whatever the situation, this hold-up represents the most devastating Bond-related blow since Paul McCartney tautologously dropped the grammatical turd-bomb of ‘the world in which we live in’ into the lyrics for Live and Let Die.

Allowing that (doubled-up) preposition to rest at the end of the sentence was the kind of nonsense up with which I was not prepared to put.

At least the Bond debate has now shifted onto something marginally less infuriating than whether the next 007 should be a woman or of minority ethnic heritage. Getting either off the ground has always struck me as a non-starter – or at least as unfeasible as a Thunderball jetpack – considering the initial opposition to Daniel Craig on the grounds of his lighter hair.

You would have hoped that scriptwriters across the movie industry might actually have come up with a captivating and new female character to rival the Bond franchise, but the avalanche of movie remakes routinely and relentlessly snowballing down onto the viewing public probably betrays a dearth of creativity in current writing circles.

As for having a minority ethnic Bond, well, what would they have said in the 1970s if Kenneth Williams had expressed an interest in role of Shaft? It’s all well and good testing boundaries, but some shifts just don’t feel like they would make the grade.

In any event, you’d have to wonder whether a minority ethnic Bond could step into the Casino Royale in Montenegro and blend in without all eyes in the house being superglued to him until the moment he ornately wheelspun his DB5 into the sunset?

Still, I suppose Felix Leiter carried it off for the CIA team, but would Felix have been able to have slipped out after being poisoned for a surreptitious spot of self-defibrillation in the hotel car park before slipping back effortlessly for the next hand?

I think not. He remained at the table with a wrecking crew of former Serbian warlords watching for his next fart.

Still, a franchise that could carry off space hijacks in 1967 involving rocket capsules of only 10 feet tall arguably wouldn’t find such obstacles too onerous to navigate.

And after all, the reality of the spy game must be that spooks are both genders and of all ethnic backgrounds, otherwise those bowler-hatted pale noggins are going to stand out like sore thumbs in the Afghan shisha dens.

You never know, they might award the role to Jackie Chan and the carefully choreographed hand-to-hand combat scenes would become a round-housing frenzy, tangling up varied karateka in washing lines and bopping them with cooking pots while they jumped about manically with hot oil burning through their little black daps.

Given the paranoia about COVID-19, maybe the new way to beat the baddies will be simply to shake hands with them?

Back to the film though, and there are unconfirmed rumblings that the plot of the new outing will see Bond called back from retirement to save the world though his 007 codename will have been assigned to another agent, a black woman.

Wow, that will be the equivalent of loading up your glass with quadruples but passing it to somebody else to drink. A canny litmus test on the female and minority ethnic musings with a Bond-who-isn’t-really-Bond.

If true, it will be interesting to see how well it’s received, but I can’t help concluding that even if it gathers some momentum, this particular idea will end up being defused with just seconds remaining on the clock.

In the end it will come down to a simple deliberation. Billions of people of all backgrounds love 007 and have slavishly watched the films for the best part of 60 years.

Would the number of new fans of the franchise exceed the number who would walk away if the primary personal characteristics of Bond were transformed?

Think about it, and you’ll soon know the answer – and whether such a dramatic change is likely any time soon.

Meanwhile in my most accomplished Blofield–henchman-pseudo-foreign-accent: 7 months…and counting.

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