Since Daniel Craig announced he was standing down as James Bond, debate has raged whether the next 007 should be a woman, or black.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that she will be both – thanks to the intervention of feminist TV writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
In what’s been called a ‘popcorn-dropping moment’, British star Lashana Lynch, will be given Bond’s licence to kill in the 25th movie in the franchise, currently being shot in Italy and the UK.
Come in 007: British star Lashana Lynch walks in when the James Bond spy number is called
The story begins with Bond retired in Jamaica. But spymaster M – played by Ralph Fiennes – calls him back in desperation to tackle a new global crisis.
A movie insider said: ‘There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says ‘Come in 007’, and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman.
‘It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman.
‘Bond, of course, is sexually attracted to the new female 007 and tries his usual seduction tricks, but is baffled when they don’t work on a brilliant, young black woman who basically rolls her eyes at him and has no interest in jumping into his bed. Well, certainly not at the beginning.’
The source added that the phrase ‘Bond girls’ is now forbidden, saying: ‘We were all told that from now on they are to be addressed as ‘Bond women’.’
Waller-Bridge, who wrote the BBC comedy Fleabag and the female-led thriller Killing Eve, was recruited to ensure the 57-year-old franchise moved with the times. She said: ‘There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Bond is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.
007: Daniel Craig in action in the new movie which promises to be packed with humour
‘I think that’s b******s. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. [The franchise] has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to his character.’
Ms Lynch, 31, had a breakthrough role as the fighter pilot Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel, released earlier this year.
Film-makers create avatar of Daniel Craig’s face for dangerous stunts
Daniel Craig’s desire to do all his own stunts on the new Bond film has been thwarted by injury.
But now producers have come up with a high-tech solution worthy of Q to make it look as if he’s in the thick of the action.
Special-effects wizards have created a computer avatar of the 51-year-old star, which will enable his face to be digitally superimposed on to the body of his stunt double – Frenchman Jean-Charles Rousseau, 31.
Craig was forced to change his stunt plans after injuring an ankle while filming a chase scene in Jamaica in May. In his 13 years as Bond, he has also smashed two teeth, dislocated a shoulder, sprained a knee and sliced the tip off one of his fingers.
A source said: ‘Daniel is in great shape but there are some scenes he can’t do because they are too physically challenging. Plus the insurance company won’t let him. So his face will be superimposed later.
Originally from Hammersmith, West London, she made her debut in the 2011 drama Fast Girls, has appeared in Silent Witness and Death In Paradise and was a regular cast member on the short-lived 2015 BBC show Crims. She also played Rosaline Capulet in the American period drama series Still Star-Crossed, set after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
The source said: ‘Lashana is absolutely brilliant and Phoebe’s script is as sharp and funny as you would expect. This Bond pays tribute to some of the earlier films with a lot of humour.’
Indeed, one photograph taken on set shows Ms Lynch in a safari suit similar to the one Roger Moore famously wore when he played 007.
‘This is a Bond for the modern era who will appeal to a younger generation while sticking true to what we all expect in a Bond film,’ the source added. ‘There are spectacular chase sequences and fights, and Bond is still Bond but he’s having to learn to deal with the world of #MeToo.’
So hopefully the script will be the least of the problems for a film that has already been hit by the replacement of original director Danny Boyle, injury to Craig, and a crew member getting hurt in an explosion on set.