By Daniel J. McLaughlin
James Bond will return in the 25th film of the franchise, but things could be different for the MI6 agent.
The spy, played by Daniel Craig, is reportedly in retirement in the next film, and his old codename - 007 - has been given to another agent, played by Lashana Lynch. The black, female 007 has been described as a "popcorn-dropping moment".
Some fans say that the character makes perfect sense, since it is not the first time that Bond has lost his '00' status.
However, others accuse the film of "virtue-signalling".
GQ's Brad Nash says that Lashana Lynch as 007 "actually makes complete sense".
He notes that the talk of a black, female successor to Daniel Craig's James Bond is "enough to make middle-aged men break out in a cold swear", but adds that it could be just what the franchise needs.
Nash argues: "The point is, if Bond is for whatever reason set to lose his '007' codename in the upcoming film, it makes perfect sense in the context of the wider Bond universe.
"If, as the reports suggest, it's a mantle that Lynch's character actually takes on in upcoming films, then it would definitely be setting a new precedent for the Bond franchise, but technically, it works."
He says that Bond has been stripped of his '00' status before in Ian Fleming's 'You Only Live Twice' and 'Licence to Kill'. The concept of a female '00' agent has also been around since the 1960s.
Nash concludes: "But after literal decades of new James Bonds springing up and replacing each other seemingly out of nowhere, it might actually make sense for the 007 franchise to take a break from the Bond character for a while.
"The end of 007 as we know it does not mean the end of James Bond as a character, and that's important to remember before you start panicking."
However, Celia Walden argues that the black, female 007 "shows the new Bond will display the worst kind of virtue-signalling",
In an article for the Daily Telegraph, she says that she finds Bond chauvinist pig-isms amusing.
In her "regressive little world", Walden says she still finds overt sexism from Bond funny.
She writes: "Aren't flagrant generalisations at the root of comedy? Men can't multitask. Women can't drive. Men can't change nappies. Women can't map read.
"Riffing away on gender stereotypes that range from painfully true to containing a grain of truth is all part of the joyful and undeniable business of Being Different."
She argues that spouting Bond-isms is not the real danger to society - it is those whose language is "riddled with insidious or implied prejudice and bigotry".
Walden adds that she would take one of Bond's searing sexisms every day - and "laughingly counter with one of my own".
It is worth reiterating that Captain Marvel actor Lashana Lynch will not play the character of James Bond, but reportedly a MI6 agent who takes on Bond's former codename, 007.
According to reports, Bond is in retirement in Jamaica following the events of the previous film, Spectre. When he returns to London, there is a "pivotal scene" at the start of the film where M says "come in, 007" and in walks Lynch.
The insider told the Daily Mail: "It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman."
Christoph Waltz is also rumoured to return as Bond's nemesis Blofeld. The actor was spotted at Pinewood Studios in London, where the latest James Bond movie is being shot. He told a visitor: "You haven’t seen me."
Oscar winner Rami Malek will be appearing as the villain in Bond 25. The Bohemian Rhapsody and Mr Robot actor admitted he was hesitant to accept the part, over fears that he would be playing a ‘religious terrorist’.
However, he said his fears had been allayed, and called his character "great", saying he was very excited about the film.
Craig will return to the long-running franchise for their 25th unnamed movie. He has played Bond since 2006's 'Casino Royale', and returned in 'Quantum of Solace', 'Skyfall' and 'Spectre'.
Following Danny Boyle's departure from the director's chair, Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beasts of No Nation) will become the first American-born director of the series.
Bond 25 is scheduled for release in April 2020.