Could he? Would he? SHOULD he? WILL he?
Another week, another set of Bond click-bait rumours. Will they use guns? Are they casting the new 007 yet? And so on. The most persistent tag is perhaps the IDRIS ELBA one. Is he on board the next movie? Yawn. INSTANT HIT RATE RESULTS FOR BLOGS!
Now, racists do not like the idea of a black Bond. They fail to understand that all 007 need be is well spoken, masculine, polished, athletic, great in a fight, handsome, distinguished, cool and compelling. Skin colour is irrelevant, though charisma and conviction are essential. Bond is Scots/Swiss and either parent could have been mixed race or indeed, any race, for that matter.
Yes, Fleming gave his hero certain physical characteristics. But those are minimal. Keep the class and the clout and Bond is still Bond. Fleming would agree. Ian liked progress, cash and being relevant. Though he was indeed a colonial Brit in outlook, a racist he was not. Same way he was not anti-woman, homophobic or any of the many slights with which Fleming must contend.
The man was very third way: at once liberal and conservative (hence my 90s Bond set piece idea for the next film; it was an era which saw Ian’s ideals take flight, in effect?). On occasion, yes, Fleming lazily and petulantly inserted nastily adolescent references to sex, race and class in a book. But each was tempered by more moderate and inclusive ideas with Bond triumphing over repressive evils.
So of course: Idris could have been Bond.
LEAGUES ahead of Hiddleston/Stevens/Bridgerton dude/Harry Potter/The Rock et al.
Racists: deal with it. Ageists: you are just as bad. ‘Idris is too old’? Is he bollox. We are in a new era of multiple iteration media. One need not commit an actor to ten picture deals. A 50 something Bond as a one and done or duology is cool and in any event, people are dealing with age differently nowadays. And even if that were not the case? Cary Grant was 53 in NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Harrison Ford did some of best non Indiana Solo stuff in the early to mid 1990s when he was 50 something. I could go on and on.
Point is: NOTHING on principle would prevent Idris being Bond. NOTHING. He is macho, classy, great in a fight (scene), beautifully spoken, commanding and very very cool. But should he consider the part and would the producers be wise going there? No. The guy is a star and costs $$$$. He is not particularly comfortable to my mind, in campy action trivia. Elba seemed out of place in THE SUICIDE SQUAD and redundant during HOBBS AND SHAW. He can of course do big blockbuster genre pieces but it’s not his strong suit.
Granted, even Daniel Craig had misfires beyond Bond and had to grow into comfort as the 007 lead. But Craig still made it all his own thing: hence a brilliant, unbeatable, 15 year tenure. That precluded anyone, black or white, old or young, from challenging what appeared a definitive take and therefore grasp on the role from 2006-21.
Idris is in no need of a franchise, though. He can blend into any genre at will and name his price, while also keeping up the DJ and charity work. He has little use for Bond. Ditto, playing the villain in BOND 26 (also mooted; also a bad idea: he would be terrible and it’s ill advised politically imho).
If you must deploy Mr Elba in a Bond flick? I suggest making him M. He will thereby become a fixture in the films and lend authority, coolness, sympathy and an element of mentorship to the role again. The character is meant to be like a House/Headmaster with Bond the eternal schoolboy. Well, as it happens, Elba is GREAT at capturing that military / teacher / fatherly vibe, whilst retaining vitality and agency. His star power would prop the post Craig 007, too. This makes perfect sense! Go on. Make it happen! If in doubt? Just watch Elba in THE OFFICE. He’s a boss at this. Literally 😉
In any event? BOND 26 is some way off and not even in pre production just yet. Be patient. Stop the needless click-bait.