In the 25th Bond movie, No Time To Die, Lynch plays Nomi, a new recruit to MI6's '00' programme. This is, of course, a challenge to Bond's very own supremacy, given he is, or was, the most famous 00 agent of them all. However, given 007 (Daniel Craig) retired at the end of 2015's Spectre, venturing off with Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), it seems a vacuum was left behind that Nomi was all too keen to occupy.
When Bond is reluctantly called back into action, spurred by the vengeful machinations of Safin (Rami Malek), he returns to London and meets Nomi for the first time. As seen in the No Time To Die trailer, sparks immediately begin to fly between the two, at the same time that our interest is piqued. Has Nomi become the new 007 in Bond's absence?
In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Lynch confirms that she is indeed the new incumbent of the role, and with it comes a great deal of responsibility, not least as a black woman. The James Bond universe has traditionally been a homogenous, white male zone, and she's come along to tear up the rulebook.
“I am one black woman – if it were another black woman cast in the role, it would have been the same conversation, she would have got the same attacks, the same abuse,” Lynch recalls of the vitriol she experienced on social media. “I just have to remind myself that the conversation is happening and that I’m a part of something that will be very, very revolutionary.”
Nevertheless, she's keen to stress that Nomi won't be a flawless, impervious agent in the employ of the British secret service. Rather, someone who is learning to take on this formidable mantle, humanising the character in the process.
"A character that is too slick, a cast-iron figure? That’s completely against what I stand for," says Lynch. "I didn’t want to waste an opportunity when it came to what Nomi might represent. I searched for at least one moment in the script where black audience members would nod their heads, tutting at the reality but glad to see their real life represented. In every project I am part of, no matter the budget or genre, the black experience that I’m presenting needs to be 100 per cent authentic."
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) and co-written by Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge, No Time To Die has also generated attention for returning to Bond's spiritual homeland. A portion of the action takes place in Jamaica, the place where Bond author Ian Fleming originated the character. (His estate on the island was called Goldeneye). And Lynch says this had personal ramifications for her as someone with Jamaican ancestry.
She explains that shooting on the island gave her "a deeper understanding... of what I’ve chosen to do, of the people I do it for". She adds: "Understanding the privileges as a British-born Jamaican that my parents and grandparents gave to me because they came to England. In a way, it serves as a “thank you” to them for making the sacrifice."
She's 007 in No Time To Die, but there's no word yet as to whether Nomi will carry the Bond baton once Daniel Craig steps down. It seems like this particular Bond movie wants to level up the playing field, also casting Craig's Knives Out co-star Ana De Armas as fellow operative Paloma. But will these lessons be incorporated as the Bond franchise moves further into the 21st century?
We'll have to wait and see. No Time To Die is scheduled for release (at the time of writing) on 2nd April 2021. Do you think Lashana Lynch be carrying the Bond franchise in the wake of this movie? Tweet us your thoughts @Cineworld.