There’s currently speculation (again) about the possibility of Idris Elba getting cast as the new Bond once wossname who is currently doing it hangs up his Martini. (You can tell, can’t you, that Bond films are not terribly my thing.) This has brought about a predictable flowing of white mantears online, just as predictable as those that squirted out when the new Dr Who was announced, or when the all-female remake of Ghostbusters hit the cinemas.
I can think of only one person who might have had some slight justification for objecting to the idea of a black Bond, and that person has been dead for longer than I have been alive. I would have a little tiny bit of sympathy for an author whose most famous creation was to be portrayed in a way the author felt was not their vision but, then again, the minute you hand over your novel to film-makers, you have to accept that they are going to do as they see fit with your characters.
If it were me who had created a character so iconic, so recognisable, that the character’s name has been part of the culture for over half a century, I’d like to think I would be both intrigued and thrilled rather than sulky if someone proposed a radical change to the way that character is portrayed onscreen. If you originated a figure so memorable that they are open to many different interpretations, you might look on it as one way of having achieved a fragment of immortality for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with seeing your own work through someone else’s eyes – and it’s maybe something worth considering when you first start creating characters to inhabit your new universe of possibilities. There’s more than enough room for new icons along with the established ones.