As any Bond fan will be able to tell you, there are many rules and tropes the 007 movies stick to religiously. And we could see one of them on display during the live announcement yesterday.
Daniel Craig and company might not be calling the new additions to the cast ‘Bond girls,’ but the fact that three (not including Moneypenny, who hasn’t technically been a Bond girl since Skyfall, after she left the field) actresses will be romantically sparring with James is very telling.
That’s because one of the most reliable rules of the franchise involves the fact there will almost always be three Bond girls. It’s actually a rule that was – slightly bizarrely – set in stone by Roald Dahl.
“You use three different girls and Bond has them all. No more and no less,” the author / scriptwriter for 1967’s You Only Live Twice said.
“Girl number one is violently pro-Bond. She stays around roughly the first reel of the picture. Then, she is bumped off by the enemy, preferably in Bond’s arms. In bed or not in bed? Wherever (the writer) likes, so long as it’s in good taste.”
“Girl number two is anti-Bond. She works for the enemy and stays around for the middle third of the picture. She must capture Bond, and Bond must save himself by bowling her over with sheer sexual magnetism. This girl should also be bumped off, preferably in an original fashion.”
“Girl number three is violently pro-Bond. She occupies the final third of the picture, and she must on no account be killed. Nor must she permit Bond to take any lecherous liberties with her until the very end of the story. We’ll keep that for the fade-out.”
You might not think that the new Bond movies follow the template, but they actually do – mostly.
Casino Royale featured Valenka (Ivana Milicevic), Solange Dimitrios (Caterina Murino) and the iconic Vesper Lynd (Eva Green).
Quantum Of Solace – widely considered the worst of the new films – dispensed with the tradition, but still had Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) and Miss (Strawberry) Fields (Gemma Arterton).
Skyfall went back to the template, with Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), a random lover (Tonia Sotiropoulou), and Severine (Berenice Marlohe).
Spectre had Estrella (Stephanie Sigman), Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), and Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), who will also appear in Bond 25. Her return is said to be a nod to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the last time a Bond girl was allowed to come back in a follow-up movie.
Now, not all of the above films stick to the specific Roald Dahl rules, but it’s still fascinating that the numbers add up for all but the least successful instalment of the modern franchise.
And, with Craig’s Bond movies working as prequels that are building to James becoming the 007 we all know and try to love (but he’ll never let us get close, damn it!), we expect the rule to be firmly in place for Bond 25.
If it is, we expect yesterday’s live reveal actors to fall into the following categories.
Girl number one: Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). Yep, sorry Swann fans, she’s doomed. Swann’s death would have the biggest emotional impact on Bond. We last saw them driving away together, so it would make sense for her to appear in the opening act.
Girl number two: Ana De Armas (Blade Runner 2049). De Armas’ character is yet to be named, but we’d lay down chips at the Blackjack table that she’ll be the evil character Bond needs to seduce. Her complex performance in Blade Runner 2049, combined with the fact Craig has been building chemistry with her in Rian Johnson’s next film Knives Out, makes us think she’s right for this key role.
Girl number three: Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel), another unnamed character, but we completely expect co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge to give this Captain Marvel star a strong presence; expect Lynch to save Bond more than once, with a smooch her reward at the end of the movie.
Time will tell if we’re correct, but with Bond 25 potentially being Craig’s final turn in the tux, expect the film to be a celebration of all of Bond’s tropes, including this slightly weird one.
Bond 25 is released in the UK on 8 April, 2020.