James Bond has been played by a number of actors during his close to 60-year history on the silver screen, but never a Muslim. Now comments from Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed have sparked a discussion of the possibility.
Over the years, there have been 26 feature films featuring author Ian Fleming's literary creation.
Twenty-four of those films were produced by the Britain-based Eon Productions, while a 1967 spoof of Casino Royale was handled separately by producers Charles K. Feldman and Jerry Bresler. Actor David Niven starred.
The 26th film, Never Say Never Again, is essentially a remake of the Eon-produced Thunderball. Both films starred Sean Connery in the 007 role.
Connery is also the actor most often associated with the character. His initial run was interrupted for one film by George Lazenby (On Her Majesty's Secret Service), before he finished up the official Eon slate with Diamonds Are Forever and then handed off to Roger Moore.
Moore starred in seven James Bond films. Timothy Dalton took over for two and passed it off to Pierce Brosnan, who added four to the official canon.
Current James Bond actor Daniel Craig has not confirmed whether he will be returning for a fifth entry, and some recent comments have indicated he is considering stepping away from the role, the Express reports.
That means Eon may need to be on the lookout for a new star sooner than expected, and it is not uncommon to look for said star from outside England.
Looking at Eon's past leading men, Connery was from Scotland; Lazenby from Australia; Moore and Craig from England; Dalton from Wales; and Brosnan from Ireland.
Skin tones and hair colors have not stuck to one pattern either with Connery, Lazenby, and Brosnan possessing darker looks, while Moore, Dalton, and Craig have gone lighter.
Therefore, there is some precedent for changing up the look of James Bond, and that precedent has led some to question why James Bond cannot be black or Muslim.
@rogueIeader No. Just, no. Could there be anybody more Bond-like than Idris Elba?? pic.twitter.com/gpaDNoSjZSIdris Elba is often a name touted as a worthy replacement for Craig, so much so that the black actor had to respond to casting rumors he might be taking the part last year.
— Freckles (@ORgrannie) March 4, 2017
Recently, Riz Ahmed addressed Parliament about how important it is for the U.K. to start offering more roles for Muslim actors. According to Fox News, Ahmed said a lack of diversity would cause some to "retreat to fringe narratives, to bubbles online and sometimes even off to Syria."
"If we fail to represent, we are in danger of losing people to extremism. If we don't step up and tell a representative story,... we are going to start losing British teenagers to the story that the next chapter in their lives is written with ISIS in Syria. We are going to see the murder of more [members of Parliament] like Jo Cox because we've been mis-sold a story that is so narrow about who we are and who we should be."Ahmed was not speaking directly about James Bond with these remarks, but that did not stop discussion from veering in that direction.
Conservative podcast host and owner of the Daily Wire Ben Shapiro included the remarks on his "Things I Hate" segment near the end of his latest episode, and, in a bit of hyperbole, attacked how "ridiculous" it was to suggest that because Eon doesn't cast a Muslim as the next James Bond, Muslim youths might feel justified to join ISIS.
Some on Twitter have ran with the idea as well.
fancast: Riz Ahmed as Bond, James Bond. pic.twitter.com/cu0xJ6W2yYBut what do you think, readers? Should the next James Bond be Muslim? Sound off in the comments section below.
— Rita (@finnsbodhi) March 4, 2017
[Featured Image by Eon Productions/Sony Pictures]