Everything pertaining to the future of the James Bond franchise is up in the air, as No Time To Die’s celebration of the Daniel Craig era draws closer towards its close. With no official successor selected to become the next 007, everything seems to hang in the balance after the risk-taking finale of the 25th Bond movie. However, Naomie Harris hopes to hang onto her 007 role, despite having a killer choice for her replacement.
Before her recent remarks naming actor Olivia Colman as her choice for the next Moneypenny, I had the honor of asking Ms. Harris what she thought about the potential future for her member of the MI6 family. Even better, I was able to pose this question in a face-to-face interview, on behalf of CinemaBlend, as part of the No Time To Die home video press experience. Once that query was in the room, Naomie Harris shared with me the following feelings about the future of Eve Moneypenny:
More recently, Naomie Harris has gone on record as saying that if it’s not her that’s going to be playing the role of Moneypenny, then The Lost Daughter’s Colman is her choice for recasting the role. That’s an absolutely amazing decision, should the world have to brace itself for another MI6 shake up. As that subject is still very much in play, it’s perhaps an appropriate time to think back on how killer Naomie Harris’ casting in this era happened to be, and how it gave the formerly lovelorn secretary a new, more modern purpose.
Introduced in 2012’s Skyfall, Harris’ reinvention of Moneypenny was a crucial component to returning to some of the 007 franchise’s traditions. While Casino Royale threw out a quick quip alluding to the legendary sparring partner that Bonds of the past got to flirt with in the past, that character would be absent for the first two Craig era adventures. As it came time to see Dame Judi Dench’s Olivia Mansfield transition her mantle of leadership to Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory, it was also the time to continue the reassembly of the MI6 family.
Naomie Harris’ casting definitely gave the character the reinvention that the Daniel Craig years required. Known as “Eve” throughout director Sam Mendes’ James Bond franchise debut, we did see 007 and Miss Moneypenny flirt with blurring (but never crossing) the lines of their workplace relationship. That was only after we saw Harris open the 23rd Bond movie by supposedly killing the good Commander, and being reassigned to a desk job.
Fully intending to get back out into the field, the harrowing adventure that saw Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) sending shockwaves through the intelligence community convinced Moneypenny to resume her traditional post. Even in that decision, Spectre and No Time To Die would see Ms. Harris’ variation on the character providing valuable backchannel intel for a rogue James Bond throughout the next two missions. By time the sorrow filled finale of No Time To Die saw her paying respects to the fallen 007, she stood alongside Q, M, and Tanner as an equal partner of the team that helped save the world.
That only ties back to the MI6 family both Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig spoke about restoring when talking about the Skyfall experience in Being James Bond: The Daniel Craig Story. Laying out the story of how this crucial installment of the Craig era was meant to continue the evolution of what that five film arc would come to represent, the casting of those roles was just as important as bringing Moneypenny and Q back out to play. That conversation, as heard in the documentary you can watch with a 4K UHD copy or digital purchase of the No Time To Die, went as follows:
The chances of seeing Moneypenny return alongside James Bond will almost definitely rest on whomever is casted in the role next. The chemistry of the MI6 family with Commander Bond remains as one of those hallmarks that you really can’t break too far away from. Just as you can pretty much always count on M playing for the side of right, even if they happen to be a bit morally skewed from time to time, Moneypenny will be there to keep 007 in line in her own way. Whatever the next era of Bond film calls for will have to come first, but it would be an absolute shame not to at least try and keep Naomie Harris, and the family that’s played together for the last three films, in the picture.
We can leave that discussion for another day, as right now, No Time To Die is available for purchase or rental on digital and physical media. Just as we’re celebrating the end of Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond, we should honor Naomie Harris and her talented revision of Moneypenny. Both of which are good occasions to kick off 2022 with, as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the 007 cinematic legacy, and the total history of all things Bond will be on everyone’s minds in the first place.