Naomie Harris Wants to Be the New Judi Dench Of The 007 Franchise

This generation’s Moneypenny hopes to become a franchise “mainstay.”

Naomie Harris is doing a Spectre Q&A on Twitter today, and for people looking to read the tea leaves for any news about Bond 25 and beyond, this was interesting: when asked where she wanted to take the role going forward, Harris said: “What Judi Dench did for M - she was a mainstay of the franchise for so many years I hope that my work as MP can be the same!"

You know what that means: Daniel Craig, no Daniel Craig, I’d like to stay on board, please and thank you! When her next answer described the 007 series as “a huge franchise that doesn't feel like a machine, instead feels intimate & personal and like part of a family,” it became clear that Ms. Harris is in no hurry to vacate Moneypenny’s shoes. And why should she be? Her version of the character - smart, confident, and fully capable of handling herself - has been a welcome and refreshing addition to the 54-year-old franchise. (Of course, Lois Maxwell played the part for 23 years across 14 films, so Harris has a while to go before she starts breaking any records.)

The interesting thing to ponder here: if Craig does depart (rumored to be the case the second he signed onto the projected 20-part TV project Purity) but they keep the whole supporting cast intact, will modern, continuity-fixated audiences accept a new actor as the same “person”? Or will Eon heir apparent Gregg Wilson use this occasion to cast younger, and to finally - and regrettably - canonize the “James Bond is a code name” malarkey? Val Kilmer took over for Michael Keaton as Batman 21 years ago. How do you sell this kind of leading man recast in 2016 without rebooting?

Harris went on to say that she really hopes to work with Craig on the next one. It goes without saying that I hope they give Craig some breathing room to do other things (as they did between 2008 and 2012) and invite him back for one final mission. Yes, I'm repeating myself and yes, I'm okay with that.