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James Bond Already Introduced a Female 00 Agent ... 54 Years Ago

An unconfirmed weekend report that Captain Marvel co-star Lashana Lynch will be introduced in Bond 25 as a new 007 set social media ablaze as commenters speculated what this might mean for the unabashedly masculine franchise. To be clear, the rumor doesn't state that Lynch's character will be the new Bond; that's still Daniel Craig, for at least this film. Instead, she'll be the new 007. However, she wouldn't be the first female 00 agent.

As author and Bond fan Mark O'Connell pointed out, the first female 00 is rather cryptically introduced in 1965's Thunderball, during the gathering of the elite MI6 operatives who possess a "license to kill." Although the nine assembled agents are shown in full from the back, while seated at a table the third from the left is, indeed, a woman, as O'Connell demonstrated in a behind-the-scenes photo. We can find further examples in other, later Bond media.

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Six years later, the 1971 Bond newspaper strip Fear Face introduced Briony Thorne, Agent 0013, who is ensnared into a conspiracy that frames her as a double agent working for the Chinese. She reaches out to Bond, her former lover, for help, but he’s not immediately convinced of her innocence, and flips a coin to decide whether to assist Thorne. Her role slips into damsel-in-distress territory when she’s captured and must be rescued for Bond. But at least by the end of Fear Face her name is cleared, and she’s reinstated as Agent 0013.

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There's also Suzie Kew, the MI6 operative who teams with Bond for her first "kill" assignment in the 1973-1974 strip Beware of Butterflies (however, her precise 00 designation is never revealed). And then there's Scarlett Papava, who replaces Frederick Wardner as 004 in in the 2008 novel Devil May Care, set in 1967.

Naomi Harris as Moneypenny in Skyfall

While it's hardly considered canon, let's not forget the five women in 1967's Casino Royale (Vesper Lynd, Miss Moneypenny, Mata Bond and The Detainer) assigned a fake 007 number by MI6 in order to confuse Bond’s enemies.

Since 2012’s Skyfall, Moneypenny’s role has been rewritten to make her a much more hands-on. In Skyfall, Naomi Harris plays Eve Moneypenny, an active and effective agent who only at the end decides to retire from the field to become assistant to the new M. And of course, there’s M, played by Judi Dench from 1995’s GoldenEye until 2012’s Skyfall. That version of M was based on Stella Rimington, who was MI5’s director from 1992 to 1995.

Directed and co-written by Cary Fukunaga, Bond 25 stars Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen and Rami Malek. It is scheduled for release on April 8, 2020.

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