Phoebe Waller-Bridge Contributed More To No Time To Die Than You May Think

We're right in the middle of the "Twiddling our thumbs" phase of the "No Time to Die" cycle — far enough away from release that we've already been exposed to the majority of marketing (doubly so, considering the film's many delays and false starts), but close enough that we have nothing better to do except hang onto every new quote that comes out these days.

Luckily for the "James Bond" franchise, there's no shortage of the latter. Most recently, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli enlightened us on the general timeline for finding Daniel Craig's replacement as Bond. Elsewhere in that same interview, the creative pair also remarked on the extent of actor/writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge's contributions to the script and to clarify the important fact that she wasn't only brought on board to focus on female characters.

Bridge-ing the Gap

Fans everywhere were surprised and delighted when we first learned that "No Time to Die" had recruited someone of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's talent level to punch up the script. The common presumption was that, with an increased emphasis on sensitivity towards how women are treated in film in recent years (we, uh, still have a long way to go in that department), the star and creator of "Fleabag" would be adding a crucial woman's perspective on the story and ensuring that the characters portrayed by Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, and Léa Seydoux (among others) wouldn't suffer the same ignominious fate that has befallen many a female character in the "Bond" franchise before. Waller-Bridge herself clarified her approach to the rewrites previously, but now we're finally getting a sense of to what extent she reworked the script. According to Deadline (via IndieWire), Michael B. Wilson described it as "a major contribution."

"She gave us an interesting point-of-view for several of the characters. It's unfair to think of her as a female writer ... she contributed to the whole plot of the film."

Carefully parsing these words, it seems clear that Wilson is basically saying that one doesn't hire Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the purpose of imposing restrictions on what she may or may not be allowed to focus on. Admittedly, the assumption that she would only improve dialogue and scenes that involve female characters was always more than a little regressive. There's absolutely no reason why the default mindset should be that writers who happen to be women must be limited to writing for characters who also happen to be women — especially when it comes to "Bond" movies, which you may have noticed tend to focus on a male lead and plenty of action.

Here's hoping we find out more specifics about Waller-Bridge's ideas after "No Time to Die" comes to theaters on October 8, 2021.