James Bond's Ben Whishaw Weighs In On The 'Radical' Changes He Thinks The Franchise Needs

As prestigious (and lucrative) as the James Bond gig appears from the outside looking in, I've come to the conclusion that it must be a weirdly thankless position to be in. Imagine being Daniel Craig, and instead of everyone celebrating your remarkable run as the title character upon the conclusion of "No Time to Die," the internet is mostly just looking ahead and fan-casting their personal choices for your replacement, while everyone involved in the franchise is commenting on where things should be taken next. I'd probably resent that a bit! 

Then again, Craig can sleep soundly knowing that early reactions for his swan song have been largely positive and, well, he hasn't been shy about looking to the future of the franchise, either.

All that to say that Q himself, Ben Whishaw, has become the latest to voice his thoughts on the direction the "James Bond" franchise ought to take. Honestly, if there's anyone who's entitled to offer his recommendations on such a legendary property, I'd humbly suggest that the star of the delightful "Paddington" movies is right at the top of the list.

"It's Got to Change"

"No Time to Die" just held its world premiere in London, and while the star of the show is obviously the farewell to Craig's iteration of James Bond, there's one pressing question at the forefront of everyone's mind: What comes next? 

Variety caught up with Ben Whishaw, the actor who has portrayed a more modernized version of gadget guru Q since 2012's "Skyfall," to ask him the very same question regarding the next actor to take over the reins from Craig as the beloved superspy.

"If they want to continue with this character and the franchise, I think you can explode it and do anything. I don't know what that should be, but it seems to me like it should be something quite radical, something really different. It's got to change; it's got to keep changing. We're in different times now."

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets some flak for its — let's call it rigid — approach to a certain visual and storytelling "house style" (rightfully so, mind you), the "Bond" franchise probably reigns supreme as the king of formula. Seriously, you could pick any assortment of pre-Craig films at random, and the familiar narrative beats, structure, and flow of the movies will become apparent to even the most casual of fans. That's why Whishaw's words here ring so true, as the most obvious path to keeping these movies fresh and relevant is to change things up in a big way. If that manifests itself in casting a version of Bond who has never been seen before, then it appears that Whishaw, among many others, is a strong proponent of that. He goes on to say:

"There will always be people who want it to stick to the way it was whenever ago, and they're important, because they love these films. But I think you can do both. You can honor the character and the tradition, and you can push it forward, too. And I think you have to, if it's not just going to become a kind of museum piece."

This is an even more fitting remark, particularly given his character's introduction in "Skyfall." The entire movie concerns itself with the idea of a past-his-prime Bond finding his place in a world that seems to have moved beyond him, and the initial scene between Bond and Whishaw's Q embodies this perfectly. It's maybe not coincidental that the "Bond" franchise could find itself at a similar crossroads as the character himself did in "Skyfall" (and "Spectre," and probably even "No Time to Die"), but future storytellers are certain to have quite the task on their hands with figuring out how to keep audiences interested in a very old-fashioned action hero.

"No Time to Die" hits U.S. theaters on October 8, 2021.