It’s not directly film related, but it very well could be at some point, and maybe a year or two from now, we’ll look back on this news as the beginning of it all.
Ian Fleming Publications Ltd has authorized an all-new one-off comic book series centering around standard 007 character Miss Moneypenny – originally the private secretary of M, the head of MI6, who also has a flirtatious relationship with James Bond. The character was reintroduced in “Skyfall” (2012), played by Naomie Harris and given the first name Eve, a field agent assigned to work with Bond; although by the end of the film, she decides to retire from fieldwork and becomes Mallory’s (Ralph Fiennes) secretary once he takes over the role of M. She also appears in “Spectre” (2015).
Writer Jody Houser has been tapped to script the comic book series, making her the first woman scribe to write a Bond universe comic. She will be joined by artist Jacob Edgar who will illustrate the series which will be titled “James Bond: Moneypenny.”
Dynamite Entertainment, publisher of 007 comic books, will do the same for the Moneypenny project which, as you can see in the teaser cover above, is inspired by Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny – a black Moneypenny.
Per the release, “James Bond: Moneypenny” will center on what is supposed to be a routine protection mission for the character, “until she uncovers a complicated assassination plot that bears a striking and unsettling resemblance to a tragic, and life-changing terrorist attack from her childhood. In the face of imminent danger, will Moneypenny be able summon her secret agent skills to stop the impending plot before it’s too late?”
Writer Jody Houser says, “As someone who came to James Bond late (much to the horror of many of my friends), the idea that I’d get to play in that world is amazing. Writing a character like Moneypenny and exploring what makes her different from the more familiar MI6 operative has been a blast. In this story, we’ll get a look at exactly how she operates and some of the events that made her the woman she is.”
“We’re excited to launch ‘James Bond: Moneypenny’ and bring a fresh, new voice to the Bond universe,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “We’ve followed Jody’s career and have wanted to work with her for quite a big, and this is the perfect project to work with her on. As the first female writer to tackle the comic book world of Bond, Jody is certain to bring new perspective and a fresh take on the iconic characters, while adding that extra touch of class Jody brings to all her works.”
I should note that in the early 2000s, Moneypenny did receive her own spin-off novel, “The Moneypenny Diaries” – a series of books and short stories chronicling the life of Miss Moneypenny, which were published between 2005 and 2008.
And the character has of course appeared in previous Dynamite Entertainment James Bond comics as a peripheral character. But “James Bond: Moneypenny” marks the very first time that the character has received a story series entirely her own in comic book form.
“James Bond: Moneypenny” will hit bookstores on- and offline on August 30th.
An obvious question to ask here is whether this comic book series could lead to an animated or live-action standalone or spinoff Moneypenny TV series or movie, with Naomie Harris (or someone other black actress) starring. Frankly, I don’t see why not. Now is as good a time as any for something like this to happen, as movie studios continue to rely on established properties to fill their lineups – sequels, prequels, spin-offs, etc. Disney has only just begun milking the “Star Wars” universe; and now there’s talk of a “Fast & Furious” spin-off franchise with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham starring; of course we’re all familiar with the Marvel and DC cinematic universes; so why not a 007 universe, spinning off a few of its key characters into their own series or movie franchises. A black woman headlining a high-concept action-adventure movie (forget a franchise) is practically unheard of, and given how universally-known Moneypenny is (even among those racist fanboys/girls who hate that the character is being played by a black actress), there could be a potential goldmine in screen projects built around the character.