Will the James Bond Musical Break 007 in Two?

Competing visions could fracture the franchise.

News that a Broadway production company has secured the rights to James Bond in order to stage a musical has already been greeted with enthusiasm, outrage, confusion, and shrugs by various corners of the Internet. Britain’s top fictitious spy, many argued, is a serious character whose deadly travails deserve better than the Busby Berkeley treatment. MI-6’s brightest, others pointed out, is a ridiculous character who used to fly around in a jetpack and fight in space. Both sides were and are right. The question is whether or not a musical could force a meaningful schism within the church of 007.

The current film Bond, portrayed by Daniel Craig and [maybe Damian Lewis in the nearish future](https://www.inverse.com/article/3853-the-bets-are-in-and-the-james-bond-markets-are-booming, is an unfeeling brute with a violent streak a kilometer wide, very broad shoulders, and eyes like ice palaces. This brooding, fist fight-heavy portrayal is not at odds with the source literature, but it certainly privileges the serious part of Fleming’s stories over the more ridiculous elements. The upcoming Spectre, which will give audiences a big bad with an Oscar, is unlikely to change that.

Craig’s Bond don’t sing. Craig’s Bond don’t dance.

The same couldn’t be said of Roger Moore’s Bond, who was self-consciously absurd, slightly flamboyant, and definitely down for a dance number. That Bond, who effectively passed away in 1985, lived on in the bizarre scripts read with slight hesitation by Pierce Brosnan and in the hearts of fans who prefer their tradecraft with a side of humor. It is this sort of character — sexy, snarky, and apparently immortal — that the unexpectedly good Kingsman: The Secret Service was playing off when it gave us Colin Firth and his battle-tested umbrella.

It’s probably safe to assume that the musical version of Bond (where’s my Jackman at?) is gonna be a bit less buttoned up than Craig, which puts us, the spy-viewing public, in the position of having to either choose between two versions of the same character or hold two opposing ideas in our heads at once. Traditionally, fanboys haven’t been great at that latter trick and the choice seems by its very nature wrong. Bond has always evolved, but he’s never reproduced asexually.

Here’s hoping that having two visions doesn’t devolve into having two franchises. After all, the serious Bond needs the ridiculous Bond to survive. And vice versa.