Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has refuted rumours that 007 could also have a woman lead. The head of Eon Productions, who signs off on every key hiring in the franchise, said she will be discussing who will take over the role from Daniel Craig next year and that it will be a man.

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She told the PA news agency: “James Bond is a male character. I hope that there will be many, many films made with women, for women, by women, about women. I don’t think we have to take a male character and have a woman portray him. So yes, I see him as male”, reports Dailymail.

Broccoli also admitted she hasn’t faced the fact that Daniel Craig is stepping down as Jamed Bond.

“I’m sort of in denial, I would love for Daniel to continue forever,’ she went on. ‘So I’m not thinking about (his replacement). That’s something Michael (G Wilson, her half-brother and fellow producer) and I will discuss next year,” she said.

Craig will not play the part any longer, following the latest film ‘No Time To Die’.

Asked if conversations about Craig’s successor are imminent, she replied: ‘No. We want to celebrate the fantastic tenure of Daniel Craig, who’s given everything to this character into this franchise for 15 years and it is really time to celebrate him.’

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‘No Time To Die’ director Cary Joji Fukunaga said whoever replaces Craig will have a tough act to follow, reports Dailymail.

Asked if he would like to see more diversity in the character, Fukunaga,  the first American to direct a Bond film, said: ‘That’s a tough one. I don’t actually have a strong opinion either way on that. I think it’s going to be hard for anyone to follow in Daniel’s footsteps because, for me, as much as I liked Pierce Brosnan, I was in my early 20s, and kind of checking out of the films a bit.

“When Daniel came in, it was such a different version of the character that I hadn’t seen before, it made me lean back in as an adult. Whoever plays it just needs to have that charisma, needs to have those layers.

“So, I think the most important thing is that there’s attrition to the character, obviously, in terms of who they are and what they’re made up of, but I don’t really have an opinion beyond that.”

Craig, 53, told Radio Times last week that he also believes Bond should remain male.

“There should simply be better parts for women and actors of colour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?” he said.