People itching to see a black James Bond in this lifetime may see their dream come true sooner rather than later.
British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo (he played Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma) will use his voice to play Bond in a new audiobook called Trigger Mortis, The Guardian reports.
At first glance it doesn't seem terribly impressive because it's just an audiobook, right, and not a feature film? But not so fast.
It's a pretty big deal because Trigger Mortis is the latest novel to come out of the Bond franchise, and Oyelowo said that the Ian Fleming estate—Fleming is the creator of the Bond series—called Oyelowo and asked him to play Bond in the audiobook.
"I was asked specifically by the Fleming estate, which is really special," Oyelowo said.
He described how huge this opportunity is for actors and actresses looking to play good roles in high-quality scripts.
"I am officially the only person on planet Earth who can legitimately say, 'I am the new James Bond'—even saying that name is the cinematic equivalent of doing the 'To be or not to be' speech," Oyelowo said, referencing the highly coveted role of Prince Hamlet in the Shakespearean play Hamlet.
Idris Elba's name has been No. 1 on a short list of black actors whom folks want to see play Bond. But that the creator of the Bond franchise thought a black man could bring Bond to life in an audiobook means that the powers that be are probably warming up to the idea of booking a black man for the lead role.
It's super cool, but we also shouldn't give too much power to the Bond franchise in terms of legitimizing the ability of black men to carry huge franchises. We should be fine and impressed with the black characters our black actors and actresses play. But the Bond franchise would be a big deal for Oyelowo or Elba. Audiences everywhere will see that badass spy agents can come in all colors.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.