From the beginning of the James Bond movie franchise in 1962, 007 has proved to be a long-lasting cultural icon. The spy for the U.K. Secret Service has now starred in 26 movies, accruing many high-tech gadgets and charming huge amounts of women as he goes. But who is James Bond? Is he a hero? A villain? A symbol of a time gone by? Or totally irrelevant?
Who cares who James Bond is?Show moreShow less
Materially, it means nothing to ask who James Bond is.
James Bond, known as Agent 007, is a fictional spy character created by the British author Ian Fleming. He is a British icon, renowned for his escapades, peerless courage, and success with women. James Bond is also a movie franchise worth billions. Film companies know that they can rely on the fame of James Bond to lure in audiences, and so continue to produce films for financial gain.
James Bond is among the top-grossing movie franchises of all time. Worldwide, it has grossed over 7 billion dollars.Studios continue to produce new iterations of Bond because they know these films will be profitable, not because they love the character.
One of the keys to James Bond's success is the fact that he is such a well known British icon. The first James Bond film premiered in 1962 while the next is slated to appear in late 2020. This makes it the longest-running movie franchise second only to Godzilla. Some have argued that its financial success lies in this longevity,  as its longstanding popularity ensures financial reward.
As a character, James Bond is constantly being reinvented. He has been played by actors including Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, and Timothy Dalton. He is constantly reincarnated for a new generation in order to allow the franchise to continue. The constant actor switchover prevents any real identification with the character and means the character of James Bond remains hollow and lacking in a soul.
To consider who Bond 'is' is meaningless as he is simply an empty husk, continually evoked in order to make people a lot of money. The character is lacking in depth and character development, enhanced by the constant rotating list of actors who play the character.
Many of the recent Bond products, whether they be film or literary, have been critically acclaimed. The Telegraph even called Kingsley Amis' Bond book, published under a pseudonym, the best Bond story since Ian Fleming. 
The financial success of the James Bond films is in many ways unpredictable. A James Bond film does not ensure financial reward. The two highest grossing James Bond films, Skyfall and Thunderball, were produced nearly 50 years apart.
[P1] Bond movies are extremely lucrative.
[P2] The movies are produced simply to make money.
[P3] The character of Bond has no inherent 'soul' - it doesn't matter who he is.