When asked about how the next Bond film might reflect “societal changes,” Broccoli indicated such things are always on her mind when it comes to the character:
“We always sit down with our writers, and we start by thinking about what is the world afraid of? We start by thinking about, ‘Who’s the Bond villain?'”
Fleming’s original Bond stories were a product of the Cold War, and in the earliest of them, Bond fights the Soviet intelligence agency SMERSH. When Daniel Craig assumed the part of 007 in “Casino Royale,” the post-9/11 world’s fear was of terrorists. So, the villain of that film, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), was a man who funds them. However, according to Broccoli, politics aren’t the only thing that goes into making a Bond villain:
“We try to focus on that as the sort of uber story, and then we want to also look at Bond’s emotional life, and what he’ll be facing personally that he hasn’t had to deal with before. So he has two big issues in the films — one is the geopolitical one and the other is the personal one.”
The last few Bond films leaned hard into the personal conflict side of things; Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) in “Skyfall” was a dark reflection of Bond while Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) in “Spectre” was reimagined as Bond’s adopted brother. Commentary on the surveillance state fell by the wayside. “No Time To Die” is likewise concerned more with tragedy than sociology, despite a coincidental reflection of the real world; Safin (Rami Malek) is a bio-terrorist in a film released during a global pandemic.
If a proper balance of geopolitical and personal conflict is what’s key to a great Bond villain, then restoring that balance in the next film will be key.