First, I would like to say the British Film Industry can do whatever the hell it wants. And I am not saying that "race" relations in Britain are anything like race relations in America. In fact, this take is about the weird American reaction to race.
The funny thing is that in America this is spun as some political issue. As though supposed liberals and supposed Conservatives are on different sides of a debate. It is if someone has beaten America silly with a baseball bat for a few centuries. Of course, they are on the same side of the debate. For obvious reasons. The main one being;
They are both unable to understand "race" relations beyond talking in terms of the "White" people and the "Black" people. And it so strange that both groups think it is perfectly healthy to continue to talk about these two fictional groups within the framework of a classification system based upon mythology that leaves out the vast majority of human beings on the planet.
Well, sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. It really depends upon the political argument being put forth at the time. Sometimes it is great to pretend that racial issues are only "Black" and "White". Sometimes other groups previously classified as being "White", are brought into the discussion with a new "racial" definition. Decades ago, Arabs were technically classified as being "White". I mean "technically" they still are. Though I know very few who feel "White" now. That was actually a discussion we had at several meetups in my discussion group.
But anyway, if they wanted to actually do something cutting edge or shocking. . .they could just cast James Bond as an Asian gentleman. They have more than a few Asian actors who have splendid English accents and could pull off the role effortlessly.
And then if they wanted to address the issue of diversity, it would make more sense to look at the conversation within their own nation which primarily involve "Asians". Of course the term in the UK is used differently. It is actually used to reference folks from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. But I don't know enough about the issues there to understand if it is one over the mythology of race, (technically the guy below is "White". . .well, sometimes. . .) or if it is one of culture. I think everyone would agree that British Culture and Cultures from the Middle East and Asia are different. But again, we are talking about a character would have had been born and breed in the United Kingdom.
But we know that will not happen. The conversation will stay stupid and both groups. . .the supposed liberals and the supposed conservatives will pretend they are being diverse by having this discussion limited to these "Blacks" and "Whites". That conversation is not going to change until the folks being excluded demand inclusion. Because the political incentives to keep the conversation weird are too great.
Man. . .race is just a weird, messed up, insane, fruitcake way of talking about people.