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license to thrill They're the female stars set to become Bond icons - the women about to go down in movie history

Bond's new glam squad gunning to take over in No Time To Die as 007 finally returns to cinemas

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Cast members Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch with Daniel Craig

Cast members Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch with Daniel Craig

Cast members Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch with Daniel Craig

They're the female stars set to become Bond icons - the super-sleuths and glamorous women about to go down in movie history.

When Ana De Armas and Lashana Lynch come to the big screen in No Time to Die, they will join one of the most iconic movie series ever. And with the return of Naomi Harris and Léa Seydoux, this Bond could be more female-centric than ever before.

Remarkably, given repeated delays in release dates, Bond bosses have been able to keep details of the movie’s plot under wraps. But every indication suggests that female characters will be front and centre — with both women featuring prominently in the trailers. While Bond girls in the past were there to look good, these join the more modern female stars prepared to kick ass.

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Lea Seydoux returns as Madeleine Swann

Lea Seydoux returns as Madeleine Swann

Lea Seydoux returns as Madeleine Swann

Following the huge success of Rian Johnson’s murder mystery Knives Out, De Armas is a bona fide movie star and No Time to Die suggests she will be a major action character.

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'It was a short but really intense immersion into the Bond universe, so I quickly transformed into a CIA agent - she's a lot of fun', says Ana De Armas.

'It was a short but really intense immersion into the Bond universe, so I quickly transformed into a CIA agent - she's a lot of fun', says Ana De Armas.

'It was a short but really intense immersion into the Bond universe, so I quickly transformed into a CIA agent - she's a lot of fun', says Ana De Armas.

Early footage shows her wielding two machine guns while wearing a glamorous ball gown in what is truly a Bond moment.

De Armas will be able to nod to her Cuban heritage — she grew up there before moving to Spain as a teenager — as her character, Paloma. She’s a Cuban agent who is described as “intense” and the actress was supported by her stunt team while filming gritty action scenes.

Because she was also filming the forthcoming Marilyn Monroe movie, Blonde, her schedule was hectic. “Those few days that I did have some training — I had the gun training and learned the choreography for the scenes — were very intense, for sure,” she said recently.

“It was a short but really intense immersion into the Bond universe, so I quickly transformed into a CIA agent. She’s definitely something else that I don’t think we’ve seen in other Bond girls in previous movies. She’s a lot of fun — very active, very badass!”

De Armas said that growing up in Cuba, where there wasn’t a big focus on image, was good for her. “We didn’t have beauty magazines or commercials on TV or anything like that, so everyone was free to be beautiful in their own way,” she said.

“I definitely didn’t grow up with this ideal of beauty or people comparing each other or things like that. It was very healthy mentally, I suppose, for a young girl growing up.”

Could Londoner Lashana Lynch be poised to go down in the history books as a woman with a licence to kill?

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That’s the big question that could change the course of Bond history. There are rumours that her character Nomi is given the 007 title by Daniel Craig’s Bond as he goes into retirement. Others have said producers were creating a female ‘match’ for Bond as a 00 agent rather than turning the iconic character into a woman.

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Lashana Lynch is Nomi in No Time To Die

Lashana Lynch is Nomi in No Time To Die

Lashana Lynch is Nomi in No Time To Die

What we do know is that Nomi is an MI6 agent who will also be cranking up the action. She worked closely with the film’s stunt and armoury teams to convince as an agent on screen. “They hand you a bunch of weapons and they teach you a routine for a few seconds or a minute and then you basically have to copy the routine,” she said in a recent interview with The Guardian.

“So it was like, ‘OK, grab the gun! Shoot! Get down on your knees! Shoot! Roll on your back! Land on your feet! Shoot! Run, run, run! You’ve run out of ammo! Throw that away! Assemble this gun! Shoot!’ And that was the first out of five routines they taught me.”

It’s likely that she will be a key figure in Bond’s arsenal as he faces off against the anarchic baddie Safin. He will be played by Rami Malek in his biggest role since winning an Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Lynch worked closely with Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, one of four writers credited on the film, when it came to developing her character. Bosses cast her after being impressed by her scene-grabbing supporting role as an air-force pilot cast opposite Brie Larson in Captain Marvel.

The two new stars will be joined by returning actress Naomie Harris, who returns as Eve Moneypenny, and French actress Léa Seydoux, who plays Madeleine Swann. Seydoux shone in Spectre as the top psychologist who embarked on a passionate affair with Bond.

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Naomie Harris is Eve Moneypenny.

Naomie Harris is Eve Moneypenny.

Naomie Harris is Eve Moneypenny.

Much secrecy remains as to the motivations of her character and whether she and James will end up together.

Movie bosses have taken a more modern approach to female Bond characters since the days of character names like Pussy Galore. But the women have long earned icon status and gone down in cinema history after being cast, ever since Ursula Andress walked out of the sea in Dr No. It was a scene that Halle Berry would give the nod to when she starred in a Bond movie decades later.

Both Berry and Andress frequently poll among the best Bond girls in the course of its six decades long history.

Others who have become frequent fan favourites include Barbara Bach’s Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me. A formidable adversary, she marked the first time in the series the Bond girl overshadowed the villain.

Goldeneye’s Xenia Onatapp (Famke Janssen) was one of the most fun — a sociopath who loves to kill her men by breaking their backs while they make love.

Played by Jill St John, Tiffany Case is regarded as one of the sexiest, and one of the first to operate to her own agenda.

Another frequent poll-topper is Diana Rigg’s Tracy Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service — a well-drawn character who has a real impact on James, and who Rigg brings brilliantly to life.

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