The paper said Sony's top executives are already thinking of ways to make Bond more attractive to younger audiences, although the acquisition of Bond's home studio -- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -- is still months away from being finalized.
Citing sources familiar with Sony, the Times said the executives are contemplating broadening 007's appeal beyond the male demographic that goes for fiery explosions and gorgeous women -- and aiming at the broader audience that made "Spider-Man" a blockbuster for Sony.
However, the newspaper said Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson are fiercely protective of the well-established image their late father, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, shaped for Bond from the beginning of the profitable movie series in the 1960s.
According to the Times, the Broccolis have a license to kill ideas they don't like -- and they've used it in the past on such notions as giving Bond a son, exploring his darker side, and even making him a latent homosexual.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]