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James Bond

Who will be the next James Bond?

After ruling himself out of returning as Bond in 2015, Daniel Craig has now confirmed that he will be taking on the 007 mantle again. After Bond 25, who will be next in line?

As much as we've loved his run as 007, Daniel Craig’s stint as James Bond must come to an end. Having previously stated that he would rather harm himself than return to the tux, it didn't take long for him to jump back in the Aston Martin.

No Time To Die, formerly known as Bond 25, will be Daniel Craig’s fifth (and most likely) final film in the franchise. So the question everyone is asking is, “Who’s next?”

From Tom Hiddleston, to Richard Madden and the newly rumoured Harry Styles, there are a whole host of candidates who we could soon see sipping on a freshly shaken martini. Much like predicting the winner of the Grand National, there can only be one victor. Be they the star of a former primetime BBC drama, a man who's more familiar with superheroic spandex or Idris Elba. Here we judge who could and should become the next James Bond.

Read more: The secret history of James Bond

The contenders (for the Bond after Craig)

Michael Fassbender

Bookies have slashed the odds of Michael Fassbender becoming Bond after a series of large bets were made. Could someone involved in the project be trying to cash in on their insider knowledge?

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Why: Despite his insistence that he'll never be Bond during his 2016 GQ cover shoot, it looks like Michael Fassbender might actually be in the running to play 007 once again, after the bookies' odds flew from 33/1 to 6/1 in just a week. The reason? A series of large bets have reportedly been made on Fassbender getting the role, leading many to believe that someone in the know is trying to make some extra cash from their secret knowledge. According to Coral bookmakers, he's now the favourite to take on the role next, let's be honest, the fact that he's previously said that he won't play Bond means very little in the world of 007 – just look at Daniel Craig.

Why not: Fassbender previously told us that he thinks he's too old for the role and that he supports the idea of a female Bond, which could either be interpreted as reasons he thinks he won't be offered the role or reasons for him turning it down should an offer be put on the table. Still, as we've seen before, minds can quickly change when the prospect of actually playing 007 is planted within them. As admirable as his calls for a younger or female Bond are, we reckon that there's a chance Fassbender could be swayed...

Daniel Craig... again

The current 007 is widely seen as the best in modern times – but would he play Bond again after the 2020 film?

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Why: Despite having stated in 2015 that he'd rather slash his wrists than have to play Bond again, Daniel Craig's return as James Bond has been confirmed by the man himself. In a conference to announce No Time To Die he remained sphinx-like about the film itself, but did have warm words to add about staying with the franchise a bit longer. “I’ve tried during my tenure to continue that tradition of making movies that stand out and are different from the other movies out there," he said.

Mr Craig has since recuperated from the physically tough and mentally challenging task of filming Spectre and last October he explained the above remark by saying he was fatigued at the time and had been missing his family. “It was the day after filming [stopped on Spectre]. I’d been away from home for a year,” the actor recalled.

Moreover, speaking at the New Yorker festival in the same month, Craig told the audience "I've got the best job in the world doing Bond... there's no other job like it," fuelling fire to the rumours that he will don the Bond black tie tux, perhaps even more than one more time. And with alleged rumours that he's been offered £120 million for his return as James Bond in two more films, surely it would be impossible to turn down the role that shot him him to world fame, beyond 2020?

Read more: Black tie rules explained: everything you need to know about wearing black tie

Why not: Craig, 49, will have starred in five Bond films and may find a sixth film too strenuous. After all he's made his money (with a rumoured £48.66 million payday for Spectre), and more importantly cemented himself as one of the greatest and most unique Bonds ever. What more does he have to prove?

Lashana Lynch

New rumours have revealed British actor Lashana Lynch may now be in the running to play 007.

© Charley Gallay

Why: If there’s one way to truly spice up the Bond franchise, it’s to turn the tables on 007’s gender. While scriptwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge has already confirmed Lynch will star in the new instalment, according to the Daily Mail, a “movie insider” has tipped that 31-year-old Lynch will be introduced to audiences as agent 007. And with Waller-Bridge in charge of the new script, there’s an even higher likelihood that the Killing Eve head writer could make the hero a heroine. Plus, in the current #MeToo climate, having Lynch step in as 007 could be a genius ploy to avoid Bond’s outdated womanising ways.

Why not: Compared to the other actors in this list, Lynch’s Hollywood roles – notably Rosaline Capulet in the ABC period drama series Still Star-Crossed and as fighter pilot Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel – have been reasonably small. And if the rumours are to believed, Lynch will be taking Craig's job at MI6 as opposed to his role as James Bond.

Richard Madden

The new bookies' favourite and leading man in the BBC’s smash hit Bodyguard has the jawline and the skillset, and he’s even caught the attention of the Bond bosses.

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Why: Any prospective Bond has to prove they can play seduction and espionage in equal measure, and Richard Madden has done that repeatedly: as both hopeless romantic and war hero Robb Stark, as Prince Charming in Cinderella, in the action film Bastille Day. His latest role, as David Budd in Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard, has got tongues wagging afresh: including that of Bond head honcho Barbara Broccoli. The Daily Mail reports “Bond bosses are on the brink of approaching the Bodyguard star”.

Why not: It's not so much about his suitably and more about what Madden told us when he was our cover star. “The papers make up a story on a Sunday so they can discredit that story on the Monday so they can sell papers on both days,” he told our own Stuart McGurk. “I don’t want to curse anything by saying anything. I think that’s the curse of that. If you talk about it, you’ll curse it.” But he did admit he's a big fan of Bond, so if he's approached, it sounds like it would take a lot for him to say no.

James Norton

The star of television Happy Valley, War and Peace and Grantchester

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Why: Norton’s profile rocketed in 2016 with his triple whammy performances in Happy Valley (profound psycho), War and Peace (mournful warrior) and Grantchester (Anglican priest with a robust moral compass). With an eclectic mix of characters already on his CV, as well as an education at Cambridge, we’re certain that Norton could easily slip into the role of the suave and sophisticated 007. Hollywood veteran Diane Keaton told Sky News that Norton would be perfect for the 007 role: "He's got everything that you need. First of all he's extremely attractive, very smart, he's well educated, and he's a fantastic actor. And he's sexy, right? I'm not wrong, I mean women are gonna love him.” And at the young age of 32, he could definitely carry the Bond franchise for many years to come.

Why Not: Like Aidan Turner, the issue with Norton is his ability to attract a large enough audience to back him. The transition from beloved TV actor to the face of the world’s biggest action franchise could prove to be too big of an ask for young Norton. Cavill has Superman, Hiddleston has Loki and Fassbender has Magneto; Norton is still yet to prove that he’s true blockbuster material.

Tom Hardy

(Arguably) the acting talent of his generation

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Why: He’s box office, pure and simple. How many actors could pull off a one man film (as Tom Hardy did in Locke) and then play both leading roles in another (a.k.a.Legend)? He plays a suave, vaguely Bondish figure in Christopher Nolan’s Inception too.

The there's Venom, which will be released in October 2018, and will no doubt continue to prove the incredible extent of Hardy’s acting talent.

For our money, Hardy physically resembles Fleming’s Bond and would bring a dangerous edge and devastating talent. And recently he fuelled the debate by stating: “There’s a saying amongst us in the fraternity of acting... that if you talk about it [Bond rumours] you’re automatically out of the race. So I can’t possibly comment on that one!”

Why not: Bond might be too mainstream for the independent-minded Hardy. He likes creative freedom, as roles in Locke, The Drop and London Road attest. His blockbuster works with Nolan were both one-off appearances, not recurring franchise roles. Plus Hardy may have just found his ideal franchise in the inventive, critically acclaimed Mad Max. Bond may want Hardy more than Hardy wants Bond.

Tom Hiddleston

The Marvel villain

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Why: for starters, Tom Hiddleston's already made a success of playing a beguiling spy. Impressing critics and drawing huge audiences as Jonathan Pine in the BBC's The Night Manager, a drama series based on the John le Carré novel, is as close as it gets to a public job application for the role. He's tall, charming, well dressed and has a built-in fan base thanks to his performance as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why not: again, for starters, he's already made a success of playing a beguiling spy. Would he want to do that again? As his performance in High-Rise shows, he doesn't always take obvious roles. He might look at Daniel Craig's frustrations from playing one role for a decade and think "no thanks." Another factor: Bond producer Barbara Broccoli was reported to say recently that he's "too posh".

Idris Elba

The star of The Wire and Luther has long been a front-runner. A popular choice with critics and fans alike.

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Why: Amidst all the other names that are thrown around, Elba’s has been the one that keeps seeming to crop up, and unsurprisingly, given he is the perfect fit for the Bond criteria: tall, ridiculously attractive, magnetic. Recent reports suggest that the pendulum has finally swung fully towards Elba (much to our delight), with Barbara Broccoli, the franchise’s producer, quoted as saying ‘it is time’ for a non-white actor to take on the part as Bond, James Bond. Elba fits the criteria as an actor though, and shouldn’t be assumed as the only non-white candidate for the role, but of course we are hoping Broccoli’s statement is finally enacted, and who better than one of the front-runners to become Britain’s best known Secret Service agent.

Why not: Quite simply the moment may have passed. Elba is 45: only four years younger than Daniel Craig, who is approaching the end of his Bond career. His age has been the biggest factor in the argument against Idris Elba, and if this were the reason for him to miss out on playing one of the biggest roles in Hollywood (and for us to miss seeing him on our screens) we would be less than impressed. After all, Roger Moore was the same age when he took up the role in 1973 (Live and Let Die), and retired from Bond aged 58. Moral of the story: there’s plenty of time.

Riz Ahmed

The first brown Bond?

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Why: In our September issue, we asked Ahmed if he would consider taking on the prestigious 007 role. His answer: ‘you know, any stretching the mould of what our traditional archetypes are appeals to me – so yes, those classic stories, be it a kind of superhero or James Bond.’ We’re hoping this will potentially bring him into the running, as it should do, being incredibly handsome with the acting ability to back him up. Step aside Q, Ahmed boasts a jawline sharp enough to cut Bond’s enemies on.

Why not: He would, perhaps, be the shortest Bond to have graced our screens but hopefully we have all moved on from thinking this is a hard-and-fast requirement, especially when we’re all viewing an enlarged 30”x70” image in the cinema. Ahmed’s past roles also may make him a more unconventional choice for the role – Four Lions, as an obvious example – but parts in Nightcrawler and critically-acclaimed The Night Of give us a glimpse into his versatile acting abilities.

Henry Cavill

Superman, Napoleon Solo and only 32.

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Why: Draw a picture of Bond and the result would be Henry Cavill. Square-jawed, broad shouldered, dark haired, blue eyed. Classically handsome but could clearly take you in a fight. Auditioning for the role, aged 22, in 2005, Cavill reached the final two before Craig edged him out. (Apparently it was a virtual toss-up.) Ten years later, matured as an actor and a man, surely he should go one better?

Why not: Too many franchises. Cavill cuts a dashing figure but nobody can be Superman and James Bond. It would be too distracting, the scheduling would be a nightmare, and your ego would probably explode. Likewise, Cavill’s stint as Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E is probably too Bond: ditch Solo’s American accent and it’s the same character. Bond may have missed out on him.

Aidan Turner

The brooding Irishman stealing hearts across the nation. So far, so Brosnan...

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Why: After Poldark, the legion of female fans is guaranteed. That and The Hobbit (he played a dwarf) proved Turner has the requisite swashbuckle to convince as a superspy. At 34, the age is right even if Craig stays for one last mission. Both Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan graduated from television lead to James Bond; Turner would follow a similar trajectory. Like Nicholas Hoult, he would offer a fresh take on Bond but Turner’s looks are fiercer than his boyish rival.

Why not: Superficially there are few obvious impediments to Turner: profile, age and look all feel about right. The real issue is star power: could he carry the longest running cinematic franchise of all time? Sunday nights on the BBC is one thing; pulling off James Bond is quite another. Were Michael Fassbender (who's ruled himself out of playing James Bond) or Hardy to throw their hat on the stand it seems unlikely Turner could fend them off. But who knows what might happen in the screentest.

Nicholas Hoult

The golden boy of British acting looks ready for superstardom. But Bond?

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Why: This would be another brave choice with the potential to pay dividends. A young, hungry British actor with franchise experience but no defining role: Nicholas Hoult has the talent to grab the franchise by the scruff of the neck. He’s a very different actor to Craig, smoother and less physical: it would refreshing to see a new interpretation of the character.

Why not: High of cheekbone, cherubic of lip - is Hoult too pretty for Bond? Can you really imagine him beating a henchman to a pulp? At 28, Hoult would be the youngest Bond, and compared to the weathered Daniel Craig he might look more One Direction than 007. Assuming he doesn’t land a different franchise lead, Hoult could be the perfect eighth Bond in a decade. Just not the seventh one right now.

Damian Lewis

Forget black Bond - surely a ginger Bond would mark the true revolution. Is the world ready?

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Why: After shining in Homeland and Wolf Hall and Billions, Damien Lewis has proved himself as an incredibly smooth performer and would offer a refreshing change after the bluntness of Craig. His 2013 Jaguar short film “Desire” - in which Lewis plays a mystery courier entangled with a beautiful woman - almost feels like an extended audition for the role. It’s one he passes, comfortably. Plus it would strike a blow for redheads everywhere.

Why not: Again, age. The 47-year-old Lewis would be the oldest debut Bond - and that’s assuming Craig departs after Bond 25. Can we really have a Bond who could feasibly be the wrong side of 50 by his second film? Entering Roger Moore territory and nobody wants to go there. Even a younger Lewis fits few people’s idea of James Bond. Feels like a total red herring.

David Oyelowo

A wonderful actor and another potentially historic choice

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Why: Oyelowo is one of the more leftfield choices on this list - and interesting casting often works better than the obvious. Selma left no doubt about Oyelowo’s acting ability; he could make your shopping list sound riveting. He’s the right level of famous - Oyelowo could truly be Bond, in a way the more famous Tom Hardy, say, might always be Tom Hardy being Bond.

Why not: Obvious choices are obvious for a reason. Oyelowo is a brilliant actor but Bond requires more than mere acting ability: you need a style, a presence, a killer touch. Looking down Oyelowo’s filmography it’s hard to find a role that screams “Bond-in-waiting”. He feels more MI6 staff than 007. Also, and this sounds petty, Oyelowo is 5 foot 8. Bond can certainly be black - but short?

Harry Styles

The new kid on the block

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Why: Since leaving One Direction, Harry Styles’ acting career has rocketed into blockbuster success. Dunkirk proved Harry Styles to be more than just a voice and showed that the actor is capable of working well with the likes of Christopher Nolan. On top of his acting success, Styles’ modelling career could be the perfect addition to the glam-filled James Bond series.

Why not: Harry Styles may just be too young and too good looking. If the next James Bond has to be rugged and dangerous, maybe Harry isn't the man for the job.

Cillian Murphy

He denies he wants the role, but so did Daniel Craig...


Why: He’s an astounding actor. Everything from The Wind that Shakes the Barley to 28 Days Later to Batman to his lead role in the incredibly popular Peaky Blinder series, Murphy has proven he’s got more than what it takes to play the eminent role.

Why not: Murphy has said in the past that the role just "is not on his radar". Whether this means he just doesn't want to scupper his chances, is down to interpretation.

Luke Evans

The GQ readership pick. Say no more.

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Why: Look at him. Lose the moustache, trim the hair and you have James Bond sprung from the pages Fleming’s novels. Fast & Furious 6 proved his action credentials, while the stoically heroic Bard from the Hobbit is the James Bond of Middle Earth, only duller. But it’s his titular role in Dracula Untold that really sells the prospect of Luke Evans as James Bond, 007. He’s established but hardly a megastar and, at 39, Evans could nail down the role for a decade or more. Not to mention he won our last GQ poll for the preferred next James Bond - what better endorsement can you have?

Why not: Despite his growing profile the Evans candidacy hasn’t yet caught fire with the bookies. Strangely, a lack of television experience may prove a drawback - whereas most names on this list built up their profile on the small screen, Evans has always been a theatre or film man. As a result, he may be more unfamiliar to British audience than somebody with his success deserves. However he certainly has a passionate fan base and may well be better placed than the odds indicate.

Jamie Bell

A former child actor turned Bond?

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Why: Jamie Bell is not Billy Elliot anymore. Although that award-winning role made his name, he’s managed to outgrow the child actor straight jacket and has appeared in grittier films including a corrupt copper in Filth, as Abe in period drama Turn: Washington’s Spies, and a small role in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. He’s also had a taste of blockbusters, appearing as The Thing in the Fantastic Four reboot.

Why not: He’s short - 5 foot 7 - and young. At 32 he wouldn’t be the youngest Bond ever (George Lazenby was 30 when On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was released), but he’s definitely on the younger end of the scale.

Gillian Anderson

The name's Bond. Jane Bond.

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Why: with Doctor Who having casted its first ever female Doctor, the next James Bond, post-Craig, could be a woman. In 2015, 007 producer Barbara Broccoli told GQ “It’s like Hamlet, who has been played by a variety of different people, including women. So presumably Bond could be.”

To cast Gillian Anderson as the first female James Bond would be a refreshing and original update to the 50 year old franchise. She wants the role, too. The creative possibilities are endless. We've outlined the reasons why a female James Bond would be brilliant already. Just don't call her Jane.

Why not: Bond is a very conservative film franchise and movie character. James Bond has certainly adapted over the years, but a female Bond would probably be a leap too far for the Ian Fleming estate and the film's producers.

Orlando Bloom

Aww, bless him.

© Getty / Jon Kopaloff / Contributor

Why: In an interview with the BBC he says he would play a "very English" Bond, and argues that he has that "twinkle behind the eyes" necessary to play Bond. He's got the English accent, he's handsome, and he's firmly planted in the moviegoing public's mind as Will Turner in the long running and lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Why not: The very fact that he's publicly talking about playing Bond probably rules him out. Besides, he's already part of a very successful movie franchise.

Like this? Now read:

The secret history of James Bond

Judi Dench: 'Daniel Craig is a James Bond for today'

Why a female James Bond would be brilliant

It’s about time we had a female Doctor Who – but is Jodie Whittaker the right choice?

King Arthur Legend of the Sword's rising star: Craig McGinlay

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