Bond, James Bond. If everything had gone to plan, Daniel Craig’s final outing as the British super-spy in No Time to Die would have already been released in cinemas back on April 3 and producers would now be well on their way selecting his replacement.
Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic, Craig’s swan song in the role has now been pushed back to November. That doesn’t stop the internet rumour mill from swirling on, however, and the net has given us a plethora of potential actors who could possibly be the next Man, or Woman, with the Golden Gun.
So why don’t we put the gossip surrounding some of the leading rumoured contenders to the test?
Even before Daniel Craig signed on to No Time to Die, his departure from the role of 007 was well known. And thanks to the interwebs, a list of names larger than a Melbourne Cup sweep field have all been floated as potential replacements.
Some of the key stars rumoured to be in the running include: Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden, Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke, Henry Cavill, Michael Fassbender, Gillian Anderson, Charlize Theron, Outlander’s Sam Heughan, Robert Pattinson, and even Aussie favourite and DC super-villain Margot Robbie, just to name a few.
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) May 21, 2016
As you no doubt already know, it really doesn’t take much at all for an internet rumour to start and make its way around the social media traps these days. Some of the names currently being floated for the role of Bond, such as Margot Robbie’s, owe their nomination to little more than a passing comment (in this particular case it was 2020 Supa-Star and former Bond star George Lazenby who suggested the actress would make a good first female Bond).
Other names, such as Sam Heughan, have a bit more substance behind them, such as having previously auditioned for the role before Craig was first picked for Casino Royale. Another controversial pick, The Batman’s Robert Pattinson was actually the first choice of director Danny Boyle, who was originally slated to direct No Time to Die before he left the project and was replaced by Cary Fukunaga.
First of all, let’s cull some of the obvious names. At the beginning of the year long-term Bond producer Barbara Broccoli poured cold water over all potential rumours of a gender-swapped Bond. In an interview with Variety she is quoted as unequivocally saying Bond “can be any colour” but he will always be a male character. Instead, she suggested that she is “not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.”
So in one fell swoop, that pretty much puts a halt to the chances of it being Gillian Anderson, Emilia Clarke, Charlize Theron or Margot Robbie.
So with the ladies officially out of the running, here are the three most likely candidates.
Elba’s name has been front and centre as the clear front runner as a potential Bond for years now, ever since 2014 when a leaked email from Sony executive Amy Pascal named PEOPLE’s current Sexiest Man Alive as her preferred successor to Craig. And whilst Elba has been outspoken about his disappointment over backlash over his potential casting due to colour of his skin, he is still adamant that “if someone said to me, ‘Do you want to play James Bond?,’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah!’”
Ever since his turn in the 2016 adaptation of the spy novel The Night Manager, Loki’s Tom Hiddleston has skyrocketed to the top of the odds table to be the next Bond. Making things even more interesting is that Susanne Bier, the Danish director responsible for The Night Manager is also the forerunner to be the next one in the director’s chair for Bond 26 which will introduce whomever is selected as the next Bond.
As for Hiddleston, he continues to claim no one has spoken to him about the role but would be keen to pursue it.
Outlander heartthrob Sam Heughan is current odds-on favourite to take the role for one very simple reason, unlike nearly everyone else named to be in the running, he’s one of the only ones to have ever officially auditioned for the role (although The Witcher’s Henry Cavill had also auditioned for Casino Royale).
Back in the early 2000s, before Daniel Craig had been picked as Pierce Brosnan’s successor, Bond producers were apparently looking for a younger Bond to take on the role for many more years to come. Back then, a young and relatively unknown Heughan managed to score himself an audition, and while he didn’t get the role, his star has risen exponentially since then, now currently finding himself a favourite runner in the race. Besides, as Heughan himself has said, “I mean, we want a Scottish James bond, don’t we?”