Who will be the next James Bond? Speculation surrounding the next actor to take on one of the most iconic roles in cinema history has been rife following Daniel Craig’s perfect swansong in No Time To Die, bowing out in signature Bond style; explosively and on his own terms.
The franchise is in a good place; the studios are no longer adapting Ian Fleming’s original novels, with Craig’s final outing as Bond in No Time To Die signalling the first Bond movie that deviates from the original material. For Sony Pictures, the studio responsible for Bond, this presents a perfect opportunity to reset the narrative once more and take this classic character that’s steeped in cinematic history, into a completely new and fresh direction.
Now the position of Britain’s smooth-talking assassin is available, a plethora of names have been brought forward to take on the role of the world’s most lethal spy. Just don’t ask Barbara Broccoli, famed Bond producer, who claims, “Nobody’s in the running.” And if no one is in the running, well, then everyone is…
In this James Bond article:
Here we look at the bookies’ favourites to take over the iconic role from Daniel Craig, and a few left-of-centre suggestions that could expertly offer their own rendition of Ian Fleming’s classic character:
The Man of Steel has been hotly-tipped to replace Daniel Craig as Bond even before the rumours first began.
Arguably the most recognisable face within the list, Cavill’s filmography speaks for itself; Superman, Sherlock Holmes, Geralt of Rivia, Cavill’s held some huge roles throughout his career, and even flirted with roles as special agents in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
Cavill’s latest flick, following his public departure as Clark Kent from the DC Universe, is in the titular role of Argylle, a spy action thriller film directed and produced by Matthew Vaughn released in 2024, who even said: “Henry Cavill, that man was born to play Bond. When you see how he is in this film [Argylle], I was just like, ‘Wow, this guy is everything you’d imagine Bond to have been, or be.”
Cavill has the looks, the popularity and the CV – he’s a shoo-in to take on this famous role.
According to UK bookies, Aaron Taylor Johnson is odds on favourite to take on the iconic role; the British actor first broke onto the scene in his portrayal of a young John Lennon in the 2009 film Nowhere Boy.
Since then, the Englishman has gone from strength to strength in Hollywood, effortlessly slipping into American roles with ease – showing he already possesses the essential deceptive skills of espionage. At 32, ATJ is the perfect age to commit the next 10-15 years in this iconic role, and has reportedly held screen tests with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and has even filmed the signature Bond ‘turn and shoot’ from the films’ opening credits.
Taylor-Johnson will soon take a starring role in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest superhero offering Kraven the Hunter, a Russian big-game hunter out to destroy Spider-Man and proves he’s the greatest hunter in the world. Hint, this will be one of Sony Pictures’ biggest movie franchises since… James Bond.
James Norton and Daniel Craig sent fans into a frenzy after the pair were spotted together at Centre Court for the Wimbledon 2023 Final, with many suggesting that James Bond’s permanent successor had been discovered on the grass courts of SW19.
The 37-year-old Londoner fits the profile of actor the studio’s reportedly looking for: young, British and male.
Norton’s most recent role as Robert Hendy-Freegard, a convicted British conman who successfully masqueraded as an MI5 agent, will have only aided his upward trajectory as MI6’s most-prized asset.
Norton, however, has distanced himself from the role in recent years, echoing the words of Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, by saying: “No, no conversations. Basically, nothing else to say other than I think they’re probably still working it all out. It’s a big challenge to know which direction to take that huge franchise in. But beyond that, it’s lots of quite fun and bemusing media coverage. There’s nothing concrete behind it.”
Throw them off the scent, good spy work James.
Best-known for his on-screen role in Sky Atlantic’s Gangs of London, Paapa Essiedu is a real thespian, winning the 2016 Ian Charleson Award for his roles in the Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Hamlet and King Lear.
Essiedu’s most recent role was in the critically acclaimed Black Mirror episode in which the 33-year-old plays a charismatic demon tasked with saving the planet from imminent destruction; the only catch is he needs to claim three victims to save it. Classic Bond dilemma.
Essiedu is currently 8/1 favourite to take on Ian Fleming’s classic character.
A young Richard Madden first graced our screens as the King of the North in HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones. Such was Madden’s stellar performance as the eldest son of Ned Stark, Robb, that few knew he was in fact Scottish, as he led his armies against the threats in the south.
Since then Madden continued to impress in critically-acclaimed productions, such as the BBC drama, Bodyguard, in which Madden won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a policeman and British army veteran, assigned to protect the Home Secretary against increasing public dangers in London.
Studio execs at Sony may be looking for a younger profile to take Bond in a new direction, but aged 37, Madden is around the same age Daniel Craig was when he first stepped into the role in 2006 – Sony could also be hoping for a repeat in fortunes.
Fresh off the global success of Bridgerton – Netflix’s biggest TV show ever, at the time of release – Rege-Jean Page has continued his meteoric rise to feature in one of the highest-rated movies of 2022, and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
The 35-year-old London-born actor is currently at a favourable 8.00 for the next Bond but has distanced himself from discussions saying: “It’s a conversation people are having, and it’s terribly flattering that they’re having it. I leave them to it. I’ve got enough on my plate at the moment. I worry about the work I have, not other people’s jobs.”
In Bridgerton, Rege-Jean Page oozed class and sophistication as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings – two things the next Bond will need to have in abundance. Paired with experience in Netflix’s spy thriller The Gray Man, Page ticks a lot of the crucial 007 boxes.
Idris Elba; the people’s Bond. Across almost every corner of the far-reaching James Bond fandom, Idris Elba’s name was being spoken with an enthused smile. ‘What if?’ were the words on everyone’s lips, urging Elba to thrust off Luther’s signature overcoat for a tailored tux, stepping behind the wheel of the classic Aston Martin to protect Britain’s interests.
Elba’s name was removed from contention, however, when pockets of fans turned on the decision, claiming the 50-year-old actor didn’t fit the white-Anglo profile of Ian Fleming’s character.
Speaking with Jason Bateman’s SmartLess Podcast, Elba said: “It was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except for some corners, which we will not talk about, were really happy about the idea that I could be considered. Those that weren’t happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting because it became about race. And it became about nonsense and I got the brunt of it.”
Tom Hardy was almost guaranteed to inherit the role of Britain’s suave assailant, so much so that it was reported he would be announced as Daniel Craig’s successor on the release of No Time To Die.
Of course, this failed to materialise, but it certainly hasn’t harmed Hardy’s suitability for the role; he’s even suggested who he feels should direct Bond’s next chapter: “Chris Nolan, what a fantastic director for a Bond movie. Because Daniel [Craig] is so good, and what [director Sam] Mendes and [Bond producer] Barbara [Broccoli] have done has been so impressive, that it would be a very hard re-imagination to follow after.”
Hardy and Nolan have previously worked together on three epics in recent years, The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk and Inception; the prospect of another Oppenheimer-level blockbuster could be too good an opportunity to miss.
Lucien Laviscount’s career has been simmering since his early days on set at Waterloo Road and Coronation Street. But following the global success of Netflix’s hit new show Emily in Paris, Laviscount has charmed audiences with his signature British appeal, garnering admiration from a wide spectrum of younger fans that span generations – something Bond producer Barbara Broccoli is said to be extremely keen on.
Aged 31, Laviscount would be one of the youngest Bonds ever, second only to George Lazenby who portrayed 007 in the 1969 release of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, aged 29. This stands Laviscount in good stead, considering the studios are looking for someone to commit to the next 10-15 years in the role.
Slow Horses star Jack Lowden is the last name we’ll feature from the bookies’ list, rounding out the Top 10 with 15/1 odds. The Scotland-born actor has had experience in the world of espionage starring as secret agent River Cartwright in the Apple TV+ thriller series.
Although the year-old has admitted to RadioTimes.com he couldn’t conceive of any other actor taking on the role, saying: “It’s quite bizarre because it feels like Daniel Craig is still Bond so even to… as a fan, even to sort of be contemplating anyone else playing him… I mean, I don’t envy them, how they’re gonna replace him because I still think he is [Bond].”
Robert Pattinson would be someone I wouldn’t be all that mad at seeing take on the iconic role, although it remains to be seen which version of himself he’d bring to MI6.
Of course, there’s the eternally optimistic Cedric Diggory version of Pattinson seen in Harry Potter 4, although it didn’t end very well for him; then there’s Edward Cullen, the moody brooding 100-year-old teenage vampire, which, in hindsight, served as a prologue to The Batman and Robbert Pattinson’s long-suffering, angsty Bruce Wayne.
But given Pattinson’s recent comments, it might be a case for the latter: “It would be ridiculous to reinvent it as some young posh kid… After Daniel Craig, you have to have some baggage. I’d have to be tortured in the first few scenes. I’d have to do the first film with one arm or something.”
Taron Egerton impressed as Eggsy Unwin, an unassuming spy recruit who defied tradition to be accepted into the elite secret service organisation, Kingsman, ahead of the more typical candidates. Kingsman succeeded where others failed, breaking into the saturated one-of-one market of British Intelligence films that has been dominated by the James Bond franchise for more than half a century.
Egerton, and Kingsman, brought a satirical edge to the otherwise formal depiction of the British Intelligence genre, with Egerton himself wondering if he’d be able to bring his best to the role: “I don’t think I’m the right choice for it,” the star told The Daily Telegraph. “You have to be consistently statuesque to be that guy. And that’s something that I am still striving for.”
Fun fact, should Egerton be successfully cast as James Bond, he would be the first Welsh actor to inherit the position, although the Rocketman star did reveal “there have been zero phone calls,” thus far.
There seems to be a theme emerging here of actors who are in the running for Bond, but overtly denying anything; clearly, they all share the same PR manager.
One such actor is Theo James, fresh off the runaway success of HBO’s White Lotus, James’ stock has never been higher, with fans all over the world wondering what a James-led Bond franchise might begin to look like.
Appearing on SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show with Julia Cunningham”, James expressed concerns about the role: “I love some of the Sean Connery movies, but I think they need to do something else,” James said. “Do you know what I mean? They need to really go with a reinvention of it in a different way and that wouldn’t be me.”
At 38, however, James fits the bill.
Recently starring in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, as Adam Warlock, the genetically perfect next stage in human evolution, Will Poulter’s ascension in recent years has been nothing short of intergalactic.
At the young age of 30, he’s the internet’s favourite case study for one of the greatest glow-ups in the business and would certainly stake a claim to be the next in line for Britain’s best, delivering fresh sophistication and style to the iconic role.
Poulter has admitted to being a huge fan of the Bond franchise, reminiscing with GQ about some of the older movies that really put James Bond on the map: “I love to go back to the originals or the earlier films in the franchise, Bond’s a great one to do that with.”
Bond certainly wouldn’t be the first movie adaptation of a best-selling book franchise for Sam Claflin; the British actor enjoyed early success starring in the world-renowned Hunger Games movie tetralogy.
Poignantly, Last Night in Soho director Edgar Wright is also one of the reported frontrunners to direct the next James Bond movie and could be intrigued by the idea of teaming up with Claflin again on another project.
Sam Claflin currently stands as the fans’ choice for the next 00 agent, with few reports in the media that his name could be in contention. But as James Bond writer Charlie Higson commented, “As soon as the papers say, ‘So and so is being considered as the next James Bond’, you know that they’re not going to be the next James Bond, you know that they’ve been rejected.”
No news is good news then, Sam.
Because why not?