James Bond, the original international spy, celebrated 60 years of life on the big screen last year as the first Bond movie, Dr. No, came out in 1962. Six actors have lived through the franchise throughout its multi-billion dollar grossing history, Daniel Craig being the most recent with the Casino Royale movie series.
But with the last installment of the 21st century Bond, concluding with the 2021 film, No Time to Die, Craig announced he would be stepping away from the character.
“I had an incredibly fortunate 17 years of my life making this,” Craig said of the Bond movies, talking with Martha Kearney of BBC’s Best of Today podcast. “I literally want to spend the next 20 years of my life trying to unhook it all and try and put it into a place because it was incredible. I left it where I wanted it to be. And that I was given the chance to do that with the last movie.”
So, the question on everyone’s mind is: who will play the next 007? Rumors and reports have been circling for a long time now and there seems to be a list of possible candidates to take over the mysterious British spy’s role for future films.
As of late, sources have suspected that Bullet Train star, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is “front-runner” for the role of James Bond. He reportedly met with the franchise’s producer, Barbara Broccoli, about discussing the possibilities. Rumors have also gone around that he had a secret audition with Broccoli last year, but this has not been confirmed.
“Aaron went for a screen test to be the next Bond in September,” the source stated, “and producers and Barbara loved him. He is now one of the front-runners. Aaron has impressed bosses so much that he has filmed one of the franchise’s famous gun barrel teaser scenes, something all the actors do.
“That move takes him a step closer to signing a deal,” the insider added. “Bosses at the brand were really impressed with his unique blend of acting intensity and his impressive back catalog of action films.”
As far as fans are concerned, however, a new favorite has joined the list of possible Bonds: James Norton. Currently, he is part of the BBC crime drama, Happy Valley, playing the evil Tommy Lee Royce, and starred as John Brooke in the 2019 adaptation of Little Women.
With Happy Valley airing its final season right now, Norton will have an open schedule. Not to mention, the hype for him to play Bond erupted because of his BBC character. In the show, according to GB News, “an action-packed scene saw him stage a daring escape from a courthouse,” while standing trial for a murder. The scene captivated audiences, and both fans and critics agree that it paralleled the acting skills to that of whomever will take over James Bond.
Other candidates, according to Forbes, include: Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill, who announced in December that he will not return as Superman in the DC film franchise, Bridgerton’s Rege-Jean Page, the rugged Tom Hardy, and maybe even 50 year old Hollywood veteran and star of Luther, Idris Elba; although, Elba has expressed he may not be willing to commit to a role that requires a 10-12 year commitment, as is requested by the producer, Broccoli.
“Well, we know Idris — I’m friends with him, and he’s a magnificent actor,” Broccoli said about considering Elba. “You know, it’s been part of the conversation, but it’s always difficult to have the conversation when you have someone in the seat.”
As for when Broccoli will make her decision and start production on the next Bond movie series, it seems it could be a little while, as she wants to take a small break and let the most recent movies resonate with the fans.
“I think we have decided that until ‘No Time to Die’ has kind of had its run, and Daniel has been able to — well, we’ve all been able to — reap the benefits of Daniel’s wonderful tenure, we’re not gonna think about or talk about anybody else, actors to play the role or storylines or anything. We just wanna live in the moment, the present.”