Here Are All the Contenders to Be the Next James Bond Now That Daniel Craig Is Retired as 007

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With Daniel Craig’s last movie as 007, fans want to know who the next James Bond will be. Could it be Idris Elba, Tom Hardy or even Regé-Jean Page? We won’t know for sure until the announcement about the new James Bond is made, but there are more than a few contenders willing to don the famous title.

James Bond, a British secret agent working for MI6 under the codename 007, was created by author Ian Fleming in 1953. In 1962, Sean Connery became the first actor to play the character in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No. Since then, seven actors have played James Bond: Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. But who will be the eighth?

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In an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2017, Craig confirmed that his fifth Bond movie—2021’s No Time to Die—is his last. “I have been quite cagey about it. I have been doing interviews all day and people have been asking me and I think I’ve been rather coy. But kind of felt like if I was going to speak the truth I should speak truth to you,” he said at the time. “We’ve been discussing it, we’ve just been trying to figure things out. I always wanted to, I needed a break…I think this is it. I just want to go out on a high note and I can’t wait.”

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As for who the next Bond will be, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson told Variety in 2021 that an announcement won’t be made until at least 2022. “Oh, God no,” Broccoli said. “We’re not thinking about it at all. We want Daniel to have his time of celebration. Next year we’ll start thinking about the future.” Broccoli also reflected on what Craig has been like as the most recent Bond.“He’s been such a great Bond. Those are big shoes to fill. I can’t even [think if it’s] possible,” she said. She continued, “We’re very, very lucky to get him to play this role. We could see he was reluctant to do it, because he knew it would change his life, which it obviously has. It’s changed his life, but it hasn’t changed him. What he’s enabled us to do with the franchise is really explore the emotional life of Bond and go into the person and complexity and conflicts that happen within the Bond character.”

Though she didn’t give any details on who the next Bond could be, Broccoli did confirm that she plans on continuing the franchise for years to come. “We’ll keep going,” she said. “Next year it’ll be the 60th anniversary of the Bond films, so we’re looking forward to the new chapter, whatever it brings. We’re not quite sure at the moment. Right now, we just want to celebrate ‘No Time to Die’ and Daniel’s extraordinary achievement.”

So…who is the next James Bond? Read on ahead for all the actors who are being considered to be the new James Bond.

Idris Elba

Image: Ian West/PA Wire.
Image: Ian West/PA Wire.

Idris Elba has been a top contender to be the next James Bond for years. The rumors started in January 2014 an email from Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal leaked that read, “Idris should be the next bond.” Elba responded to the rumors at the time with by tweeting, “Isn’t 007 supposed to handsome? Glad you think I’ve got a shot! Happy New year people.” According to a 2021 poll by Ladbroke, Elba is favored 7/2 to be the next Bond by audiences, ranking him third at the time behind Tom Hardy and James Norton. Williamhill, another betting company, also Elba among the top contenders to be the next bond.

Elba confirmed at a 2015 talk at the British Film Institute that conversations between him and Bond producers “never happened.” “Daniel Craig actually set the rumor off. About four years ago he said Idris Elba would be a great Bond and then it started to creep,” he joked at the time. “I blame Daniel.” In 2018, Elba trolled fans on Twitter when he tweeted, “my name’s Elba, Idris Elba.” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2019, Elba explained that he was simply trolling people and that he wasn’t offered the role of James Bond. “I took the piss a little,” he said at the time, “but I was also reminding people that I never got referred to as James Bond. So, I was like, hello, my name is Elba. Idris Elba. It was a joke. I swear to God.” In October 2021, after the premiere of No Time to Die (Craig’s last movie as James Bond), Elba confirmed to ITV that he still hadn’t been offered to be the next James Bond. “No, I’m not going to be James Bond,” he said. When asked if he would want the part if he was offered it, Elba said, “Who wouldn’t?…How amazing would it be to have a Black James Bond? It’s a sign of the times when we can stop talking about black, white, and color.”

Regé-Jean Page

Image: AP Photo/Scott Garfitt.
Image: AP Photo/Scott Garfitt.

After the premiere of Bridgerton in December 2020, Regé-Jean Page became a top contender to be the next Bond. Betting company Ladbrokes reported in January 2021 that Page’s odds to be the next Bond went from 40/1 to 7/2 at the time, placing him fourth after Idris Elba, James Norton and Tom Hardy. A source also confirmed to Page Six in August 2021 that Page was in talks to be the next Bond, however, no decisions would be made until the release of No Time to Die. “They are talking about Regé, but Bond producers are not making any decisions until after No Time to Die is released. They are focusing on Daniel Craig’s big finale,” the insider said.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the time, Page responded to rumors he could be the next Bond. “It gets clicks. It’s got nothing to do with me — nothing to do with anything that has happened in any rooms or any meetings,” he said at the time. “It’s literally just a thing for people to talk about. So it’s flattering, but it’s just a game.” He also addressed the rumors in an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in January 2021. “If you’re a Brit, and you do something of any kind of renown that people regard well, then people start saying the ‘B’ word. It’s like a merit badge. You get the ‘B’ word merit badge,” he said at the time. He continued, “I’m very, very glad to have the badge. I’m glad to be in such wonderful company of people who have the badge. But it’s a badge.”

Lashana Lynch

Image: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP.
Image: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP.

After she was cast as Nomi, a female 007, in No Time to Die in April 2019, rumors sparked that Lashana Lynch could be the new lead of the James Bond movies. However, source told the Daily Mail in 2019 that, while Lynch plays the new 007, Nomi isn’t the next “James Bond.” “She’s not the new Bond, but a new character who takes over his secret agent number after he leaves MI6,” the insider said. “There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says, ‘Come in 007,’ and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful, and a woman…It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman.”

Barbara Broccoli, who’s the current producer of the James Bond movies, also confirmed to Variety in 2020 that the franchise doesn’t plan on reimagining the character as a woman. “He can be of any color, but he is male,” she said. “I believe we should be creating new characters for women — strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that.” Though she won’t be the next James Bond, Lynch told Indiewire in 2021 that she had a significant part in crafting her character for No Time to Die. “I was like, ‘This is where I want her to be, and she’s got so much potential and I think she should be kind of awkward, but really realistic, and I want young people to be relating to her in the way that I haven’t had the opportunity to do before, and what do you think?,’” she said. “And [screenwriter Phoebe Waller Bridge] just said, ‘Yep, yep. That’s where I’m at too. I agree. I think we should write that. I think she should be all of those things and more.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, thank you. Thank you for hearing me finally, thank you for being a woman writer who is in the position to hear me fully.’”

Henry Golding

Image: Ian West/PA Wire.
Image: Ian West/PA Wire.

Henry Golding emerged as a contender to be the next James Bond after he starred as the lead of Crazy Rich Asians in 2019. Golding responded to the rumors in an interview with E! in 2019, where he expressed his interest in the role. “It is the leading man’s character. It is the character every single male actor in the whole universe would love to play. I’d be an idiot not to say, ‘Of course! I’d love to throw my two cents or my keys into the pile.’ But you know what? Whatever happens,” he said. “When the hump comes as to who’s next, who knows? I’m sure they’ll make the right decision.” Golding’s Crazy Rich Asians costar Michelle Yeoh, who played a Bond Girl in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, also expressed her support of him as the next James Bond to E!. Golding also responded to the rumors in an interview with Watch What Happens Live in 2021. “I guess they are looking for another candidate,” he said. “So, of course, any right sort of man would want to put their hand up for it. So sure, let’s talk.”

Henry Cavill

Image: Gary Mitchell / SOPA Images/Sipa USA.
Image: Gary Mitchell / SOPA Images/Sipa USA.

Henry Cavill, who starred as Superman in the DC Extended Universe from 2013 to 2021, is also a top contender to be the next James Bond. A source told Page Six in 2021 that Cavill is one of the most popular choices to replace Craig as the character after he retires. “Henry Cavill also is still in the running, he’s a lot more famous now than when his name first came up,” the insider said. Cavill responded to the rumors in a 2021 interview with Movie Dweeb. “If Barbara [Broccoli] and Michael [G. Wilson] interested me in any capacity to be a part of their movies, then I will gladly have that discussion, and that would be something I’d be very keen to explore further,” he said. In 2021, We Got Covered reported that Cavill—who auditioned to play Bond in 2005’s Casino Royale but was turned down because he was too young at the time—is “pushing to land the gig next time it becomes available.”

James Norton

Image: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP.
Image: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP.

James Norton is another contender to be the next James Bond. Norton, who won a British Academy Television Award in 2015’s Happy Valley, is favored 7/4 for the role, according to a 2021 report by Ladbrokes. Norton denied the rumors in an interview with The Sunday Times in 2020, where he called reports he could be the next Bond “pure speculation.” “It’s crazy. It’s not real. It’s speculative,” he said. In an interview with GQ in 2021, Norton expressed his interest in seeing an actor of color cast as the next Bond. “Obviously, casting a Bond of colour is important if handled in a sensitive way, but there’s a bigger picture: We need to treat the cause rather than the symptom,” he said. “There is an argument that, rather than make Bond a person of colour, why not create a new story that is authentically representative and isn’t repurposed?”

He continued, “But, then, you’re never going to create a franchise that will compete with the power of Bond from the off. “It has to be a bit of everything, doesn’t it? I realise I’m talking in platitudes. Nobody thinks every iconic franchise should be transformed. But it’s about finding where that makes sense, in a sensitive way, to remedy what has been an endemic amount of whitewashing.”

Tom Hardy

Image: Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA.
Image: Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA.

Tom Hardy is one of the top contenders to pay the next James Bond. Ladbrokes reported in 2021 that Hardy was the number-one choice at the time to be the new Bond, with 6/4 odds. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Hardy remained mum on rumors he was consideration to be the next Bond. “I don’t know about that,” he said. Hardy’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage co-star Naomie Harris (who starred in 2012’s Skyfall), expressed her support for Hardy to be the next Bond. “He would be amazing. He’s such a phenomenal actor. I’m such a huge fan of his and then working with him on Venom, I have even more respect for him. He’s just like, incredible, the physicality that he brings to the role is just extraordinary. I’ve never seen anything like it,” she told Entertainment Tonight.

George MacKay

Image: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP.
Image: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP.

George MacKay, who was born in 1992, is one of the youngest contenders to be the next James Bond. Page Six reported in 2021 that MacKay is in talks to be the next Bond after a producer from his breakout film, 1917, in which he starred as the lead, suggested him as the next Bond. “One other name is George MacKay. One of the producers of ‘1917’ has come over to Bond and is suggesting George. There is some talk about rebooting the Bond franchise after Daniel Craig with someone younger, and he could fit the bill,” the insider said.

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