The dust has barely settled on Spectre’s theatrical release and yet speculation on who will replace Daniel Craig as 007 is already rearing its head.
To be honest, it never really goes away and probably started the day after Craig was announced as Bond in October 2005. Yet many of the actors whose names are bandied about tend to be too well-known elsewhere or too old.
The ending to Spectre suggests it may well have been his swansong, wrapping up his era fairly neatly, but if Daniel Craig does return for a fifth Bond film (and based on the box office for Spectre, they’ll surely at least try to lure him back), it won’t be released until at least 2018, based on the previous gaps between movies.
Add another year to squeeze as much lucre out of Bond 25’s DVD, Blu-ray and digital releases as possible and the announcement of Craig’s successor (let alone pre-production on his first movie) probably wouldn’t happen until 2019 at the earliest. Given that this would mean a release in 2021 or even 2022, where does that leave the casino and bookmakers’ regular favourites for the next James Bond?
Homeland star Damien Lewis, currently priced at 5/2 with William Hill to replace Daniel Craig, turns 50 in 2021. While there’s no doubting his acting credentials, could he – would he – take on such a high profile, physically demanding role that he might end up playing for a decade? Other perennial candidates in the tabloids, such as Colin Salmon (58 in 2021), Colin Firth (61) and Daniel Day-Lewis (64) are even more unlikely.
Orlando Bloom, Henry Cavill and Michael Fassbender – all of a more suitable age and all very high on the bookmaker’s shortlist – are probably too well-known for other iconic blockbuster movie roles (as Legolas, Superman and Magneto respectively) to now be considered for the part of 007. That said, Roger Moore was instantly recognisable to audiences as Simon Templar from The Saint and that proved no obstacle when Live and Let Die came out in 1973.
Transatlantic suggestions such as Michael Peña (Chiwetel Ejiofor’s preferred choice) must also be sadly declined. An American Bond, rumoured since the franchise began, is unlikely to ever happen.
So who’s it going to be?
We look at five of the more realistic suggestions below…
Current age: 43
Odds at William Hill: 9/2
Pros: A genuine big name without being linked to any big screen role (provided the proposed Luther movie doesn’t become a worldwide smash in the meantime)
Cons: Will be heading towards 50 by the time he made his debut – young enough to carry it off, but perhaps not to still be doing it ten years down the line
Pros: Already well-known to American audiences following award-winning roles in Selma and Nightingale
Cons: Perhaps not familiar enough back home to capture the imagination, although fans of Spooks will fondly recall his spy work as the ill-fated Danny Hunter
Pros: Already well-used to working in big budget action movies following his stint in the Hobbit trilogy as Kili
Cons: If anything, he’ll still be a little young by current Bond standards – although Sean Connery was only 32 when Dr No was released
Odds: Not priced
Pros: One of Britain’s finest actors, well-known on both sides of the Atlantic (and beyond) and the perfect age for taking on the role of James Bond
Cons: He doesn’t want the part – which presumably explains the lack of enthusiasm for him in the betting market
Pros: His commanding voice – perfect for delivering those essential 007 one-liners
Cons: Age aside, Armitage might feel he’s repeating himself following his work on Sky1’s Strike Back and three years as spy Lucas North in BBC One’s Spooks
Who do you think should play James Bond next? Let us know below…