Who Will Actually Be the Next James Bond? An In-Depth Analysis
Tom Hardy, John Boyega, Sam Heugha and more are all in the running for the keys to the DB5 So, here we are at last. No Time To Die has been released, and Daniel Craig has been banged out of MI6. The question turns to who will be the next James Bond now he’s swapped his Walther PPK for his P45.
And really: who knows. You might as well get the Ouija board out to ask the spirit of Cubby Broccoli what he reckons. To kill some time before we find out for sure, though, we’ve got some guesses of differing degrees of wildness.The much yearned-for moment when the new James Bond is whisked along the Thames in a speedboat feels about as remote as it did just after No Time To Die. In fairness, Broccoli had previously stated in May that “it’s going to take some time”.
Nothing much had changed by September. The casting process still hasn’t started, Bond producer Michael G Wilson said at a BFI event celebrating 60 years since Bond made his debut in Dr No, “no matter what others tell you”. He did, though, confirm that they’re looking for someone around the same age as Daniel Craig was when he became Bond. There will be no James Bond Jr reboot.
“We’ve tried looking at younger people in the past,” Wilson said. “But trying to visualise it doesn’t work. Remember, Bond’s already a veteran. He’s had some experience. He’s a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He’s probably been in the SAS or something.”
We do have a proper iron rule here too: nobody over 40 is getting near the role.
“He [Bond] isn’t some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off,” said Wilson. “That’s why it works for a thirty-something.”
But what makes a Bond? Broccoli says he’s now a more mutable figure than he used to be. “It will have to be reimagined, in the way each actor has reimagined the role,” she said. “That’s what is so exciting and fun about this franchise; the character evolves. Eventually, when we have to think about it, we’ll find the right person.”So yes: that means James Bond can be non-white. Bond “should be British,” Broccoli said in 2021, and added that “British can be any [ethnicity or race]”.
But he can’t – for now, at least – be a woman. “We should create roles for women, not just turn a man into a woman,” Broccoli said, a sentiment Craig echoed in a couple of No Time To Die promo interviews.
And, just for the avoidance of doubt, Idris Elba – the people’s champ – has said pretty definitively that it’s not in his plans.
“I don’t think that playing Bond will satisfy some of my personal goals,” he said on an ep of HBO’s The Shop in September 2022. “It will definitely satisfy the will of a nation, I’m not going to lie. Every corner of the world I go… they always go, ‘Bond.’ And I feel it is beyond me at this juncture.”
And the feeling’s mutual, it turns out.
“We love Idris,” Broccoli told Variety at the end of August. “The thing is, it’s going to be a couple of years off. And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10-, 12-year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing?’ Not everybody wants to do that. It was hard enough getting [Daniel Craig to do it].”
The Variety interview also gave us a couple of other pointers as to where Bond might go next, and who could fit the profile. Most pressingly, it needs to be someone who’s ready to knuckle under for the long haul.A lot of people think, ‘Oh yeah, it’d be fun to do one,'” Broccoli said. “Well, that ain’t gonna work.”
The character of Bond will likely go further down the line which Craig’s iteration started down, one which “cracked Bond open emotionally”.
“It’s an evolution,” Broccoli said. “Bond is evolving just as men are evolving. I don’t know who’s evolving at a faster pace.”
Along with these pointers, there are a few Bond casting orthodoxies to guide us. Traditionally, it’s been a role which elevates actors to the A-list rather than being an A-list vehicle. Look at where past Bonds were in their careers when they got the gig. Sean Connery was an undistinguished jobbing actor best known for fighting leprechauns in Disney’s begorrah-and-blimey Irish tale Darby O’Gill and the Little People. George Lazenby was a car salesman turned chocolate advert mascot who bumped into Broccoli at the barbers. Pierce Brosnan had a perm.Perhaps most importantly, you also need to be in tune with the era in which the new Bond exists. Whoever it is will have to do the same scene for their audition: the one in From Russia With Love where Bond suspects an intruder has come for him in his hotel room, only to find it’s Tatiana Romanova trying to put her moves on him.
“Anyone who can bring that scene off is right for Bond,” said Wilson. “It’s tough to do.”
Quite what the next incarnation of Bond will embody depends who plays him. These are the frontrunners.