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10 Actors Who Could Be The Next James Bond

11 May 2016 | Features, People Lists | by Andy Benson


24 films. Six actors. A dazzling array of intriguing, beautiful women. Hundreds of immaculate automobiles, spellbinding set pieces, innovative gadgets, and countless vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred).

Bond. James Bond.

Ian Fleming’s seminal spy character, James Bond Agent 007 has been thrilling audiences for over 50 years. Bond and his impeccable English charm, ingenious wit, unparalleled sex appeal, and license to kill collectively comprise the definitive cinema superspy.

James Bond has endured to generations of fans spanning several prominent eras in not only cinema, but popular culture as well. He has survived while others have faltered, thrived while others have waned. From the iconic “Bond girls” to the eponymous “Bond gadgets”, no other secret agent has had a more stellar, lengthier career on the big screen. His very name evokes a plethora of pop culture references. He is masculinity and ingenuity incarnate; no one is cooler than James Bond.

The actor filling 007’s shoes has quite a tough job to do, but perhaps not quite as tough as Bond’s own globe-trotting adventures in danger and espionage. Current Bond portrayer Daniel Craig has presided over a magnificent reinvention and reinvigoration of the franchise; his 2006 debut in Casino Royale breathed a century of new life into Ian Fleming’s creation.

However, after his fourth outing in the role, 2015’s Spectre, the rumor mill in relation to Craig’s possible departure from the role is gaining momentum. While it is uncertain if he will return as Bond for a fifth installment, many actors have been put forth as Craig’s potential successor.

Here are three rules for selecting the next James Bond. Each can theoretically be bended separately, but all disregarding all three would be a cardinal sin.

1. He must be English (or at least Scottish, Irish, or Welsh). Proof of United Kingdom residence is a must. Bond is an agent of Her Majesty’s government, so no other nationality will do.
2. He must be Caucasian. Ian Fleming’s character description should be honored and therefore the next James Bond must be a white man (sorry Idris Elba).
3. He must be under 40 upon starring in his first Bond film. Ideally, the next Bond should be between 30 and 35 years of age. This young age helps ensure that the forthcoming Bond will remain for multiple films as the franchise continues on.

Below is a list of ten (10) actors who could possibly do the job well, though it’s always hard to tell how a potential candidate would bring Bond to life. Even further below is a list of five (5) actors who’ve been suggested for 007 but would, inevitably, be poor choices.


1. Benedict Cumberbatch


The Imitation Game star is turned in a brilliant performance as enigmatic mathematician Alan Turing, marking his graduation from television mandarin to a leading man in film. As Turing, Cumberbatch shines as both a movie star and a character actor. This dynamic has yet to be fully realized by most mainstream audiences, however, and Cumberbatch could sustain new life in the role of Bond and carry on Craig’s legacy.

He also looks flawlessly English and he’s able to convey both spot-on wit and an air of danger as evident in his portrayal of another iconic character (Sherlock Holmes). He even received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II a few years back. Therefore, he is the ideal candidate to fill 007’s shoes.

The only problem is that his one-of-a-kind moniker may seem out of place at the beginning of a dizzying Bond title sequence. Can his name blend in with silhouetted naked women dancing in fire? Or will it just produce a few chuckles and serve as a distraction? Also, Cumberbatch is currently 39 years old, so he needs to begin filming a Bond movie as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, Cumberbatch is the only contender for the role and he could do justice to a shaken vodka martini and an Aston Martin DB5. The Bond aspect most suited to Cumberbatch is how awesome he looks in a white tuxedo; eat your heart out, Sean Connery.


2. Henry Cavill

superman man of steel

He’s already played Superman, so why not James Bond too? Cavill has the charm and the UK gleam, but he’s second to Cumberbatch mostly because the Superman actor may not transition as smoothly into Bond’s world, particularly the modern, re-imagined world of the Daniel Craig era.

While Cumberbatch could be a captivating fusion of the original Sean Connery era and the darker Daniel Craig era, Cavill may not adequately bridge the styles. This isn’t necessarily a mandatory qualification, but following in the footsteps of Craig will result in endless comparisons. A synergy of two different characterizations might be the key to success. Still, the Bond franchise’s early days in the ‘60s can never really be bettered.

Cavill’s personality and magnetic appearance would definitely aid him onscreen with a Bond babe in one arm and a Walter PPK in the other. Cavill as 007 could be the beginning of a new era for the franchise in which he sticks around for several films, especially if his new-age looks equal those of Craig. Maybe his tenure in the role would hearken back to Pierce Brosnan’s takeover in the ‘90s, when most of the emphasis was on readying Bond for not just a new decade, but a new century.


3. Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage

Armitage’s more fiendish appearance is a throwback to Timothy Dalton, an oft-misunderstood Bond. Dalton made two Bond films in the late ‘80s and his take on the superspy was a darker James Bond, a man much bitterer and at times downright defiant. Dalton’s Bond was a much more faithful version of the spy who graced the pages of Fleming’s novels.

It was markedly different from his predecessor, the lighter, saucier Roger Moore. Dalton’s portrayal was initially well-received, but he was given films that couldn’t quite measure up to those of the past and his characterization was judged harshly by his second film.

Armitage could continue Daniel Craig’s marvelous reinvention in his own unique way while also drawing parallels to Dalton’s era. His chief problem is that he is currently age 44, thus breaking one of the suggested rules; however, Armitage’s dramatic flair on stage on the small screen has primed him for a film franchise that he could turn into his own.

Armitage could be an interesting Bond because he doesn’t quite look good while dodging bullets in a casino or a volcano lair, but he could look believable in doing so. Sometimes, looks can be set aside for a bigger emphasis on convincingly playing 007.


4. Matthew Goode

Matthew Goode

Again, the looks are slightly rougher around the edges, but Matthew Goode could continue Craig’s atmospheric stride in fine style. Plus, being young, he could firmly cement himself in the role. He actually looks more astute than many actors who’ve been suggested and he also retains enough dramatic acting chops to make Bond dynamic and fresh.

Goode’s biggest advantage is that he isn’t very recognizable in the U.S., meaning that audiences will have a much easier time accepting him into the role, much like they were able to embrace Daniel Craig. Matthew Goode, in certain guises, can also resemble a college student rather than England’s most storied hero. He will need to bulk up and toughen up his exterior to win the role and subsequently play 007 effectively.


5. Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner

Turner is decidedly Irish and he sure looks it, with a striking resemblance to Colin Farrell. His debonair glare and distinctive brogue lend credence to his suitability for the role, yet his appearance often looks and feels like more of a punk rocker. Still, his Irish roots could add some flavor to a run of Bond films; after all, it worked for Pierce Brosnan.

Turner’s rugged guise helps him look right at home behind the wheel of a speeding sports car and it’s likely that his on-screen chemistry with his leading ladies, both ally and enemy, could be a step above his previous counterparts.



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  • Eric Epstein

    Idris Elba was born in the UK, so hardly African-American.

  • Either Idris Elba would do an awesome job.
    In the post-modern horror that is the present day, it hardly matters what Ian Fleming’s intentions were long term.
    He was a contemptible sadist and a despicable human being who offered nothing of value to the literary canon beyond gratification.
    So… yeah: Idris Elba, for sure.

  • Idris Elba is the perfect choice and probably would be a breath of fresh air.

    I wouldn’t mind if the part went to Richard Armitage, Matthew Goode, or Tom Hiddleston as well. Totally agree on Jamie Dornan, he is awful. He looks like someone shoved a dildo up his ass in that Fifty Shades of Grey.

    • sailor monsoon

      I lost money thinking snyder was going to cast him as Batman.
      I ain’t taking that bet again

      • I remember a few years ago after seeing Layer Cake and the woman who hosted this old show on IFC called At the Angelika felt that Daniel Craig should be the next Bond. I was like “ah” and all of a sudden, she was right. She called it.

        • sailor monsoon

          I lost a bet on that too.
          I bet 50 bucks it was Clive owen.

  • emilaweb

    *Reads the intro* “He must be Caucasian” *quits reading*
    Because we should always take our racial opinions from a guy living in a time period pre-civil rights. Cool.

  • Sihle Dlamini

    Yeah coz every black actor is African-American *sigh*

    • Gargi

      that was a fuck-up, but i loled.

  • sailor monsoon

    My money’s on either dan Stevens, sam riley or Travis fimmel

  • Michael Stuart

    “James Bond is not African-American” and neither is Idris Elba

  • MBP

    I think Dan Stevens would make a great Bond.

  • Cynical Screewriter

    I’m not saying Idris Elba is the living incarnation of Bond, but I don’t see what you have against a black actor playing him. It’s not like these other actors would be accurate to the character in the novels. Hell, the character in the novels hated Koreans, used the “n-word” to describe black people at one point, literally raped multiple women by most definitions, and spoke against homosexual persons at another point. We gonna carry those into the Twenty-first Century Hollywood films as well?

    • tea & snark

      I’m fine with, say, casting a black guy as King Lear, but I find it distracting when I’m supposed to pretend I do not notice a black king of England in a history play produced as history play.

      The question of whether James Bond can be played by a black actor is IMO dependent on how closely one believes James Bond is tied to 20th century cold war politics. To me, if you take the character out of that specific time and place – what’s the point? Why not just invent a new character, rather than do violence to the integrity of the original character?

      • Cynical Screewriter

        I can see your point. Really the only two logical steps is to either have his character adapt with the time and culture or exist within his original setting, much closer to how he was in the novels. Depends on your personal values and opinions for sure.

        • tea & snark

          I personally think if I were in charge, I would do a movie about a black Cold War spy in James Bond’s world.

          Such a character would not have the swagger – not so much a showoff – but could more than make up for that by being smarter, better, and using his disadvantages (such as the bigotry aimed against him, or low expectations) to advantage.

  • Hallyuers

    How about aidan turner, i can picture him as james bond

  • Nick Botton

    I can’t believe you put Tom Hiddleston on there, this list should just have been Idris Elba 10 times.

  • Ted Wolf

    some interesting choices, wasn’t Cavill in the running before Craig was selected? Having just watched Darker than Amber they missed a great opportunity when the went with Moore instead of Rod Taylor.

  • Eoghan Lyng

    Some interesting choices here, though you have precluded Australian actors. Remember George Lazenby starred in the best Bond film of the lot (say what you want about his performance, ´Majesty´s´ is loved by everybody from Nolan to Soderbergh) and Mel Gibson was heavily tauted before it went to Dalton.

    You made a great point about Armitage- he would be a throwback to the great Dalton. And he would be an intriguing new Bond.

  • Patrick Hill

    Elba can’t play Bond because Bond is white, really? After everything that has been said on the reverse, you have the balls to say this. Wow. How many movie goers have actually read the Fleming books. Out of all characters, Bond is the one who is the least obligated to specifics, f*ck, it’s not like all spies are Caucasian after all. Hope you catch hell for this one, it’s lame and racist.

  • Klaus Dannick

    Benedict Cumberbatch. I never imagined James Bond as the spitting image of Butthead. But, hey, first time for everything.

  • Wyatt W.B

    Fuck this

  • Adrian

    Sorry, no to all of them. There can be only one, and the one is Ray Stevenson.

  • Mäts Verschueren

    lol so what if he wasn’t black in the novels, Akira Kurasawa used a lot of Shakespeare stories and did he use white people? And that was in the fucking ’50s en ’60s dude, grow a modern mind at least 😀

  • Broc Lauderdale

    Sam Riley should be the next James Bond

  • Ruckle McChuckle

    Elba isn’t American.

  • Gina

    AIDAN TURNER for Bond. Thank You. Just go watch And Then There Where None, there is your James Bond in the guise of Phillip Lombard. Aidan for Bond. As for Idris, and the obviius PC thing, he is too old. Lets stick too the story, Bond is white for all you PC cowboys. If they want a black Bond, let them write an agent for him, not piggy back on an already sucessfull franchise.

  • Edward Canale

    Idris Elba, when is this going to die? IF didnt write Bond like that. There are 3 people on that list that I think are GREAT candidates. Hardy, Fassbender and possibly Cumberbatch.

    Sorry I dont want Superman and Loki playing Bond. It would be odd.

  • bobomccoo

    Damian “Lewis and his red hair are too distracting”. Really? This is your argument for why he could not play Bond? I could think of many other reasons, but this? By the same rational, wouldn’t Idris Elba’s skin colour also be a distraction? Or

  • John Catania

    Nobody’s mentioned Luke Evans? And let’s please stop playing the racist card whenever someone has an opinion about Idris Elba not being a suitable Bond. He wouldn’t be. Firstly, he’s too old (is that ageist?! Gasp!) and I agree that Bond is a character of a certain time. As much as the Craig films “rebooted” (I hate that word) the franchise, and somewhat humanised him, Bond still became the traditional character with all the traditional characteristics and accoutrements. Idris Elba, as good an actor as he is in other films, doesn’t in any way suit that tradition. And, aside from his advanced age, Elba’s race will count against him, because Fleming wrote him as a white man of a certain time. As with any actor, producers have an imperative and right not to cast any actor that doesn’t have what they’re looking for: hair colour, eye colour, age, skin colour, physique, personality, temperament. That’s a fact of the industry. It doesn’t make filmmakers bad people, racist or whatever other frivolous label, to have an expectation of what they think an actor needs to be for a role.

  • Abhishek

    I don’t know how you see colin firth as older and not Idris Elba. Fassbender, Hardy, Cumberbatch are really nice actors and they should not do bond movies because they will be only know for those roles after the bond series just like Daniel. IMO the best choice is Hiddleston.

  • FXII

    Richard Armitage is the most fitting in my opinion, but only because Jon Hamm is not an option, unfortunately.

    I know Jon Hamm breaks two of the rules, but those rules make no sense. I find the age rule really stupid, I mean Roger Moore was 46 on his first 007 movie and he looked like 50 something. Both Armitage and Hamm ( both 45 years old) look like they’re in their late 30’s. And the ‘must be English’ rule, well, isn’t that what actors are for? To pretend to be something they’re not?

    Tom Hiddleston is just not right; Tom Hardy is already doing great in a franchise (Mad Max) and I didn’t even see him as a franchise actor, he’s just way too good to be “stuck” in a role; Michael Fassbender would actually be ok too;

    Idris Elba… I guess would be the best black actor right now to play Bond, (and in my head he’s tied with Fassbender on 3rd place [1 Hamm, 2 Armitage] and is definitely better than Hiddleston and others) and IF HE WANTS TO (important thing we’re forgetting about) then he SHOULD BE CONSIDERED just like any of the others, but I don’t know why on Earth would a black actor want to play James Bond, the whitest guy in the History of white guys. It’s just as confusing to me as if a white actor would want to play Shaft on another Shaft reboot, for example. We should stop assuming black people want to do everything white people do, just because apparently white people want to do (and fail) everything black people do. Didn’t we learned nothing with Vanilla Ice?!

  • Dean Kish

    Luke Evans
    Matthew Goode
    Tom Hiddleston
    Richard Madden

    Are my choices.Statham, Fassbender, and especially Firth are all past prime Bond casting.

  • Adithian Karuvannur

    Daniel-Day Lewis would play it out tough, though age is a problem yet again

  • Adrian

    Ray Stevenson, perfect fit.

  • Russian Guy

    Luke Evans or Charlie Hunnam

  • TheHamburger

    I’d like to see Joel Fry, I think he’s partially caucasian so that should be enough.

  • lambis torachidis

    Michael Fassbender, no doubt about it.

  • Tim O’Hare

    So Damian Lewis is a year older than Idris Elba? Why does that extra year make him ineligible?

  • Raphael Bruckner