Photo: The New James Bond
In 2021, British actor Daniel Craig would play the role of James Bond one final time in the epic conclusion to his story, ‘No Time to Die.’ Watching Craig play the character for roughly 15 years, it was a bittersweet goodbye to watch the actor finally retire the character. While Craig’s Bond films had their ups and downs, it is safe to say that Craig brought his all to the character and had one of the best takes of the character ever. With Craig putting the role to rest, it is practically guaranteed that another actor will take up the role: but the question remains of who?
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Daniel Craig’s exit
From his first appearance in 2006’s ‘Casino Royale,’ Daniel Craig proved to be a new kind of Bond that breathed new life into the character. ‘Casino Royale’ was an adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel about a game of poker with insane stakes and a race to capture a terrorist. Craig’s first Bond film brought an air of realism to the character that was somewhat lacking in the previous interactions of the character, along with incredible performances from Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd. Both Mikkelsen and Green’s characters were black sheep to what is expected from the typical Bond villain and Bond leading girl. Le Chiffre was unpredictable and his methods of torture were gruesome and terrifying, giving us one of the most gut-wrenching scenes in a Bond film to date. Vesper was indeed a Bond girl but felt well-rounded and played a much more crucial role in the overall story than one might expect for the female lead in a Bond film.
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Over time, Craig’s Bond films continued to push the envelope, such as with 2012’s ‘Skyfall’ which saw one of the greatest Bond performances and Bond films ever put to screen. The unique exploration of Judi Dench’s M’s maternal relationship with Craig’s Bond proved to be powerful and intriguing to audiences. In 2021’s ‘No Time to Die,’ the film shifted the Bond dynamic completely with the introduction of Bond’s daughter, Mathilde Swann (played by Lisa-Dorah Sonnet). The Craig Bond movies continued to push the boundaries from beginning to end, always raising the stakes and trying to tell new stories through a character who feels like has been around forever.
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007 or New James Bond?
One of the biggest speculations about James Bond, also known as 007, is the theory that Bond is not defined by the character, but the 007 agent tag. While the theory’s origins are unknown, it has been perpetuated, especially recently, given the ending of ‘No Time to Die’ and the film’s references to what happens to agent numbers when an agent passes away. With a new James Bond reboot likely to come, it could be interesting to explore a new 007 but not necessarily James Bond himself.
Another idea that could be explored is the history of the 007 number: who held it before Bond and possibly who has it after him. Changing up the status quo could be beneficial for the Bond series and make for great films.
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Potential New Actors
Within the discussion of a new James Bond, there are a number of directions filmmakers can take the franchise from here. For starters, fans of Craig Bond have talked about Lashana Lynch taking up the mantle, making her the new protagonist of Craig’s previous Bond series. This would make sense as in ‘No Time to Die,’ Lynch’s character, Rosaline Capulet, takes over the 007 number as Bond retires. Lynch proved she was a strong choice for the role as her performance in ‘No Time to Die’ was phenomenal and had great chemistry with Craig. There is an issue that rises with this casting, however, in that Lynch is technically not James Bond despite receiving the 007 alias. Future filmmakers may want to reboot Bond for the next film but its worth keeping Lynch in the conversation.
Another actor Bond fans have considered for the role is the young Spider-Man actor, Tom Holland. A Holland Bond film could be an interesting new take on the character as Holland could explore what life for an early James was like. This could be just what the franchise needs, as a Bond in his late teens to early 20s has never been explored in a cinematic medium before. The character has had media about his early days, such as the Charlie Higson graphic novel ‘SilverFin.’ Holland portraying a young Bond could explore how the British Agent joined her Majesty’s secret service and grew to become the cool and stoic Bond we know so well.
The final and arguably the best fit for the next James Bond is British actor Idris Elba. Despite the actor’s comments that he would not play the role and feels too old to do so, Elba would be a phenomenal pick for the next Bond. For starters, Elba is British and known for his suaveness and one-liners. Despite Elba being a bit older, Craig was 54 when he played Bond in ‘No Time to Die,’ so age as a factor does not seem to be a huge issue. However, Elba says he would likely not want to play the spy on the big screen, so seeing Elba as Bond anytime soon is unlikely.
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Overall, there are a number of Bond actors who could pick up the mantle from Craig and do the character great justice. To see a young or even older Bond could provide new movie ideas to explore that previous Bond films have not touched upon. Regardless of who the next Bond will be, all we can hope is that the next set of Bond films will bring new challenges and story ideas to the franchise while also preserving what makes James Bond the character so timeless.
By Spencer Hoffman
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Spencer Hoffman is a writer for The Hollywood Insider and current film student. He is an avid consumer of cinema and television and enjoys sharing his insight on these topics within his features and reviews. He strongly believes in the power of the written word and the importance of truth in everything. Spencer aligns with The Hollywood Insider’s views of empowerment and raising all types of voices up. He hopes to entertain and incite meaningful conversation with his pieces.