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New James Bond: these are the actors who should be the next 007

Our choice for who should replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.

New James Bond: these are the actors who should be the next 007
Tom Victor
24 September 2023

If there are any details to tell about the next James Bond movie, they are being kept under tight wraps.

"Bond 26" is the code name for the upcoming James Bond flick. And that's virtually all we know about it so far.

It's going to be a biggie, because this will be the first Bond film in 20 years not to feature Daniel Craig, by the time the movie hits cinemas.

But who is going to be the next Bond? That's the big question. Maybe a bold choice is in order, and Daniel Craig was perhaps a bolder pick that we now give the film-makers credit for.

In a recent interview, Casino Royale director Martin Campbell said he was initially just a little reticent to get Craig on-board.

"He was really a superb actor, there’s no doubt about that… it was the fact that with people like Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan was that they were all traditional looking Bonds. All handsome guys, all sexy, all very attractive to women and so forth," said Campbell.

"Daniel was obviously tougher and ruggeder, but he wasn’t a traditional handsome guy. So I just thought about that for a minute and apart from that, absolutely it was always him."

But what should the next Bond look like? If you feel as passionately about this as we do, then make sure you vote for your favourite future Bond below. You can also recommend your own Craig successor in the box at the bottom.

Who should be the next James Bond?

Who should be the next James Bond?

1. Tom Ellis

With Lucifer coming to an end, Tom Ellis will have a space in his diary to play James Bond. The only issue is his age - he's 42 at the moment and, realistically, the next movie will be around 2025. We reckon he would do a great job, though, and it would be great to see another Welshman in the role, after Timothy Dalton.

Image Credit: Luther, Netflix

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Cavill’s had a few false dawns with ‘big’ roles in the past, most notably failing to turn Superman into career-defining role it might have been for others. However, this actually works in his favour from a Bond perspective: when watching Cavill as 007, the Man of Steel star won’t feel as though he’s in the wrong role quite as much. Also, and this is important, he looks great in a suit.

Image credit: Man From Uncle, Warner Bros

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According to news from The Express and other major outlets in summer of 2023, there's a new frontrunner for the Bond title according to the bookies: Paapa Essiedu. In fact, he was neck and neck with odds alongside Tom Hardy at the time of writing – though it's worth remembering these things change in minutes. Paapa is both Emmy and BAFTA nominated for his roles in Men, The Lazarus Project and I May Destroy You. If you've seen him in any of those roles you'll know he's already got the presence and magnetism needed to play Bond.

Image credit: HBO Max

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Who should be the next James Bond?

4. Tom Hardy

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Right, so when it comes to talent, it’s hard to look past Hardy. If you were casting for 100 roles which fit his age and gender profile, Hardy would be on the shortlist for 90 of them before you knew anything else about the character. The question isn’t whether he would nail it, because obviously he would, but rather whether he’d feel as though Bond is too constrictive a role for him to take on.

Image Credit: Legend, StudioCanal

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Who should be the next James Bond?

5. Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Aaron Taylor-Johnson has become one of the frontrunners for the new James Bond job, thanks to numerous tabloid rumours which suggest that he has already filmed his version of the iconic 'shoot-to-camera' intro scene. None of this has been corroborated, mind, but we can definitely see the actor in the role and he's bang-on the age that Bond's producers seem to be after.

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Dev Patel has wow-ed us in plenty of roles in his career, from Slumdog Millionaire through to his more recent fantastic performance in David Lowery's epic medieval fantasy The Green Knight. Sure his role as Gawain (the Green Knight) isn't quite the same as 007, but it shows his range and ability to play a conflicted action hero. At 32 he's a good age to take the Bond franchise into the next ten years at least.

Image Credit: A24

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Who should be the next James Bond?

7. Idris Elba

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It feels like Elba would have been a frontrunner had Craig bowed out before No Time to Die, but the window may have now shut for the 47-year-old. That said, after taking the last few years to work on some smaller projects (also Cats, but we don’t need to dwell on that), there’s every chance the Londoner could be coaxed into a role which he has been linked with as frequently as Wesley Sneijder has been linked with Manchester United.

Image credit: Luther, BBC Studios

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Hiddleston has a strong profile outside the Bond franchise and, with him having ‘done’ Marvel, this may be the best (or even only) opportunity to snap him up. His slate looks busy but not irrevocably so, giving him time to polish off his to-do list before moving onto a big franchise role, and he’s easy to picture as 007. He turns 40 in 2021, though, and the studio may prefer someone younger.

Image credit: High Rise, StudioCanal

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9. Richard Madden

Watch Bodyguard on Netflix

Richard Madden came to prominence thanks to his role as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, but it was Bodyguard and Rocket Man where he truly showed off his acting chops. He's still young, (mid 30s) and is Scottish, so will definitely be on the Broccoli's hit list.

Image credit: Bodyguard, BBC

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Out of everyone on this list, Dan Stevens has perhaps had the most varied career so far. First seen in Downton Abbey, he has since shed some pounds and starred in the fantastic Marvel show Legion, featured in a couple of great horror movies and was last seen in the Netflix Eurovision movie. He's got the physique, charm, acting chops and humour to be a brilliant Bond.

Image Credit: The Guest, HanWay Films

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Who should be the next James Bond?

11. Regé-Jean Page

Love it or hate it, Bridgerton has been a massive success for Netflix and certainly put Regé-Jean Page on the map as the next James Bond. He's superb as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. At 31 he's the perfect age to play Bond in myriad movies.

Image Credit: Bridgerton, Netflix

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Who should be the next James Bond?

12. Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan already has the sadistic nature of James Bond nailed, having played a serial killer in The Fall and Christian Grey in the 50 Shades movies. But he can also play the action part as well and he's a fantastic actor. It would also be great to see another man from Ireland to take on the role of James Bond.

Image Credit: 50 Shades Of Grey, Focus Features

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One of the more recent favourites, Sam Heughan wowed us all in Outlander and has the acting chops and looks to be the next James Bond. He's Scottish so would be walking in Sean Connery sized boots. At 40, he's a good age to be playing Bond and he's already put on a tux for spoof The Spy Who Dumped Me - not a movie we would recommend but Heughan makes it nearly watchable.

Image credit: Outlander, Amazon

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14. Emily Blunt

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The question of whether we’ll ever get a female 007 has been a regular occurrence on tabloid pages and in entertainment magazines, but we feel closer than ever before. Jodie Whittaker was cast as the first female lead in Doctor Who in 2017, and the world hasn’t ended, so why not? Blunt would surely be a popular candidate if we do go down this route, as she holds the requisite swagger and cool to make the role her own.

Image Credit: Sicario, Lionsgate

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When it comes to suaveness, the once host of BBC's Travel Show has got it in droves. Henry Golding is an actor whose stock is rising. He is superb in Crazy Rich Asians and is about to show off his action skills in the new Snake Eyes movie. If ever there was a well-rounded actor that would fit the tux perfectly, then Golding is it.

Image Credit: Crazy Rich Asians, Warner Bros

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16. James Norton

£2.49
Watch McMafia at Amazon

The McMafia actor is a lot of bookmakers’ favourite for the role, and – to borrow a phrase from the political world – feels like a solid continuity candidate. Cambridge and RADA-educated, he’s the sort of Englishman that we imagine Americans picture when they think of Bond, and he’s roughly the same age Craig was when he took on the role for the first time. Also, importantly, he’s not too keenly associated with other film roles.

Image Credit: McMafia, BBC

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17. Oliver Jackson-Cohen

After a fantastic turn in The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Oliver Jackson-Cohen has proven himself to be a fantastic actor. It is perhaps his role in The Invisible Man that proves just how versatile an actor he is. He has all the makings of a fantastic James Bond.

Image Credit: The Invisible Man, Blumhouse Productions

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18. Omar Sy

After a star turn in Lupin, Omar Sy has shot up in our estimations and should definitely be considered as the next James Bond. He's fantastic in the Netflix show and has everything that's needed to pull off the Bond role, including suaveness, swagger and the odd one liner.

Image Credit: Lupin, Netflix

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19. Brett Goldstein

Watch Ted Lasso now

We are big fans of Ted Lasso Comedy Series and one of the main reasons is the brilliant Roy Kent, played by Brett Goldstein - he so good he won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at this year's Emmys. Yes, he's already 41 so it would make him one of the oldest Bonds from the get go, but it would be AMAZING to see him in the part. Also, he's kind of got history with the character, playing him in a Spectre Of Shame comedy sketch, where the super spy takes a visit to Sex Addicts Anonymous.

Image Credit: Ted Lasso, Apple TV Plus

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20. Nicholas Hoult

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Keeping with the Skins theme, and that’s before we even mention fellow Bond candidate Jack O’Connell, Hoult has gained a bit of traction with the bookies. Like Kaluuya, he is 30, which makes those of us who first saw him in About a Boy feel very old. The question mark isn’t his age, but rather his prettiness: could someone with his boyish good looks work as a spy, or would he give the game away by turning too many heads?

Image credit: Tolkin, Allstar/Fox Searchlight

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21. Lashana Lynch

Lashana Lynch is in No Time To Die and it looks like she technically has the 007 moniker, after Bond has retired. This will all change when he gets back in the saddle but should she be the next James Bond? It would certainly be the shake-up the franchise needs, even if the Broccoli have said that Bond will be a man.

Image Credit: No Time To Die, Eon Productions

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22. Tahar Rahim

Tahar Rahim was already on our radar because of the fantastic French movie A Prophet but he's now the talk of the town because of his fantastic turn as real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj in The Serpent. He certainly looks the part and could easily be the first French actor to tackle Bond.

Image Credit: The Serpent, BBC

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Jack Huston was one of the best things about Boardwalk Empire, where he played Richard Harrow, a casualty of war and hitman. The role showed off what an actor he is. Since then he has flitted between Hollywood movies and TV and has everything needed to be a brilliant, brooding Bond.

Image credit: Mr Mercedes, Lionsgate

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Who should be the next James Bond?

24. Damian Lewis

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When casting a new Bond, there are often questions around how big a name or how long an acting CV the new star needs to have. You can be too much of an unknown, perhaps, but can you be too much of a household name too? Lewis’ name seems pertinent to this debate – will we be watching James Bond, or will we be watching Famous Actor Damian Lewis playing a spy? That said, his most famous roles coming on the small screen could work in his favour in this regard.

Image Credit: Life, NBC

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25. Daniel Kaluuya

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Daniel Kaluuya doesn’t do bad performances. He doesn’t really do bad films, either, but he’s often the best thing about them even when not in a lead role, as we witnessed in Black Panther. There’s no doubt the Londoner is enough of a chameleon to be magnetic in any role – yes, even Bond – but there’s still the age question. Not whether Kaluuya is too young at 30, but whether he’ll feel he’s not far along enough in his career.

Image credit: Get Out, Universal Pictures

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