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Danny Boyle has quit Bond - here's who could replace him

We assess the runners and riders for the Bond 25 hotseat

Danny Boyle has quit Bond - here's who could replace him
22 August 2018

So that’s that then, Boyle is off Bond. That old chestnut “creative differences” has reared its ugly head and forced him off the franchise. 

Shame, this, because Danny could have injected a little pizzaz into a series that’s in danger of becoming stale - can you even remember a single scene from the last Bond? No, you can’t - it’s all slowing down and we need someone to mix it up. Danny seemed like the one to do it, but that’s all gone now. What a pity.

But don’t let that make you think it’s the end of Bond - of course it’s not, this is Hollywood, and they’ll simply push forward with someone else in the director’s chair. But who? WHOM? WHOMST? Well, here are our picks:

Christopher McQuarrie

The first rumour to emerge from the proverbial mill surrounds the Mission: Impossible - Fallout director, and for obvious reason - he’s made the best Mission Impossible flicks so far, and they’ve all kicked the box office a new one. He knows how to handle a franchise and he absolutely knows how to handle an action sequence - and besides, Ethan Hunt is basically James Bond, but American, right? 

He seems the perfect choice. And if it means that Bond can have a big fight in the men’s bogs with a bloke who can reload his arms, then sign us up. Sign us all the way up.

Ryan Coogler

Look, Coogler directed the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time. A film about a seemingly-unstoppable bloke going up against insurmountable odds by doing loads and loads of fighting? That’s James Bond there, isn’t it? Like, 007 isn’t normally dressed up as a big cat, but everything else is quite similar. 

If they go in a different, more inclusive route with the next Bond then Coogler would be an absolutely perfect fit. He’s also tackled the “gritty” side of things - it’s not all ridiculous gymnasts in spandex scratching at each other with big fake nails with Ryan - Fruitvale Station shows the director can do realism, too. A mixture of action-absurdity and down-and-dirty real-world action is quintessential Bond. Give him the job and stop faffing.

Kathryn Bigelow

Point Break, innit. That one. That film. That absolutely amazing, nothing-wrong-with-it-in-any-way, full-marks film. On the strength of just that, Bigelow should probably be swiped up, but then you consider The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty and you realise: yes, yes it would be a 100% very good idea to hire her for this movie.

She could do the OTT action with one hand, and then with the other pull in a bit of relevance to the franchise, bringing it up to date and reflecting actual issues. And if all else fails, she could draw on her Near Dark experience and make Bond a vampire. We offer no hyperbole when we say this: it is about time that somebody made James Bond a vampire.

Katherine Bigelow 

Denis Villeneuve

Want a breakneck action piece firmly grounded in the real world, that pulls not a single punch? Check out Sicario - seen it? Now just think what Villeneuve could do with the franchise - if we were lucky, we’d be getting our first 15-rated Bond since License To Kill (the best one). Sure, Casino Royale rebooted Bond in a badder, scrappy guise, but why not do it again, but even further? 

Like, have him completely lose it and just go buckwild on the bad guys - really take it a step too far. We could have all of this, and because it’s Villeneuve, it would all be packaged up neatly into an “actually good” film, too. Best of both worlds, right there.

Gareth Evans

If you’re into Bond for the action, then there is no greater director than Gareth Evans to push that envelope through your letterbox. The director of The Raid and its even more extreme sequel could give this series the roundhouse kick it absolutely needs to become exciting again. He can do bone-crunching fight sequences like no other, and as The Raid 2 proved, he can widen his action scope to more than just fisticuffs. He absolutely knows how to handle this and deserves to place his very talented arse into that there director’s chair. LET HIM PUT HIS ARSE IN IT.

Jeremy Saulnier

Don’t be fooled by the sweet-looking cherub in the picture below - Saulnier does absolutely not muck around. His first film, Blue Ruin, featured a man on a bloody quest for revenge (Bond has got revenge before!) but instead of portraying a Punisher-like one-man-army, it depicts vengeance as a messy, regretful, dirty affair. 

His second film Green Room kept much the same aesthetic, and it’s even better. Imagine a stripped-back, stunt-light, one-man mission for Bond - a personal one, perhaps, off the grid, serving his own wants and needs. Could be a great way to shake things up. In fact, we really want to see this. And we want to see it now. NOW. IMMEDIATELY. GET SAULNIER ON THE BLOWER, STAT.

Jeremy Saulnier

Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne is nu-Bond, isn’t he? Like, an upgraded, more culturally relevant version of the superspy, and you know what? He’d probs win in a fight, too. Bond against Bourne - Bond’s getting his eye decked with a biro, ain’t he? As such, maybe the director of the best Bourne installments could toughen Bond up a bit, get him in training and then stuff the camera right in there while he’s dashing some thug around the cheek with a rolled-up copy of Homes & Garden. Actually scrap that, just do Bond Vs Bourne: Dawn Of Justice. Absolutely 10/10, would watch, would scream.

Antoine Fuqua

James Bond is getting a bit old now, so how do you make sure he still looks like a badass? Well, you get Antoine Fuqua along for the ride, and you say “Antoine, it would very much please us and the movie-going public if you could do to Daniel Craig what you did to Denzel Washington in The Equalizer and its sequel. Many thanks. I love you.” Then, if you’re lucky, he does exactly that and you have a very good (but probably very violent) James Bond movie on your hands. Thanks, Antoine!

Joe Carnahan

If you think of Joe Carnahan, you may then think of The A-Team, but you should not do this, you should not think of The A-Team, because it was not very good. What you should think of is Narc, and its ridiculously fraught opening chase scene, and then “do another think” about what Carnahan could do with old Bondy Boy. There have been a couple of duffers peppered about his varied career, but there have also been flashes of brilliance, and whether he’s doing humour or playing it straight, we reckon Joe could pull it out the bag. 

Joe Carnahan

Chad Stahelski/David Leitch


Isaac Florentine

This will never happen, but we can but wish. Isaac Florentine makes straight-to-DVD movies - he’s never had a film in the cinemas - but come back! With each film he gets better, and he absolutely knows how to shoot action - take one look at any of the middle two Undisputed movies and you’ll see what we mean. Maybe he’s not got the experience to tackle a full-on big-budget flick, but at least let him direct the fights and stunts? Filmmakers that let other, well-versed directors handle specific parts of the action often end up with better movies as a result. Go on, let him get a hold of it, ya big bullies.

James Wan

James Wan is the absolute man of the moment. Graduating from low-budget horrors like Saw to gigantic tent-pole blockbusters like Furious 7, Wan can happily call himself a master of the gamut. And who doesn’t want to be called “A Master Of The Gamut”? Exactly, nobody ,because that has never been said in the history of the world, but you know what we mean. He knows how to sell characters and story, but he can also handle big budgets and ensemble pieces - a real all-rounder, is Wan, and he’d bring a nice bit of personal flair to Bond. Has there ever been a scary Bond? Could we have a scary Bond? Like a Luther-type thing going on? Have him chasing a serial killer or something? Yes, we can, let’s do this. Bond Vs Jigsaw: Dawn Of Justice.

James Wan

Patty Jenkins

Oh hello, Wonder Woman - absolute box-office juggernaut, critical darling, both things that the Bond franchise wants and needs. Of course, it cares most about the former, and as such, there shouldn’t be any hesitation about handing the franchise to the tried-and-tested hands of Jenkins. Also, she’d be perfect to handle the series if they ever pulled their finger out and went with a female Bond. Course, that definitely won’t be happening with the next one - Daniel Craig has one more in him - but keep her on the subs bench for when it eventually does happen, and you won’t be sorry.

Pierre Morel

He did Taken, the greatest old-man-killing-everyone movie of all time. In fact, is Taken the greatest movie of all time? It is close to it. Taken is close to the greatest movie of all time. You heard it here first.

Anyway, where were we? Bond or something? Who knows.

Nicolas Winding Refn

If - and this may be difficult for him - Refn is able to refrain from slotting his own head far up his backside, then he could make a good Bond movie. His visual style is second-to-none - you know a Refn film when you see one - and if he keeps it grounded, like he does in Drive (which is great, isn’t it? Everyone loves it, and that might make you hate it, but it’s brilliant, and we’ll have no bad words about it on this here Scrabble board), then he’d be capable of a very weird, but very effective Bond. If, on the other hand, he goes all Neon Demon about it and gets all carried away up that arse of his, then it would absolutely be a mistake to choose him. Calm him down though, and you might be onto a winner.

So they’re our picks, but what are the bookies saying? Well, according to William Hill, the odds currently stand as this:

3/1 David Mackenzie; 4/1 Denis Villeneuve; 6/1 Yann Demange; 7/1 Sam Mendes; 8/1 Christopher Nolan; 8/1 Martin McDonagh; 12/1 Ridley Scott; 14/1 Steve McQueen; 16/1 Christopher McQuarrie; 16/1 Danny Boyle; 16/1 JJ Abrams; 50/1 Ken Loach.


(Images: Getty)