After 5 James Bond films and 16 years, Daniel Craig's tenure as the most iconic fictional British spy was sadly brought to a close earlier this year with his latest Bond film "No Time to Die".
Casting the right actor for the role is an overriding decision that a massive amount of box office revenue depends on; especially after Craig's stellar acting delivery in his tenure, it is going to be particularly difficult.
BBC reported Mark O'Connell's, author of Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan, take on who could succeed Daniel Craig in the James Bond franchise.
The writer, journalist and Bond megafan said, that any new Bond actor might likely pay homage to those before him, "but he will bring his own qualities to the role,"
"He does not need to have been a leading man. Daniel Craig wasn't when he got the role in 2005. Yet, he was a leading man in waiting - something producer Barbara Broccoli had to instil in him over a year or so of conversation about taking on the Bond baton."
Here's a list of candidates for the next 007 movie:
We know one thing for sure, that is the next Bond will be another man. Producer Barbara Broccoli confirmed this in 2020 when he said, "James Bond can be of any colour, but he is male,"
"I believe we should be creating new characters for women - strong female characters. I'm not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think women are far more interesting than that."
We doubt if things could get more masculine than Tom Hardy who is acclaimed for his on-screen toughness in movies like Venom, Dunkirk and Mad Max: Fury Road.
The actor even threw his hat into the ring when he told magic in 2012, "I'd love to play Bond with [Tenet director] Christopher Nolan or something. It would be awesome."
However, O'Connell notes, "Connery and Lazenby were both barely 30 when they got the gig. As Craig and his injuries will testify, it is a hard slog playing Bond with all action cinema's expectations. It is a younger agent's game."
At 44, Tom may have missed the opportunity. If he had to keep it up for 15 years like Daniel Craig, he'd be playing Bond at 60!
Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page, 33, might just play the young agent in the next Bond film.
Former 007 Pierce Brosnan has even vouched for him when he remarked Page would make a "wonderful" Bond. The actor has looked like he was auditioning for a Bond film in every red carpet appearance lately anyway.
Regardless, Page stays pragmatic about the speculations. He said, "If you're a Brit, and you do something of any kind of renown that people regard well, then people start saying the 'B' word. It's like a merit badge,"
"I'm very, very glad to have the badge," he added. "I'm glad to be in such wonderful company of people who have the badge. But it's a badge," earlier this year at The Tonight Show.
The first performer to play James Bond was Scottish actor late Sean Connery; it only makes a lot of sense that producers will consider some new Scottish talent bearing that in mind.
Game of Thrones star Richard Madden is another actor who could be under scrutiny for the role, thanks to BBC drama Bodyguard which required him to wear a tuxedo, reverse a car out of gunfire and know his way around a weapon.
Again, like Page, Madden too has played down the rumours. He told GQ n 2018 that he was "more than flattered to be mentioned" in relation to the Bond franchise, but added "Everyone just loves the rumour mill on that topic. I'm just the current one. There'll be a different one next week."
The problem with a lot of these actors mentioned earlier is that they are the bookies' favourites; producers have, perhaps on purpose, often cast someone far off from obvious in the past.
O'Conell notes on this, "It is worth remembering that in the immediate year or two after Pierce Brosnan's final Bond film [2002's Die Another Day], the 'bookies favourite' headlines never once mentioned a guy called Daniel Craig as they obsessed over Clive Owen because he once wore a tuxedo in another film. James Bond has never really been Sunday night totty."
This might just rule out TV drama favourites like Aidan Turner, Tom Hiddleston and Cillian Murphy, but cut open a rather high way for Tom Hopper.
The actor co-starred Madden in Game of Thrones and struck a surge of interest in October, despite being considered a firm outsider previously. You could bet that he would not be the next Bond prior to that.
By late October, that deliberation took a turn as rumours emerged that he had been shortlisted by Broccoli.
"It looks like we have been caught on the hop here," said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams at the time. "Tom Hopper was completely off our radar, but he is firmly on it now. The gamble suggests that he is almost certainly on the shortlist."
The Super Man actor was actually in the running up against Daniel Craig to play Bond the last time around.
He was rumoured to have been the second choice at the time, possibly for being too young (in his early 20s) for the role. This means Cavill might have a pretty great chance this time!
In 2020, Cavill told GQ, "At this stage, it's all up in the air. We'll see what happens. But yes, I would love to play Bond, it would be very, very exciting."
The next Bond will be someone we all know, but no one thought of mentioning: O'Connell
O'Connell described what James Bond represents, "A new Bond is not just a red-carpet suit and a timepiece endorsement arm. He must be a movie star, an ambassador for the series and cinema, a media diplomat, an anointed son of British culture and the face of a billion-dollar ecosystem of products and endorsements,"
"He must be instantly recognisable across all corners of the globe as James Bond. He must be good looking, able to hold the camera and dominate cinema screens the size of football pitches."