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Daniel Craig is finally saying goodbye to 007, but now who will step into the iconic role? Here are the top contenders to play James Bond next.

Which actor is most likely to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond?

In 2006, Barbara Broccoli needed a splash to reinvigorate a tired James Bond franchise that had steadily been declining for almost twenty years. Since the 1960s, James Bond has been a staple in cinema ever since the debonair agent was brought to life by the iconic Sean Connery. If you want to know how iconic, he improvised the very first utterance of the now legendary, “Bond, James Bond”.

Ever since Connery hung up the dinner jacket and Walther PPK, the studio has searched time & again for a new actor to don the agent’s suit and bring new adventures to the big screen. George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan have all had their turns with various levels of love or hate from the fanbase. 

Since 2006’s Casino Royale, Daniel Craig has been our British super agent and brought grit, darkness, and more profound character development missing in previous Bonds. He was intense, brutal, and more linear than any other actor before him (actually having direct sequels and continuing storylines). But, when No Time to Die hits theaters in October, Craig will wave farewell to 007, and the search will be on for a successor. 

But who will land the biggest gig in action cinema? The following list is the top candidates who have been popular in fan-casting or the rumor mill. 

Idris Elba

One of the most talked-about and popular fan-castings has been for the always pleasing Idris Elba. He has the acting chops, as proven by his turn as the dark & thrilling titular character, Luther. And he has the physicality and charm, as shown by his portrayal in Losers, The Dark Tower, and most recently, The Suicide Squad

The downside? It is no secret that the role of James Bond is physically demanding. Craig, himself, has almost retired multiple times due to the toll it took on his body. With Idris Elba just turning forty-nine years old on September 6th, the window may be closing for him to take on the role. 

Sam Heughan

Connery was Scottish, and because of that, there has been a longstanding belief that Bond is – and always should be – Scottish. Heughan has shown that he can carry a significant tentpole like the Bond franchise by leading the popular Outlander series based on novels of the same name. He has also demonstrated his ability to show grit and physicality in Bloodshot and the Netflix original, SAS: Red Notice

With that said, outside of Outlander, his other leading roles have yet to show that he has the caliber to bring the audiences into the theater. Is that needed? Does the actor make Bond the way Connery did? Or does Bond make the actor the way it did for Lazenby?

Henry Cavill

Few on this list will compete with Cavill’s physical compatibility with the role with his dark hair, baby blues, and gravelly voice. With his ability to bring Superman, Sherlock Holmes, and Geralt of Rivia of The Witcher series to life, exemplified by stellar reviews and fan adoration, he also can charm audiences to the same effectiveness he uses when vanquishing enemies. 

But does he have the time? With the roles mentioned above, expecting returns and him accepting the role of the new Highlander set to begin production soon, his schedule may not allow him to take on such a high demanding part. One thing is for certain, having missed out on the role in 2006 to Craig, he has something to prove. 

Tom Hardy

Hardy seems to be the favorite among the betting odds, one of the heavier hitters on this list. He produces deep and gritty characters that never cease to show new depths of range for the forty-three-year-old English actor. He showed his abilities in his breakout performance as Charles Bronson in Bronson

The one thing holding Hardy back might be himself. He is picky with his roles and tends to stray away from the big-budget films by his admission (with his turns in The Dark Knight Rises, Venom, and Mad Max: Fury Road notwithstanding), so he may not want to take on a role that will dominate his career for a decade. 

Regé-Jean Page

He is young (33), talented, and a person of color, so Page may end up being what the Bond franchise needs. Amazon recently purchased the rights to Bond, and while they have said it will stay in the theaters, they undoubtedly want to inject new blood into the role. Page can do that and bring a fresh take on the sixty-year-old character. 

While he can bring the charm and the depth to Bond (if you haven’t seen him in Bridgerton, where have you been), he has yet to show any real physicality that proves he could pull off the British super spy’s adventures. 

Dev Patel

At thirty-one, Patel is the youngest on the list and has definite longevity for a complete story for Bond. He could give Moore a run for his money as the longest-running (Moore clocked seven turns as 007) by starting with a younger, up-and-coming Bond and showcasing his accent to the 00 program and ending with his story complete. This is an approach we haven’t seen taken to the franchise as of yet. 

Similarly to Page, Patel is a person of color who has the charm and acting chops to bring new life to the role but hasn’t taken on many physically demanding roles in his career. With Broccoli stating that Bond won’t be a woman during her tenure, someone like Patel is a great way to get away from the typical white actors and appeal to a younger audience. 

Whomever the studio selects, the Bond franchise doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but up from here, and the new actor has some large shoes to fill, shoes that are sixty years in the making. 

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