James Bond is the man that everyone wants to be. Suave, handsome, well dressed, witty, tough, charismatic and irresistible to women; he is the epitome of manliness. Being asked to play Bond is a compliment of the highest order, and enables actors to join the elite club that includes Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.
While there has always been a classic look for 007, the casting of blonde-haired Daniel Craig (originally met with criticism) has opened up the doors for a number of actors. With that in mind, here are 10 actors most likely to be the next James Bond.
10. Kit Harrington
We know that Kit Harrington has the smoldering looks and the acting ability for the role of 007, but would he be a good fit? He already has experience in spy films with 2015’s Spooks: The Greater Good, but for many his role as Jon Snow on Game of Thrones will actually hurt his chances instead of helping them. Whatever the fate of Jon Snow is, he has done such a fantastic job portraying the character that he has become iconic in the role. Kit Harrington is Jon Snow, and even if he were to lose the beard and get a haircut, it would be difficult to perceive him as another character that is so iconic. There is no doubt he has the skills and looks for the role, but if Kit Harrington landed the role of James Bond, then who would be Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch?
9. James McAvoy
There are few Brits as charming as James McAvoy, and he could certainly look the part in a dapper suit. McAvoy is also a highly respected actor, having demonstrated a wide range of acting abilities in films such as Split, The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, Filth and as a young Professor Charles Xavier in X:Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. In addition to having the acting talent to play a compelling lead role, as well as the charm and charisma, he also holds a key advantage in being Scottish (and his name is James). An argument against McAvoy, however, is that he does not appear to have the machismo which is so important in the role, and at just 5’7″ he may be deemed too short to play James Bond (although there are always tricks to get around this).
8. Benedict Cumberbatch
He has already dazzled as one of Britain’s most iconic characters in Sherlock Holmes, and now many would like to see the Marvel star suit up in a future James Bond movie. There is definitely something quintessentially British about Cumberbatch who is very charming and suave, and as a smooth-talking James Bond, he could be excellent. He is one of the fastest rising stars thanks to Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, The Fifth Estate and The Imitation Game; however, some would say that he is not quite right for the role of 007. Whilst he does possess some attributes, like McAvoy, he does not have the machismo or frame that is typically associated with Bond. The character could be taken in a new direction, but for many, this is a key attribute that will not work in Cumberbatch’s favor.
7. Andrew Lincoln
Andrew Lincoln would make an excellent James Bond. Brits may know him best for his portrayal of Simon in the British comedy-drama series Teachers, where he plays a cocky yet likable character (sound familiar?). In The Walking Dead, Lincoln played Rick Grimes and does a brilliant job of portraying a rugged and complex man of action. And in real life, Lincoln is also known for his quick wit. Combining all of these elements demonstrates that he has all the tools necessary to succeed. He has shown his scope over the years and helped to propel The Walking Dead to be one of the most popular shows (at the time), and as a rising star it could be the perfect time to step into Craig’s shoes and see a return of the charming and witty Bond, but with some edge.
6. Tom Hiddleston
Another actor with his hat in the ring for the role of 007 is Tom Hiddleston, who is best known for playing Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in films such as Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World. In addition to these action-packed films, he has also proven his talents in films such as War Horse, The Deep Blue Sea, Midnight in Paris and Crimson Peak. The 39-year-old is known for his British charm, and this was on show when discussing the possibility of becoming 007—“it would be a huge compliment and huge fun,” he said, but also reiterated how he would never usurp Craig’s place. One reason which may stop Hiddleston from suiting up as Bond is his commitment to Thor in 2017 and the two-part Avengers: Infinity War, which will keep him more than occupied till around 2019.
5. Damian Lewis
Many people are tipping Homeland star Damian Lewis to replace Craig as the next Bond, and the 49-year-old certainly possesses the charm and sophistication for the role. He would be the first redheaded James Bond, but he believes that the character’s Scottish roots have “paved the way perfectly for a red-head Bond.” Lewis is frequently seen wearing suits and appears to have the style to match the sophistication, and this could see a return to the stylish international man of mystery era after Craig’s tougher and more muscular portrayal. In addition to Homeland, the London born actor has also appeared in Band of Brothers, Wolf Hall, Life, and The Forsyte. Having found success and popularity around the globe for his roles, Lewis seems to tick all the boxes and is one of the favorites to land the role. However, his age could be a factor that holds him back.
4. Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender is one of the biggest and most popular stars of the last decade, and the German-Irish actor seems to have all the tools to make a brilliant Bond. He is a well-respected actor that has excelled in a wide range of genres, and he has also proven himself as a lead actor. He has the rugged looks, the suaveness, the charm, screen presence and machismo to become the next James Bond, however, some people feel that his success over the last decade works against him. Seeing as he is now so well known and established in Hollywood, and particularly as young Magneto in the X-Men films, some think that he is too large a name for the role, which is why it is better suited to a rising star. But you can certainly imagine him saying “The name’s Fassbender…Michael Fassbender.”
3. Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill is at the top of many people’s lists, and the key reason for this is that he screen-tested for the role at the same time Daniel Craig did. Part of the reason that he didn’t get the role was the fact that he was deemed too young, but now at 36, it could be his time to shine. He has proven his abilities in the action genre through playing Superman in Man of Steel and Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher, and, much like Bond, this is a major role and compliment of the highest order. We got an insight into what Cavill would be like as a spy with 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and we know that he has the presence and charisma to suit the role. He would be very different from Craig and a return to the smooth-talking Bond, but perhaps a fresh angle is what the franchise needs. We also think Cavill would make a superb Hercules in the MCU, but that’s a story for another day.
2. Idris Elba
The name that has dominated conversations of who could play the next Bond, many believe that Idris Elba is the perfect man for the job and should be the first black actor to become 007. While there are some fans opposed, a huge majority are backing Elba, who certainly possesses the suave and charismatic qualities associated with Bond. This is evident through playing Stringer Bell in The Wire, but more notably as the title role of British crime drama Luther. Although humbled, the man himself is hesitant—“I just don’t want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond so if I played him I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.” There is no doubt he would excel in the role and it is 2015, but he understandably has reservations.
1. Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy has exploded in popularity over the past ten years, and he seems to be the natural choice as he ticks every box and could even take the role in a new direction. He possesses the best qualities of all the best Bonds in that he is suave and charming, yet simultaneously tough, gritty and has edge. Importantly, everything he does he seems to ooze coolness, which is crucial for any Bond, and he seems to be adored by both men and women. He has plenty of experience playing a range of roles in the action genre, all of which he has excelled in, but he also is an actor of the highest caliber and commands a huge amount of respect. Many would agree that if you had to name an actor that embodies James Bond, it is Tom Hardy. However, Mad Max sequels may tie up the 42-year-old for the foreseeable future.