For the past few years, there had been multiple rumors that Daniel Craig was done with James Bond. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for fans, not knowing what the future of the franchise will be. Last week, we finally have confirmation that Daniel Craig will not be reprising Ian Fleming’s famous agent when it was reported that he turned down a $68 million deal for another film. Now everyone’s biggest question is, “Who’s next?” The character has stayed mostly consistent, but the actors’ performances have been vastly different, ranging from super serious (Sean Connery) to not serious enough(Roger Moore). The biggest contender so far has been Tom Hiddleston, who certainly would do the role justice. But he’s not the only actor capable of the job; these 10 actors could also wear the 007 title with pride.
10. John Boyega
Until last year, John Boyega was a low-key star, only having a few roles on his filmography. However, his stardom skyrocketed after he got a part in pop culture’s most anticipated film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He’s the youngest star on this list, but he has already shown Bond’s biggest qualities: smart, sexy and tough. Because of Star Wars’ huge influence, him being the 007 agent would help bring new fans to the franchise and start diversifying the series.
9. Sebastian Stan
Sebastian Stan needs more recognition than a hypnotized super soldier in the Captain America films. He brought not only entertaining action scenes but also dense emotional moments when it came to his state of mind. Stan sports the brooding personality extremely well—especially since he transitioned from a playboy-esque character in Captain America: The First Avenger. Bond has never been the most bubbly person and Stan can use his experience as Bucky Barnes to continue the dark path that Craig was on. It has been rumored that Bucky could possibly take over Chris Evans’ role as the American superhero, but if Evans doesn’t want to give up the role just yet, Stan should consider the 007 agent.
8. Michael Fassbender
Can anyone be more suave than Michael Fassbender? Whether he’s the protagonist or villain, he manages to sweep us off our feet. He pushes himself to extremes in his craft and has been many personas from a sex addict to a superhero. Soon, he’ll have a shot at leading his own big budget film in Assassin’s Creed. And if that doesn’t branch into a franchise, he should think about taking on Britain’s most famous agent.
7. Hayley Atwell
Sure, the title of this article might be “10 Best Actors to Play James Bond,” but it would be fascinating to see a woman take on the role. Since Hayley Atwell already plays a quippy agent on Agent Carter, she has already proven that she has the chops to pull it off. Atwell is huge among Marvel and Doctor Who fans (they heavily campaigned for her to be the next doctor), so having her star would bring in those fans to the franchise. Also, it would be riveting to see a woman take on a traditionally male role. We haven’t had many female action stars, and it’s about time we see more.
6. Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy is easily one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood right now. He battled monster trucks in Mad Max: Fury Road and took on Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, so he’s no stranger to the franchise world. He may seem more rough and gritty than Bond actually is, but he’s proven to us that he can play the agent type in Legend. Even though Reggie and Ron Kray were technically gangsters, he played those role with charm and class. Even more impressive, he managed to play against himself as twin brothers. If he can take on two agent personas, he should be able to take on one just fine.
5. Luke Evans
Luke Evans has been a fan favorite in several big roles over the years. He has been in multiple big budget films including The Fast and Furious and The Hobbit franchises. However, it doesn’t seem like he has found his breakthrough role, despite having those big names on his résumé. In 2017, he’ll have his biggest role yet as the villainous Gaston in Disney’s live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, so hopefully that earns him some name recognition.
But what makes Evans qualified is the darkness he brings to roles. Fans praised Daniel Craig for his dark take on Bond and a seamless transition in personalities would be an interesting approach. If the studios want to take the risk of staying with a dark tone, then Evans would be a great choice.
4. Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill was in the running for Bond against Daniel Craig but lost out on the role because he was too young. Over a decade later, now would be a perfect time for him to try again. We all know that he wants to be Bond; he practically tried out for it in The Man From U.N.C.L.E, combining both the ruggedness of Daniel Craig and the playboy attitude of Sean Connery. Even though the film was a financial failure, it showcased Cavill’s abilities as a potential Bond. And with his run as Superman not going so well, it might be time for a new franchise.
3. Dan Stevens
Dan Stevens has had quite the history with the James Bond book series. He has voiced him in over 34 audiobooks, clearly illustrating the suave voice that Bond needs. Stevens is most known for being a proper lord in Downton Abbey, but The Guest showed a whole different side to him. His mysterious personality was sexy, threatening and powerful—all traits that Bond gives off. If the studios wanted to continue down the dark route that Craig paved, then Stevens would have the experience to do so.
2. Richard Armitage
Richard Armitage had a successful television career before landing the role of Thorin in The Hobbit trilogy. It had been heavily rumored that he would be the next James Bond, but, unfortunately, was denied by him. Nonetheless, fans still love the idea especially since they have seen him play an agent in BBC’s Spooks. His loud, commanding voice would be perfect to deliver those iconic lines. However, at 44 years old, it’s questionable whether he could continue the franchise for over a decade. Most of the Bonds started in their late 30’s (Sean Connery was the youngest at 32), so Armitage might be too old to keep up with multiple films. Regardless, he would be one of the most realistic picks.
1. Idris Elba
Fans have been rooting for Idris Elba to be the new James Bond years before Spectre was even released. He has more than proved that he can lose himself in any role, whether it be a child soldier general or a drug dealer. Fans think it’s time for a black James Bond, but that could be what has turned Elba away from the part. He has said that he doesn’t want to be known as just “the black James Bond.” While he has a valid point, it would help break stereotypes and create a more diverse universe—something that the series hasn’t done a great job with. If you don’t think that Elba would be right for the part, watch him in BBC’s Luther—you’ll soon be convinced.