Who will be the next James Bond? Who's in the running?

Who will be the next Bond? Daniel Craig in No Time to Die
Who will be the next James Bond following Daniel Craig's exit in No Time To Die? (Image credit: MGM)

Who will be the next James Bond? 

Daniel Craig was the last person to step into 007's shoes, but his time as Ian Fleming's globetrotting super-spy is now well and truly over, as No Time to Die was his fifth and final film in the franchise.

Naturally, Daniel Craig's departure from the role has meant everyone's trying to guess who the next Bond star will be. Earlier this year, it was reported that the next Bond would likely be a younger version of the character, but those rumors appear to have been quashed thanks to comments from Bond producer Michael G. Wilson.

At an event held in celebration of Bond's 60th anniversary, Wilson stressed that the casting process still hasn't started—"no matter what others tell you"—and ruled out younger actors, stating "we've tried looking at younger people in the past. But trying to visualize it doesn't work.

"Remember, Bond's already a veteran. He's had some experience. He's a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He's probably been in the SAS or something. He isn't some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That's why it works for a thirty-something", Wilson added. (quotes via Deadline (opens in new tab)).

Going off what Wilson has said, we're not closer to finding out the next actor who'll be the next person to properly take on the 007 mantle. However, a new frontrunner has just emerged in the race: read on to learn more about them and plenty more stars who could be hitting the big screen as the next James Bond before much longer.

Ten stars who could be our next James Bond

Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Aaron Taylor-Johnson attends the photo call for Bullet Train in August 2022 in Kyoto, Japan.

Aaron has emerged as a surprise new entry to the list. (Image credit: Jun Sato/WireImage via Getty)

According to the latest rumors, Aaron Taylor-Johnson has emerged as the new favorite to be the next James Bond, according to a new story from The Sun (opens in new tab).

The Sun's report claims that Taylor-Johnson has taken part in a secret audition and that he has impressed the Bond bosses at Pinewood Studios. Their source stated: "Aaron went for a screen test to be the next Bond in September and producers and Barbara loved him. He is now one of the front-runners."

Taylor-Johnson is no stranger to a bit of action; he's likely best known for his roles in the 2014 Godzilla movie, as Quicksilver in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the main star of Kick-Ass and, most recently, as the snappily-dressed mercenary Tangerine from Bullet Train. He's also attached as the lead for Kraven the Hunter, one of Sony's many upcoming Spider-Man projects.

Idris Elba

next James Bond - Idris Elba and Sabrina Elba attend the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Awards

Idris Elba and Sabrina Elba attending the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Awards. (Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

A report from The Sun (opens in new tab) suggested that Idris Elba could be back in the running to be the next James Bond after it was reported in January (opens in new tab) that he was "part of the conversation" again.

According to their source, the discussion surrounding Idris Elba picked back up after he ranked highly in some secret market research. They said: "talks surrounding him playing the lead have started again as producers realized how popular he would be after carrying out secret market research.

“He ranked highly among the diverse group of movie buffs invited to participate in it. They didn’t want to see him as a nemesis — they want him as the hero.”

Despite being one of the potential frontrunners for a while now, it was reported in August that he has 'walked away' from the role, with a source claiming Idris 'wants to create something for himself' (via Metro (opens in new tab)), rather than take on the Bond mantle. 

Bond boss Barbara Broccoli has responded to reports that Idris Elba had pulled himself out of the race to be the next Bond. In a Variety (opens in new tab) article, Broccoli said: "The thing is, it's [casting] is going to be a couple of years off. And when we cast Bond, it's a 10, 12-year commitment. So he's probably thinking, 'Do I really want that thing? Not everybody wants to do that. It was hard enough getting [Daniel Craig to do it], with fellow 007 producer Michael G. Wilson adding: "And he was in his early 30s at the time!"

Even if he's not going to be our next Bond, we'll still be seeing plenty more of Idris Elba soon. He's due to appear in a number of projects including the Luther movie coming next Spring and as part of the upcoming Apple TV Plus series, Hijack. He was recently seen both in George Miller's fantasy movie Three Thousand Years of Longing and as the grizzled hero of the survival flick, Beast.

Regé-Jean Page

next James Bond - Rege-Jean Page at the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Awards

Regé-Jean Page attending the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Awards. (Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty)

Whilst Regé-Jean Page is probably most famous for playing the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton, he isn't just limited to period dramas.

Although Page has downplayed rumors (opens in new tab) that he was in the running to be the next James Bond in the past, he's still one of the favorites to play the role after Daniel Craig. 

One of Page's upcoming projects might well be a great test to see if he's got what it takes to be the next James Bond. He's set to follow in the footsteps of the third Bond, Sir Roger Moore, and star as Simon Templar in a reboot of the British spy thriller series, The Saint. 

He's also recently appeared alongside Chris Evans, No Time to Die guest star Ana de Armas, and Ryan Gosling in The Gray Man, a Netflix thriller from Noah Hawley that saw ex-CIA operative Court Gentry (Gosling) being hunted down by his former colleagues after he's betrayed by his own agency.

Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy at the Venom: Let There Be Carnage premiere.

Tom Hardy at the London launch of Venom: Let There Be Carnage on September 14. (Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Tom Hardy has consistently been one of the frontrunners to play Bond next, and it's easy to see why he might be an obvious choice. 

He's no stranger to filming action set-pieces having appeared in the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, and it's easy to picture him picking up where Craig left off.

With Craig's era at an end, it's likely that the 007 producers will want to try and shake up the franchise a little bit going forward. Tom has a very strong background in crime drama— thanks in no small part to his key role in Peaky Blinders— so he could be a great choice if they want a darker, grittier tone in the next movie.

Henry Cavill

next James Bond - Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill at the World Premiere of The Witcher in December 2019. (Image credit: Dave Benett/WireImage via Getty)

Henry Cavill is currently most recognizable as the DC Universe's Superman or Geralt in The Witcher. Although these are probably his most notable performances, Cavill is no stranger to espionage action. 

He was a key player in Mission: Impossible – Fallout where he partnered with legendary action star Tom Cruise as SAC operative, August Walker. He also appeared in Guy Ritchie's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie and is set to star in Matthew Vaughn's upcoming ensemble spy film, Argylle.

What's more, Henry Cavill is definitely up for stepping into the Bond franchise if he can. He regularly shares how much he would love to be involved in the Bond franchise as either a hero or villain, and he even auditioned for the role before it went to Daniel Craig! 

Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner poses for photos at Wimbledon 2019.

Aidan Turner (Image credit: Karwai Tang/ Getty )

Poldark heartthrob Aidan Turner is another popular choice for the next James Bond. The Irish actor is well known for his lead role in the BBC period drama, though he's also well known for his turn as Kili, one of the dwarves in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy.

Turner is a few years younger than some of the other frontrunners, which could make him a popular choice as the Bond bosses will likely be looking for another actor to stay with one of cinema's longest-running franchises for several movies. 

Turner rose significantly in bookmarker's rankings in April this year, and he was last on our screens in The Suspect, a new thriller from the team behind Line of Duty and Vigil. 

Suranne Jones

next James Bond - Suranne Jones

Suranne Jones at the BFI Southbank Premiere of Vigil in London, Aug. 2021. (Image credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

If James Bond goes the way of Doctor Who and the team opts for a female Bond next, Suranne Jones could well be the perfect fit for the role. She has been bookies' favorite to be the first female Bond in the past, and a quick look across her body of work explains why.

The former Coronation Street star wowed British viewers in the BBC drama, Doctor Foster. These shows aside, it's her role in the tense, twisty police drama, Vigil that makes her a solid option for a female Bond. 

Suranne Jones has shown that she thrives in dramatic, tense scenarios. Amy Silva's investigation in Vigil brought Suranne Jones' character into conflict with the British Security Service... maybe she'd be just as comfortable working alongside them at MI6?

Lashana Lynch

Next James Bond - Lashana Lynch at the World Premiere for No Time to Die.

Lashana Lynch at the World Premiere of No Time to Die at London's Royal Albert Hall on Sept. 28, 2021. (Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty)

Lashana Lynch has already had a chance to prove her potential as the next Bond because she is a major player in No Time To Die

Ahead of the film's November 2020 release date, Lashana Lynch was revealed to be taking on the 007 designation, making her the first female and first Black actor to have the iconic codename. Her character, Nomi received this honor sometime after Bond drove off with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) after the events of Spectre and went into retirement.

Whilst we still don't know whether a female Bond could be on the cards, Lashana Lynch's appearance as the new 007 in No Time To Die makes her a strong candidate for Craig's replacement. 

Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson attending the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 11th Annual Governors Awards in 2019.

Robert Pattinson attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 11th Annual Governors Awards in 2019. (Image credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Getty)

You might not think that a Twilight star would be up for consideration as the next James Bond, but Christopher Nolan's latest blockbuster Tenet proved that Robert Pattinson would be right at home in a Bond movie. 

The mind-bending spy thriller required Pattinson and his co-star John David Washington to undergo firearms training, and Pattinson also did a fair bit of stunt driving during production to ensure he could bring his character, CIA handler Neil, to life. He'll just have to swap the vodka tonics Neil drank for vodka martinis! 

He's also become the latest actor to don the Batsuit, as he stepped into the lead role for Matt Reeves' The Batman (and is back on board for more Batman action in sequels beyond). Pattinson is an extremely versatile actor, and his turn to blockbuster action movies could well have boosted his chances of being the next James Bond.

Richard Madden

next James Bond - Richard Madden

Richard Madden at the D23 Expo in 2019. (Image credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images)

Richard Madden is thought to have been in the running for the next James Bond ever since he impressed as Police Sergeant David Budd in the gripping BBC drama, Bodyguard.

Elsewhere, the Scottish actor is best known for playing Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, a just figure cruelly betrayed along with his with at the infamous "Red Wedding".  

More recently, Richard Madden has become a Hollywood favorite, featuring in Rocketman, 1917 and he's now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as one of the Eternals. As if that wasn't enough, his upcoming role in Citadel, an Amazon Studios spy thriller, is a perfect training ground for the next James Bond.

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Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.