James Bond is one of the most famous and coveted roles in cinema, and at present no one knows who will fill the 007 shows that Daniel Craig has left behind.
Craig took over as James Bond in 2006 when the franchise was rebooted with Casino Royale and went on to star in four further James Bond films; Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre, before bowing out last year in the pandemic delayed No Time To Die.
But who will take over the role now that Craig has gone? Over the years James Bond has been played by some iconic actors who have made the role their own from Sean Connery and Roger Moore to George Lazenby, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton.
The producers don’t seem in a rush to announce the next Bond actor, which of course simply fuels speculation even more amongst movie fans, the media and the bookmakers who have been touting a lot of names associated with the role.
There has long been speculation that producers may take this opportunity to mix things up with the franchise, and indeed, might even follow the lead of Doctor Who and change the sex of 007, which has led the bookmakers to include a number of female names high up in the betting.
Who are the favourites to be the next James Bond?
There are a few names that have been consistently at the top of the bookmakers’ odds to take on the role for several years now.
Two of the favourites that have been mentioned time and again in the same breath are The Witcher and Superman: Man of Steel himself Henry Cavill and Bridgerton breakout star Rege-Jean Page.
Other names that seem to always be there or there about in the lists include Tom Hardy and James Norton as well as film and TV star Chiwetel Ejofor, who has recently been seen in The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Scottish actor Jack Lowden who starred in 2016 BBC adaptation of War and Peace has more recently begun appearing higher up on bookmakers lists alongside names that continue to recur in the top ten such as Game of Thrones star Richard Madden, one-time Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens and Luther actor Idris Elba.
Michael Fassbender, Luke Evans and Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy are also quoted as having a good chance in the race for 007 by many of the major bookmakers.
In recent months former Doctor Who star Matt Smith saw his odds slashed in connection with the role after his internationally well-received performance in House of the Dragon. And some bookies also still have David Tennant as an outsider for the role. The Scottish actor revealed this year that he had been told he had been on the list for the part when David Craig was being chosen – although he admitted he didn’t know how long the list was and how far down he might have been!
And fans of time travelling adventures will be pleased to see that Sam Heughan, star of Outlander continues to be quoted among some of the favourites by bookmakers weighing up the runners and the riders for the famous spy role.
Which female stars are being connected to the James Bond role?
Relatively short odds have been offered on a number of female actors for the James Bond role over the last year or so.
One name that continues to be mentioned is Lashana Lynch, who – spoiler alert – takes up the 007 number in the most recent movie. However, whether that means she will continue as the star of the franchise remains unclear.
She told Empire: “I signed up for one film and I don’t know if they entirely know where it’s gonna go.”
“I genuinely don’t know anything, but it’s exciting to wonder!”
Most bookmakers don’t currently have Lynch in the top 20 actors in the running for the role, so it appears they’re not massively confident right now, but then again do they really know?
Other female names that many bookmakers have in the top 50 stars include T’Nia Miller who has starred in Years and Years and Sex Education, Doctor Foster and Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones and Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller Bridge.
And, we mentioned Doctor Who earlier – but one name that has emerged at 50/1 on the William Hill list is that of Karen Gillan. Gillan has come a long way since leaving the TARDIS starring in the Marvel Universe as well as a host of big Hollywood movies and independent films. William Hill have her at 50/1 to become 007 – now that would be another big role for her filmography.
Bond speculation continues…