SPECTRE opens in North America this weekend having already broken a lot of records in Europe. But during some of the interviews for the film Daniel Craig seemed done with the franchise. Though SPECTRE is getting mixed reviews, it does work as a possible end to Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond. If Daniel Craig somehow gets out of his Bond-contract (at least one film left, I believe), then who should replace the actor?
SPECTRE isn’t the film every critic and reviewer is obsessing over, but it is not a bad film. In fact, I actually really loved the film, in spite of its flaws. And even though SPECTRE might ‘only’ get between 55-65% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is not the worst film Daniel Craig has done in the franchise.
- Casino Royale (2006) – 81 on Metacritic (38 Reviews).
- Quantum of Solace (2008) – 58 on Metacritic (38 Reviews).
- Skyfall (2012) – 81 on Metacritic (43 Reviews).
- SPECTRE (2015) – 60 on Metacritic (44 Reviews).
In fact, as a whole, Daniel Craig’s run as Bond has been remarkably well-received. Now the man that people didn’t want as Bond in the first place is being mentioned in the same breath as Sean Connery when discussing the best Bond ever.
Whether or not Craig continues after his contract is up, leaves Vodka Martinis behind him after SPECTRE, or drives away into the sunset after his fifth film – someone will replace Daniel Craig. There are a couple of ways this thing can go, so let’s talk about the realistic options and the criteria for the next James Bond:
- Gender: Male. Who knows, maybe ‘Jasmine’ or ‘Jamie Bond’ some day – but probably not any time soon.
- Age: 30-40. Sean Connery debuted as Bond at the age of 32, but Roger Moore debuted at the age of 46… Still, the pattern says that you should either be in your mid-to-late thirties or very, very early forties to be considered. That is, if you are to appear in more than one or two films.
- Nationality: From the British Commonwealth. Look, some day we might see an American James Bond, but I doubt it’ll be any time soon. We’ve only ever had James Bonds from the Commonwealth (1 from Scotland, 1 from Ireland, 1 from Wales, 1 from Australia, and 2 from England), so, yeah, the next Bond will probably have British roots. But hey, Canada is a member of the British Commonwealth!
- Look: You need to be able to wear a tuxedo, that’s basically it.
- Skill: You need the action gene in the 21st Century: there’s a reason why the Craig-Era Bond has switched to the Jason Bourne-action style – it sells.
- Experience: Whoever plays James Bond in the 21st Century will have to be comfortable in the limelight, which does require some experience. Still, while Daniel Craig had been in Layer Cake and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, you cannot say that he was a household name prior to Casino Royale.
Before I’ll give my ten picks (ranked), let me preface it by saying that I don’t mind Idris Elba – or Damian Lewis, for that matter – but the age doesn’t fit. Damian Lewis is 44 right now and Idris Elba is 43, and thus they will (probably) be too old for the role once Craig is done, and the next movie starts filming. Remember, you don’t just play Bond for one film (unless you are George Lazenby or David Niven).
- Michael Fassbender (Age: 38 – Nationality: German-Irish): Fassbender is one of the very best actors out there. Make no mistake, he would be a great Bond. He looks great, has the action gene, and has experience with huge franchises. It’s an easy choice, but it would be a good choice.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor (Age: 38 – Nationality: English): Here’s another solid choice. Academy Award Nominated Ejiofor is at the top of his game these years, and Bond would be a natural step for him. He’s just getting started with a new franchise (Doctor Strange, but not as the titular character), but he’s got a lot of room for a franchise like this.
- Luke Evans (Age: 36 – Nationality: Welsh): Evans is a good actor, with the action gene – but he has a problem. So far, his franchises haven’t worked. The Hobbit-trilogy was definitely not flawless. Meanwhile, Dracula Untold and The Three Musketeers led to nothing huge for him. Still, I’m pretty sure he would work as James Bond – a franchise that wouldn’t fall flat.
- Tom Hardy (Age: 38 – Nationality: English): Strong actor, with franchise experience as well. Sure, some might argue that he’s too rough for Bond, but I would argue that he cleans up nice. Just look at Inception.
- Dominic Cooper (Age: 37 – Nationality: English): Howard Stark and Ian Fleming. This guy is ready for something huge. I really don’t think that enough people are talking about him as a serious option, and that sucks. This guy definitely has the look.
- Henry Cavill (Age: 32 – Nationality: British): I have Cavill on the list because he could work, but not because I desperately want him as Agent 007. He isn’t an impressive Superman just yet, but I think he’ll get there. He has already played an American spy in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., but that didn’t go so well.
- David Oyelowo (Age: 39 – Nationality: English): One of the most underrated actors out there, I’m just waiting for his first franchise – this could be it.
- Tom Hiddleston (Age: 34 – Nationality: English): The most charming English actor you can possibly imagine. He might not have the right physique for Agent 007, but he makes up for it in sheer charm.
- Colin Farrell (Age: 39 – Nationality: Irish): This would be a different take on Bond, for sure. But I kind of want to see it. And if you say he’s a bad actor, then you’ve definitely never seen Saving Mr. Banks.
- Ryan Gosling (Age: 35 – Nationality: Canadian): Long shot, sure… But. He’s Canadian! Why not?
Who would you like to see replace Daniel Craig once he is done? Sound off in the comments.
I’m Jeffrey Rex