Who Could Replace Daniel Craig as the Next Bond? From Sam Heughan to Priyanka Chopra
Daniel Craig has long won over audiences with his rugged physique, beguiling allure, and ability to dominate a tuxedo—all essentials for the James Bond fit kit. But the Spectre actor, 50, who announced he’d be completing his tenure as the coveted British agent in next summer’s 25th franchise film, is handing over his weapons to a few notable contenders.
Since Sean Connery’s adaptation of Ian Fleming’s character in the 1960s, the Bond prestige has only grown throughout the decades, starring Hollywood icons like Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan. Though Craig was the first on-screen “Blond Bond,” the next 007 could cleave even more traditions—from Charlize Theron to Idris Elba, click ahead to see who could be set to take on the master of stealth.
The first Scottish contender since Connery’s performance, Outlander star Sam Heughan, 38, earned a wave of fan support following his role in the upcoming action comedy, The Spy Who Dumped Me, starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. The blue-eyed heartthrob, who starred in 2007’s A Very British Sex Scandal, showed off his inner Bond in a series of Instagram posts, including a celebratory selfie passing his motorcycle test—a possible stuntman indeed.
The Dunkirk and Mad Max star, 40, long rumored to be the next potential 007, has a significant backer for the cause—a former Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan. "I think Tom Hardy could be a good Bond. I'd be happy to see him do it. You need an actor who can put a bit of wiggle into it—that's what makes Bond," Brosnan recently told Esquire. And Hardy has certainly proven himself.
A box office luminary, Hardy’s stealth and versatility stretch from his one-man film Locke (2013) to double-leading roles in Legend (2015) and the Bond preview-esque character in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010).
Rumors of the Luther star, 45, picking up Craig’s ammunition first began during the Sony Pictures leak in 2014, when an email from senior executive Amy Pascal allegedly revealed she wanted him to star as the next British secret agent.
Though at the time Idris Elba seemed excited about the prospect, saying he would “Absolutely” accept the role if it was offered to him on a Reddit AMA, the chances of The Wire actor starring as the first Black Bond slimmed as he announced the return of the Luther series in June.
The leading Quantico lady proved she’s more than capable of packing a punch as one of the top FBI recruits in the hit drama series. Priyanka Chopra, 36, caught fans’ interest in being the first potential female 007 during an interview on the Late Late Show with James Corden in 2017, after the host asked whether she’d accept the equally coveted role of the “Bond girl,” recently taken on by Léa Seydoux and Vesper Lynd.
"I've always said I would prefer to play Bond," Chopra said. "I think I hope, in my lifetime, I get to see such iconic parts be played by women in a genderless [way]—even if it's not me,” the Baywatch actress said.
No stranger to the risky spy business, Charlize Theron’s jaw-dropping performance as the sensual yet stone-cold agent in Atomic Blonde (2017) has left fans reeling in support of the Academy Award winning actress.
The South African star, 42, who, according to The Hollywood Reporter, did 98 percent of her own stunts and fight scenes in the mystery thriller, hasn’t ruled out being next in line for the Bond throne.
“You know, I don't have a feeling about it one way or the other,” the Tully actress told Yahoo in May, “I love the idea that people are thinking outside the box.”
Who better to play a death-defying secret agent than Superman himself? The tall, square-jawed hunk, 35, has certainly come close. At just 22, Henry Cavill reached the final call-backs for the role of Bond before being narrowly defeated by Craig in 2005.
Since then, however, Cavill’s film record almost resembles a build-up to the distinguished position, playing spies in both The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015) and more recently, an agent in the last of the hit American action franchise, Mission: Impossible—Fallout (2018).
Tom Hiddleston, 37, has drawn support to step into 007’s shoes through his critically acclaimed performance as Jonathan Pine, the charming spy in BBC’s hit drama series, The Night Manager.
The Thor villain addressed the rumors in 2016 with certain skepticism, remaining excited nonetheless. “I don’t think that announcement is coming, but I am very gratified to hear the enthusiasm. Your guess is as good as mine, to be honest,” he told Cinemablend.
Since his debut as a Revolutionary War hero in the British drama series Poldark, Aidan Turner has gained a legion of female fans, securing the infatuating trait of the 007 persona. The Irish actor, 35, wouldn’t be the first Bond to hit the big-screen franchise after a TV-built career, following in Brosnan and Moore’s steps. Though The Hobbit star played a dwarf in the hit trilogy, his tall, fierce demeanor has shot him to the top of the contender list.