It’s crazy how each new actor who portrays the infallible and ever charming James Bond seems to redefine the role.
Iconic mainstays like Sean Connery and Roger Moore made the role famous. Connery was the first Bond to hit theaters, while Moore still goes down as the longest tenured Bond (7 films).
Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby had brief stays as Agent 007, while modern takes from Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig gave the franchise new life from 1995 to the present.
It’s been a historic run, but the role that once made previous unknowns into mega stars is destined to be handed to a new actor in the not too distant future. Craig has suggested a planned exit from the franchise in the past, but it’s become clear that his next installment (2019’s Bond 25) will finally be his last.
That’s a bittersweet revelation. Every age has their favorite Bond actor and film, but it’s quite arguably the most recent Bond has been the franchise’s best ever.
Craig has embodied what the role demands – wit, humor, style and bravado – but the time has come for someone else to carry the torch. The big question every entertainment betting site out there is wondering, of course, is who will it be?
James Bond Odds
Taylor Smith took a look at the top actors that could take over as James Bond back in September, but things have changed over the last few months.
Actors that may have been realistic candidates have moved on to other projects, while more names have had their hat tossed into the ring.
BetOnline is one of those aforementioned entertainment betting sites and they’re already handing out odds for a long list of candidates to be the next James Bond.
Last anyone saw, Tom Hardy was the leading favorite (+350) to take over the James Bond franchise. The only trouble for bettors is that he’s not alone:
- Tom Hardy (+350)
- James Norton (+350)
- Jack Huston (+450)
- Idris Elba (+600)
- Tom Hiddleston (+650)
- Aidan Turner (+800)
- Michael Fassbender (+1000)
- Henry Cavill (+1600)
- Andrew Lincoln (+2000)
- Damian Lewis (+2500)
- Ryan Gosling (+2500)
- Dan Stevens (+2800)
- Jamie Dornan (+4000)
- Cillian Murphy (+4000)
- Hugh Jackman (+5000)
- Any Female (+1000)
The Original List
As I touched on earlier, this isn’t necessarily new material – especially if you’re only looking at the favorites. Taylor Smith noted months ago that the likes of Hardy, Elba, Hiddleston and Fassbender were legit candidates.
All of these actors have the demeanor, swagger, style and popularity to crush the role. Even better is the fact that they’re all British. Considering Bond is traditionally played by Brits, it makes sense to stick with actors who either can deliver elite British accents, or are in fact British, themselves.
But there’s not much of a point in rehashing these options. Hardy remains the obvious favorite for so many reasons and you certainly need to consider a powerhouse actor like Elba. I’m not as high on Hiddleston or Fassbender, however.
As Smith noted in his previous James Bond replacement write-up, Fassbender isn’t really interested in taking the role on. Hiddleston is a sly Brit and he’s played some powerful roles, but he comes off a bit too weasely to deliver in this spot.
Maybe that’s just me, but of the first group, I’d really only be willing to wager on Hardy and Elba.
Of course, there was also X-Files star, Gillian Anderson. Not listed in the updated James Bond odds, the woman famous for playing Agent Scully could be filed under the “any female” spot, which carries interesting +1000 odds.
I don’t see it, though. Anderson is almost 50 years old and while she’s British and completely capable of nailing this role, she’s not the first female you think of when considering a switch from a male-dominated role to a new spin with a female lead.
Honestly, the options are endless if you’re simply looking at powerful actresses who could deliver in an action-packed blockbuster like James Bond. Here are a few big names that could make some sense:
- Emily Blunt
- Zoe Saldana
- Samantha Morton
- Carey Mulligan
- Emma Watson
- Natalie Dormer
- Brie Larson
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Anne Hathaway
- Alicia Vikander
- Natalie Portman
- Saoirse Ronan
- Rooney Mara
- Marion Cotillard
- Ronda Rousey
- Keira Knightley
- Rosario Dawson
I’m just spitballing’ here and the reality is this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. I’m admittedly not restricting the female James Bond search to just British options, either.
Either way, this is a mighty fine list. Saldana, Blunt, Vikander, Mara, Portman, Knightley and Ronan (Hanna, anyone?) are the ones that stand out the most for me. They’re all powerful women who have done convincing jobs in action films in the past and could easily fulfill the shows of a female Bond character.
These other female leads are simply talented and/or may have the action chops needed for stunts and the role as a whole.
The main point here is there are a lot of options and considering the James Bond odds at BetOnline only offer one slot (any female – +1000), it’s a fairly viable flier bet.
5 Most Interesting Bets
For me personally, the next Bond – whether it’s male or female – should offer a total reboot of the franchise.
That has me thinking along the same lines of Fassbender, who thinks it might make more sense to have a younger star put their own stamp on a brand new edition of James Bond.
In that same breath, I don’t want to rehash the top options that Smith already touched on back in September. With all of that said, here’s my favorite 5 James Bond replacement options, per the latest odds at BetOnline:
James Norton (+350)
If you want a James Bond that looks the part, look no further than Norton, who has the chiseled good looks of an international spy.
Norton has played coy about the potential of joining on with the James Bond franchise and he has some big projects he’s working on, but a recent interview made it sound like it’s something he would have a tough time turning down:
Henry Cavill (+1600)
Can you imagine Superman trading in the cape and tights for a gun and tuxedo? I sure can. Cavill is even more chiseled and badass than Norton, yet his odds could return elite value.
On top of that, Cavill already flashed his agent-esque abilities in an impressive run in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. There are few actors that have the looks, swagger and experience Cavill does for this role, and to top it off, he’s a Brit.
The only knock here is Cavill is pretty well known and rather busy. On top of his role in upcoming Superman and Justice League films, he’s got other projects that could keep him from such a huge commitment.
Dan Stevens (+2800)
Ditto for Stevens, who delivered a mesmerizing and layered performance in season one of Legion recently. He’s obviously going to be tied down to this rising series, but it’s fair to say he’s yet to truly break out as a huge star.
Stevens flexed his muscle as a harrowing badass in The Guest and it’d be interesting if he can incorporate that same chilling confidence into a new rendition of 007. His appearance in that 2014 film was reminiscent of Daniel Craig, which could make for a seamless transition.
More importantly, Stevens is one of the younger actors on the board on BetOnline and is also British.
Jamie Dornan (+4000)
It’s odd that a guy who played a serial killer and rich sex addict could be perfect for the next James Bond, but in Dornan’s case, that might be accurate.
Best known for his turn as Christian Grey, Dornan has also taken on the role of a soldier in the underrated Siege of Jadotville.
Through it all, the Irishman has displayed impressive range. Add in his dark features and good looks, and he may just be the perfect candidate to carry the James Bond torch.
Hugh Jackman (+5000)
Last, but certainly not least, it’s tough to ignore Hugh Jackman at staggering +5000 odds.
The actor once said he’d have to consider taking on the role of James Bond if presented to him, while the Aussie has certainly proven in the past (Wolverine, Australia, Van Helsing) that he has no problem playing tough guys.
I’m not totally sold on Jackman’s ability to be quite as slick as Craig was, but he has the acting chops and range to pull it off if he wants the gig.
Who Will Be the Next James Bond?
There is a lot of intrigue across the board. The makers of James Bond could take this chance at a new era as the perfect time to broaden the franchise’s horizons. That could mean casting a female lead, bringing in an African American actor like Elba or going down a different road they’ve yet to broach.
I’m not sure they’re ready to remake the wheel here, however, and where there’s smoke, there is generally fire. It’s true that Bond has been made up of mostly unknowns in the past, but something tells me that all roads ultimately lead back to Tom Hardy.
Hardy has been a burgeoning star for years now and he’s been rather selective with his work. That hasn’t stopped him from rebooting the Mad Max franchise, birthing a new Bane in the latest Batman trilogy or dabbling in television via Taboo, however.
It seems Hardy goes where the good times are, while he seems to genuinely love acting and appreciates where he’s gotten to this point.
As huge of a star as he already is, playing Bond successfully would not only attach him to one of the greatest film franchises ever and increase his reach in Hollywood, but it’d also put him in elite company.
Whether Hardy sees joining the James Bond franchise as a short-term project remains to be determined, but the versatile actor absolutely has the look and acting ability to perfect the role.
Hardy feels like the easy pick and he offers the lowest upside, but he also feels like the correct pick. Provided he puts himself out there and risks a jinx, it wouldn’t at all be shocking to have him officially dubbed the new Bond lead man in the near future.