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Bond. James Bond.
You can hear the music, picture the suits, the cars, the explosions, the girls, the villains, the martinis, and the silhouette.
But the next James Bond? That is still a mystery as the 5th-largest grossing film franchise ever at over $7 billion seeks a new lead for its 28th film and beyond. Daniel Craig ended his spectacular run with No Time to Die, a 2021 release.
Bond movies are usually more frequent than leap years, so we should be getting some news fairly soon on what the plans are for the next Bond.
Fortunately, BetOnline is a top offshore sportsbook that already has odds on who will win the popular role. Some of the choices are downright silly like Donald Trump (+50000) and Tom Brady (+5000), who might make good villains in a Bond movie if they played a slightly modified version of themselves.
What can the history of James Bond tell us about who might be a good candidate to replace Craig as the next one?
A Look Back
We look back at the 7 actors who have played James Bond in film and offer our analysis on some of the more intriguing names with their odds to become the 8th 007.
Sean Connery (7 Bond Films)
The OG Bond, Scottish actor Sean Connery was 32 when Dr. No was released in 1962, turning the spy character created by Ian Fleming into a hero on the big screen.
Connery’s career was just picking up waves in 1962 as he also starred in the war epic The Longest Day. But playing Bond, which he did a total of 7 times, made him a star as he got to enjoy some of the best scripts in the series, including From Russia with Love and Goldfinger.
David Niven (1 Bond Film)
British actor David Niven was Ian Fleming’s original choice to play Bond before Connery was cast. Niven was already in his 50s at the time, and he was well known for his roles in classic films such as Wuthering Heights, Separate Tables, and A Matter of Life and Death (highly recommended).
Niven’s only movie as Bond was the 1967 version of Casino Royale, which was not made by the Eon Production company that made 25 of the 27 Bond movies. This Casino Royale starred the legendary Peter Sellers and was a spoof of spy films.
George Lazenby (1 Bond Film)
Likely an answer to many trivia questions, George Lazenby was the little-known Australian actor who briefly replaced Connery in the role of Bond. He only made one film, the 1969 release On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Was it a classic Bond film? No. Was Lazenby as good as Connery? No. But it was a good film and it does have one of the most memorable and realistic endings of any film in the spy series.
Roger Moore (7 Bond Films)
Needing a new leading man, the franchise settled on English actor Roger Moore, who was known for his TV work on The Saint. Moore was about 45 years old at the time he started playing Bond in the 1973 film Live and Let Die.
Moore lacked the physicality of Connery, but he had the charisma and the womanizer part down well to play Bond, which he did for 7 films. Unfortunately, it was the 1970s, the era of disco, and Moore was involved in some of the worst stories and most poorly-received Bond films, including The Man with the Golden Gun, Octopussy, and Moonraker.
Moore retired in 1985.
Timothy Dalton (2 Bond Films)
A new round of auditions was held, and 40-year-old British actor Timothy Dalton beat out the likes of Pierce Brosnan and Sam Neill. I think Neill could have brought some serious acting chops to the role, but the Dalton films, both released in the late 80s, were heavy on action with explosions and gunfights.
They weren’t bad films by any means, especially License to Kill, but they do not rank among the classic Bond movies.
Dalton retired in 1994.
Pierce Brosnan (4 Bond Films)
Brosnan was close to getting the job in the 80s, so they went back to him for the new era of Bond films, starting with GoldenEye in 1995 when he was in his early 40s.
That was an incredible start to Brosnan’s run as this was the first Bond film to be released after the action genre started taking off with films like Die Hard, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and True Lies. The bar was raised, and they met it in GoldenEye, which has one of the best opening action sequences in any Bond movie.
Unfortunately, Brosnan’s 3 follow-up films were bland and forgettable. He never came close to capturing the magic of GoldenEye. With all the other action movies and franchises popping up at this time, the Bond franchise needed a hard reset as we moved into the 21st century.
Daniel Craig (5 Bond Films)
English actor Daniel Craig was about 38 when he got the job of James Bond in 2006. At the time, he was building his resume nicely with notable performances in films such as Road to Perdition, Layer Cake, and Munich.
But Bond would be the role that turned Craig into a leading man as he played him over 5 films that were more connected in storyline than any of the previous Bonds. Craig’s first entry, Casino Royale (2006), was another instant hit that grips you right from the early parkour action scenes, showing this was going to be a new era of Bond.
They almost made the same mistake again as they did with Brosnan as Quantum of Solace was a dud of a sequel, but Craig’s Bond rebounded with Skyfall in 2012, one of the best Bond movies ever made, and then wrapped things up nicely with No Time to Die in 2021.
The Next Bond Search (Spoiler Alert)
But it was time for Craig to move on after they killed him in the last movie, so we clearly need another actor to fill these shoes. What we know from all the main Bond actors is that they were in the 32-45 age range, and they were all British/English/Scottish/Australian. In other words, close to middle-aged white men.
Is that going to continue in the 2020s? That’s hard to say, but the actor they choose should probably be someone who is on the younger side but not too young, and he should be relatively tall, handsome, and he should have a few acting credits that people recognize instead of a total newcomer.
Taron Egerton (+2500 at BetOnline)
The 34-year-old Welsh actor became famous for his role in the Kingsman movie franchise, but he’s also played Elton John in the biopic Rocketman. But it was his role in the Apple TV series Black Bird (2022) that established him as someone who can look the part of a suave guy with influence while also showing some toughness and real acting chops.
Egerton (5’9”) looked like a young kid in Kingman, but he’s only an inch shorter than Craig. This would be a solid choice.
Tom Holland (+2500 at BetOnline)
He is already super famous given he’s Spider-Man and dating Zendaya. But this is a good example of an actor who feels too young to be Bond, as Holland is 27 and can easily pass for a college student still.
I would pass on this choice both as a bettor and film junkie. Holland is a good actor, but he’s not made for James Bond.
Barry Keoghan (+1600 at BetOnline)
The Irish actor is 31 years old and very good at what he does. He is also in high demand with a potential future part as The Joker in the new Batman film series, and he’s already been nominated for his work in The Banshees of Inisherin.
But if you know this guy’s other work from The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Saltburn, then you know he does his best playing an oddball. I don’t think he could pull off Bond unless they made Bond into a real deviant anti-hero, which might actually be a good twist come to think of it.
Andrew Garfield (+1200 at BetOnline)
This 40-year-old Englishman is another former Spider-Man, and he absolutely can act with the best of them. I think if they wanted to recreate a Bond that really focused on his spy work and doing things undercover and relying more on wit than the elaborate action scenes, then Garfield could be a good choice. But that’s usually not how Bond is written.
James Norton (+1200 at BetOnline)
This 38-year-old English actor would be a strong choice. His work in the series Happy Valley was fantastic, and he plays a menacing character in that. Can he play a spy and a general good guy like Bond? I think so. But fans hoping for a household name, which is something to be expected more in this era of social media that didn’t really exist when Craig was announced in 2006, may be disappointed.
Idris Elba (+800 at BetOnline)
It feels like people have been talking about this one for years, even before Craig was done playing Bond. At one point, it probably would have been a good move. Forget breaking down the racial barrier part of it. Idris Elba is a great English actor who is versatile at his craft.
He’s known best for playing drug dealer Stringer Bell in HBO’s The Wire, but he’s just as good playing a detective in Luther. He has the looks and charisma to pull off Bond.
The problem is Elba is 51 years old now. If you sign on for this Bond, you are probably looking at a solid decade investment into the character with sequels since things are so sequel-based these days.
Also, action movies are expected to have crazy stunts and action sequences these days. Blame it on the MCU and the Fast and Furious franchise, but you basically have to defy the laws of physics with your car chases and gun fights now. Is Elba going into his 50s and approaching 60 the right guy to pull that off?
He would have been a decade ago. But time has passed on this hire.
Henry Cavil (+700 at BetOnline)
British actor Henry Cavil is 40 years old, but it feels like he keeps losing projects these days. He is no longer playing Superman, and he is getting replaced on his show The Witcher.
But you know what? That sounds like an actor with free time and a new gig to pursue. He’s British, young enough, physical enough, handsome enough, tall enough (6’1”).
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If you watched the 2015 film The Man from U.N.C.L.E. then you know he can play very well in a spy movie. I think this one checks all the boxes and should be one of your bets for the next Bond.
Pick: Next James Bond – Henry Cavil (+700) at BetOnline
Tom Hardy (+400 at BetOnline)
Tom Hardy is a great actor, but I’m not sure if James Bond is in his future. He is 46 years old and can obviously still train to be in shape, but you would have liked to see him approached a few years earlier for this at that age. Maybe before he took Venom on as a passion project that is just not very good filmmaking.
Hardy’s accents can also be hard to understand in some roles. If you know a word he said in Peaky Blinders, congratulations. He may not come off as the most charismatic Bond we’ve ever seen.
His odds are the 2nd-highest listed, but I would pass here too.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (+100 at BetOnline)
From Kick-Ass to 007? It could happen as Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the odds-on favorite to be the next James Bond. The 33-year-old English actor has plenty of franchise experience between Kick-Ass, the MCU, and Godzilla (2014).
He is 5’11 and in great physical shape. Women swoon over him, and they are ready to fight his much older wife to death to have him as their own, something you’d learn if you’ve ever opened a social media post about him.
Personally, I think Cavill still is the best option and the odds offer the best value. But I would get some shares of Taylor-Johnson as well. He fits the mold of what Bond should look like in the 2020s.
Pick: Next James Bond – Aaron Taylor-Johnson (+100) at BetOnline