Daniel Craig's reign as James Bond came to a close with "No Time to Die" in 2021 (along with a fiery end that leaves the future of the series entirely up in the air). But while the end for Bond in this movie seems a bit final, we definitely know 007's story isn't over. As always, when the franchise returns, a new Bond will be at the helm. "No Time to Die" producer Barbara Broccoli told Variety in April 2022 that "it's going to take some time" to figure out who should be cast in this iconic role. "It's a big decision," she said. "It's not just casting a role. It's about a whole rethink about where we're going."
Thus far, a lot of names have been thrown around to possibly step into the role, with some being more rooted for than others among fans. The debate among fans about who should replace Craig as Bond is so serious, in fact, that people place actual bets on gambling websites that their prediction will become a reality. The odds are constantly changing, of course.
The latest name to be thrown into the mix? "Citadel" star Richard Madden. Over the weekend, the actor posted an Instagram video of him drinking a martini with costar Stanley Tucci. Without even mentioning the Bond name, fans were quick to point out that 007 loves martinis. Was Madden trying to tell us something?
Previously, former Bond girl Ana de Armas said in a Wired Autocomplete interview on April 20 that she can see Paul Mescal in the role, but if producers of the Bond franchise are to be believed, it's likely the 27-year-old is too young. For example, producer Michael G. Wilson shut down rumors that they were looking to cast someone younger than the usual 30-something in the role in an "In Conversation" event at London's British Film Institute in October 2022, according to Deadline. "We've tried looking at younger people in the past but trying to visualise it doesn't work," Wilson said. "Remember, Bond's already a veteran. He's had some experience. He's a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He's probably been in the SAS or something. He isn't some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That's why it works for a 30-something."
Longtime Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams echoed Williams's sentiment in an April 11 interview with Radio Times, explaining that although they did consider younger actors for the role ahead of Craig's casting in 2006's "Casino Royale," they realized quickly it wasn't going to work. "When we started, it was a slightly different feel," McWilliams said. "We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don't think they had the gravitas, they didn't have the experience, they didn't have the mental capacity to take it on. Because it's not just the part they're taking on, it's a massive responsibility. So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again."
And as far as the would-be Bond's level of fame, McWilliams said they need not be established movie stars. In fact, most Bonds were relatively unknown to the general public before their casting. "Timothy Dalton was known, but he was known as a Shakespearean actor, really," McWilliams said. "Pierce [Brosnan] was known, but that was basically from television. Roger Moore was known from television. Sean Connery wasn't – nobody had ever heard of him. A certain audience had heard of Daniel Craig, but much more the kind of independent cinema audience. He hadn't done any huge commercial film at all, really."
Considering everything we know, here's who the world is rooting for to be the next James Bond ranked from the most likely to least likely contenders.