Ever since Daniel Craig announced that he would be turning in the tuxedo and putting down the martini glass, the race has been on to decide who will be chosen as the next James Bond. “Bond 26” won’t even go into production until 2023 at the earliest, so it could be a good long while until we know who will take over as Ian Fleming’s iconic character.
Here’s what we do know: The new Bond will almost certainly not be the familiar 007. If the next film follows the timeline of “No Time to Die,” then James Bond is dead and Lashana Lynch’s character Nomi adopted his MI6 agent number. Of course, the next Bond movie could easily set that established timeline aside, and take place in an alternate Bond universe altogether. (It never made much sense that Sean Connery’s Bond from the 1960s and Pierce Brosnan’s Bond from the 1990s were the same person, anyway.)
So before diving into our extensive list of possible candidates, it’s worth acknowledging that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson have been clear about three things: The next Bond should be played by a Brit; the next Bond should be young enough to be able to continue in the role for at least 15 years; and the next Bond will be a man, not a woman.
Of course, as Agent 007 knows better than most, rules are meant to be bent, if not broken outright. So as the James Bond franchise turns 60, we looked at actors born in the Commonwealth, at actors well into their 60s and 70s, and, yes, at several actors who are women. The most important criteria was if the actor could bring the necessary gravitas, style and charm to playing Britain’s most famous secret agent.