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Who Should Replace Daniel Craig as James Bond? Here Are 10 Great Candidates

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Daniel Craig couldn’t have made it more clear during the Spectre press tour that he was pretty sick of playing James Bond. He even went so far as to suggest he’d pick slashing his wrists over returning as the famous secret agent for a fifth time. And now it looks like the actor is really done as 007, reportedly turning down a ton of money to star in the next Bond film. As big of a bummer as that is, it also means it’s time to speculate!

Who will be our next Bond? Bookmakers have made their bets; now it’s our turn to pick the next 007. If we had a say in this all-important casting, here’s who we’d be calling in to audition (in no particular order):

Idris Elba

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Long a favorite potential Bond of just about every 007 fan who isn’t a total racist, the former Luther and The Wire star could only be more ideal for the role if his name was actually James Bond. Suave and gruff in equal measure (not to mention obscenely handsome), Elba has a great track record in every genre the Bond movies touch, from espionage to crime to superheroes to romance. He’s so obvious a choice in 2016 that he’s almost too obvious a choice; the Bond producers tend to pick actors, like Sean Connery, George Lazenby, and Daniel Craig, who are a bit less famous. Then again, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan were both big TV stars when they were tapped to play Bond. Could Elba be next? — Matt Singer


Tom Hiddleston

Aidan Monaghan

According to some bookmakers, Hiddleston is the frontrunner to replace Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming’s master spy. He’s a conservative but solid choice. Anyone who’s seen High-Rise knows he looks great in (or out of) a sharply tailored suit, and anyone who’s seen his various Marvel movie appearances as Loki would buy his ability to seduce a super-villain of any gender when the fate of the world hangs in the balance. If there’s a knock against Hiddleston, it’s that he hasn’t had much experience with the kind of intense, practical action people expect from a Bond film. That’s not to say he couldn’t do it, just that he hasn’t done it yet. (At least before the upcoming Kong: Skull Island, where he plays a former British SAS officer.) — MS


Tom Hardy

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When I think of the next James Bond my mind immediately jumps to Tom Hardy. He’s got got a charming demeanor that belies his intimidating stature. I can just see him in a three-piece suit cooly sipping a martini as he smashes a henchman face-down into the bar with one hand. And anyone who’s seen Bronson knows how terrifyingly dangerous Hardy can be as a violent character. The blithe arrogance he brings to most of his roles would fit Bond perfectly as well. Hardy is due for a true leading role – we all know Furiosa was the star of Mad Max: Fury Road— Erin Whitney


Mark Strong

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Here’s a candidate with every single possible qualification — he’s English, can play both tough and refined, looks great in a suit — except one: Hair. There’s never been a bald Bond. (Connery was already losing his hair by the time he was hired as the original James Bond; he wore a hair piece in every single one of his 007 films.) Why can’t bald men be secret agents? Do they all store their secrets in their hair? Strong’s hiring would strike a bow against the tyranny of the follicly gifted. Plus he basically already played James Bond in the recent spoof The Brothers Grimsby, where he made a very convincing super-spy amidst all of Sacha Baron Cohen’s goofiness and penis jokes — a skill that would serve him well if the Bond series begins to beer back into cheeky Roger Moore humor. At 52, he’s a bit older than most first-time Bonds. But Moore played the role until he was 57. And look at it this way: You wouldn’t have to worry about the guy losing his hair. — MS


Luke Evans

Giles Keyte

The 37-year-old Wales native has already played several icons of classic myth and literature, including Zeus, Dracula, Aramis of The Three Musketeers, and Gaston in the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. After that, James Bond should be a breeze. He handled large-scale action in The Hobbitt movies and proved his tough guy chops (and looked damn good behind the wheel of a fast car) as the menacing Owen Shaw in Fast & Furious 6. The only issue with Evans is his preference for facial hair. James Bond must never, under any circumstances, have a mustache. This is non-negotiable. — MS


Michael Fassbender

Kerry Brown
Kerry Brown

Despite the fact that Michael Fassbender isn’t quite a household name (sadly), he’s managed to balance dramatic roles in smaller films with huge blockbusters. While Bond doesn’t necessarily need an actor with as much range and talent as Fassbender, I think he’d bring an interesting emotional dynamic to the character. He hasn’t had a ton of opportunities to flex his action muscles beyond the X-Men films, and while Assassin’s Creed might help change that, I’d love to see him in a fight sequence with less CGI. Plus, his cunning Lt. Hicox in Inglourious Basterds’ pub shootout feels like such a badass Bond moment. — EW


Dominic Cooper

NEED FOR SPEED

You may not know who Dominic Cooper is, but you should. He’s had a low-key career with roles in British indies, period pieces, and a stint as Howard Stark in Captain America and Agent Carter, but he’s yet to find the leading action role he seems destined for. Luckily AMC’s new series Preacher is giving him that, and I assure you, after you see him in it, my Bond suggestion will make some sense. He has a mysterious reticence in Preacher mixed with a inkling for violence that I can see working for a new Bond. He’s also one of the younger actors on our list at 37, something that could give the franchise a jolt of youthful energy following Craig’s departure. He also stars in this summer’s Warcraft, which will hopefilly bring him more mainstream attention. — EW


Emily Blunt

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL

Who says 007 has to be a man? Emily Blunt more than proved her toughness in last year’s Sicario and Edge of Tomorrow, and she’s well-deserving of a major leading role in an action film. Blunt as Bond would put a woman front and center of a major franchise, which is far overdue. It would also challenge and reinvent the sexist tropes and sexual dynamics of the iconic secret agent. We’ve already seen female characters like Eva Green’s Vesper challenge the Bond girl stereotypes, but a female Bond would take the series in a truly bold and new direction. — EW


Matthias Schoenaerts

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The Belgian-born Schoenaerts is best known for Rust and Bone alongside Marion Cotillard, last year’s The Danish Girl, and most recently A Bigger Splash with Tilda Swinton. In other words, he’s best known for smaller movies, none of which are particularly action-packed. But there’s just something about this guy that tells me he can go far beyond those compassionate roles. He has a sense of class and composure that suits a Bond, and which I could easily see exploding into sudden violence. — EW


Leonardo DiCaprio

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Do we think he would ever take the role? No, especially now that he’s an Oscar winner. And there’s never been an American James Bond, so producers might disqualify him on those grounds automatically. But think about this: The biggest movie star in the world, basically the last guy left who can open any movie (He turned the freaking Revenant into a blockbuster), playing the most famous and popular action hero in movie history. People would lose their minds if this happened. It would be one of the surest sure things in movie history. He’s got the looks, the style, the swagger, the chops, and the espionage experience. (Body of Lies, suckas!) And if you want him to do a British accent, he’s great at accents too. This one is the longest shot on the list, but it’s kind of the one we want most. — MS

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