Who is the next James Bond? All the rumours on who could replace Daniel Craig as 007

From Idris Elba to Cillian Murphy and Benedict Cumberbatch, read on for the latest rumoured replacements for 007 as Daniel Craig films Bond 25, his last outing

Daniel Craig and Idris Elba

With Daniel Craig set to step down from his role as James Bond after his fifth and final film in the franchise, No Time to Die, there are more than a few names being floated when it comes to who could take his place.


Though his tenure was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic, No Time to Die’s release being delayed until November, there will be a Bond-shaped hole to fill in a matter of months.

From Sam Heughan to Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston to James Norton, we’ve put together the list of actors rumoured to be in the running to replace Craig.

Here’s everything you need to know about the latest Bond rumours…

Sam Heughan

Starz FYC Day

Outlander star Sam Heughan has voiced his interest in bringing Bond back to Scotland for the first time since Sean Connery’s stint as the suave spy.

Asked whether he’d considered the role, Heughan previously told STV News: “I think any actor who says they wouldn’t would be lying, and I think it’s time we have a Scottish Bond again.”

During a recent appearance on This Morning, the actor called James Bond the “dream role”, noting, “Obviously it’s a dream for every actor.

“I auditioned for it back when they were doing Bond 21 when Daniel Craig was cast in Casino Royale and I think a lot of actors were seen in the UK,” he said.

“Of course it would be a dream role and a Scottish Bond, who doesn’t want to see another Scottish Bond!”

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch (Getty, EH)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Getty, EH)

The Sherlock star could be jumping from one iconic spy to another if the bookies are anything to go by after Cumberbatch’s odds were slashed from 100/1 to 10/1.

Cumberbatch previously spoke about taking over the baton from Craig, saying he doesn’t think he has what it takes.

Speaking to the Guardian he said: “I can wear a suit, and I can fight! I can raise my eyebrow, but that’s not what it takes to play Bond. They might want to go in very different directions, who knows? It would be fun though!”

Tom Hiddleston


Idris Elba’s Thor co-star Tom Hiddleston was rumoured to be lined up as the next Bond a couple of years ago, particularly after a reported meeting with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli — and it also seemed fate was smiling after Night Manager director Susanne Bier was tipped as the next James Bond director.

However, back in 2016 he told fans that “your guess is as good as mine, to be honest”.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you everybody,” he said at Wizard Comic Con in Philadelphia. “I don’t think that announcement is coming.”

…that hasn’t stopped the odds favouring the star though, so watch this space.

Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy 'Dunkirk' World Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals

He’s already played a similar role in Inception so we know he’s got the acting chops for it. Hardy also looks like Bond, at least Ian Fleming’s version of the 007 agent. Then there’s the small fact it sounds like he wants the role saying: “There’s a saying amongst us in the fraternity of acting… that if you talk about it [Bond rumours] you’re automatically out of the race. So I can’t possibly comment on that one!”

Rupert Friend


Best known for playing CIA hitman Quinn in Homeland and for various film roles including The Death of Stalin and Pride and Prejudice, Rupert Friend was actually asked to screen test for the role of Bond at the age of 22, after Pierce Brosnin left the franchise — but Friend said no.

“I just thought, ‘I’m too young for this. I need to have some life experience. James Bond needs to have lived’,” Friend said in an interview with The Times. “I love Bond films. I don’t want to be the guy who messes it up because he hasn’t got miles on the clock.”

Of course, now that he’s had the requisite life experience, it begs the question: would Friend say yes this time around?

Cillian Murphy


The Peaky Blinders actor is the latest star to be tipped for the role, after his odds of becoming the next Bond were slashed in March 2019.

The acclaimed actor would be the second Irish star to play Bond, following in the footsteps of Pierce Brosnan. Although maybe the rumours have more to do with his return to Peaky Blinders later this year?

Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Luther star Idris Elba has long been tipped to replace Daniel Craig — and the Golden Globes added fuel to the fire when they decided to have a little fun and sit Craig right next to his long-rumoured successor

However, Elba has previously attempted to quash the rumours, stating that he wouldn’t want to take on a role that would “define” him.

“Bond is one of the biggest franchises in the world, and for that reason, whoever ends up playing it, lives it,” he told Event magazine.

“You’re THAT character, and known as that character for many, many years. I’m creating characters now that can still live alongside Idris. Not ones that take over me and solely define me.”

Elba also addressed the reaction to the rumours he could be sipping a martini very soon saying he was “disheartened”.

Speaking to Esquire he said: “When you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be.’ And it really turns out to be the color of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”

Richard Madden

Richard Madden

Ever since Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden broke TV records — and the nation’s hearts —in his Golden Globe-winning Bodyguard role, he’s been widely rumoured to be waiting in the wings for Craig’s Bond role.

The actor has previously responded to rumours he was up for the Bond job, adding that he didn’t want to “curse anything” by going into too much detail about the rumours.

“I’m more than flattered to be mentioned, for people to consider putting me in that role. I’m very flattered and thankful. It’s a really brilliant thing to be in,” he said in an interview in GQ magazine.

“I don’t want to curse anything by saying anything. I think that’s the curse of that. If you talk about anything, you’ll curse it.”

His Bodyguard co-star Keeley Hawes however, who played Home Secretary Julia Montague in the drama, has thrown her support behind Madden.

“I said to Richard while we were shooting, ‘This is like James Bond!’” Hawes said at the Radio Times Covers Party.

“I would love to see Richard playing James Bond; I would love that,” she added. “I think he would be phenomenal.”

Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner

Poldark star Aidan Turner has the requisite brooding stare needed for the role, but he’s previously refused to entertain the possibility of becoming the next 007 — or at least until Daniel Craig steps down…

Asked about the rumours by the i newspaper, Turner said: “There’s someone else playing the role – I always feel weird talking about it. It’s come up a lot in recent times.”

But he added: “When it’s free, I’ll have a look at it. But it’s not free now.”

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson (Getty)
Gillian Anderson (Getty)

‘The name’s Bond. Jane Bond.’

X-Files and Sex Education’s Gillian Anderson was delighted when Twitter started a campaign to cast Anderson as the next Bond.

The James Bond novelist Anthony Horowitz has previously boosted the campaign to cast a woman as 007 by insisting that “anyone” could take the coveted role.

“I could imagine anyone as Bond,” Horowitz said when asked whether he could imagine a woman in the role.

James Norton

James Norton plays Stephen Ward in The Trial of Christine Keeler

Famous for his roles in Happy Valley, War and Peace and Grantchester, James Norton is already a firm Brit favourite. Diane Keaton speaking to Sky News said Norton would be perfect for the role. She said: “He’s got everything that you need. First of all he’s extremely attractive, very smart, he’s well educated, and he’s a fantastic actor. And he’s sexy, right? I’m not wrong, I mean women are gonna love him.”

Lashana Lynch

Lashana Lynch james bond

New rumours have linked the Brit actor with the 007 role. Lynch is already in the upcoming movie No Time To Die and a few movie insiders have speculated that she will be introduced as the new agent. With Phoebe Waller-Bridge on the script it seems likely Bond will take on a more feminist angle… will this be it?

Henry Cavill

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Actor Henry Cavill arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Justice League' at Dolby Theatre on November 13, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 13: Actor Henry Cavill arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ ‘Justice League’ at Dolby Theatre on November 13, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

We’ve seen Cavill in a similar role in The Man from U.N.C.L.E – does that count as an audition? Or does it put him out of the running?

Cavill also said he auditioned for the part aged 22 (in 2005) where he reached round two but then Craig beat him to the role.


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