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Next James Bond: 17 actors we want as 007

Tom Hiddleston, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Idris Elba, three potential next Bonds
(Image credit: Arturo Holmes, Leon Bennett and Karwai Tang/Getty)

The next Bond is going to be the chatter of Hollywood and beyond, as Daniel Craig is stepping down. (No Time To Die is his swan song after four movies as 007.) But who should inherit his license to kill and 00-ranking? While we won't get an answer until 2022 at the earliest (so says Bond producer Barbara Broccoli), it's not too early to play Cast That Bond!

For a very long time, the internet has begged for Idris Elba to take the role, but MGM (now an Amazon subsidiary) has never taken anyone up on that cry. And since we've already watched the James Bond movies in order, we've made a list with Elba and 16 other prime candidates to take over for Craig.

Once you've looked at our list, you'll see that we're breaking apart the qualifications for Bond past what they once were. Not only are there Black and bi-racial James Bonds on our list, there's also multiple female James Bonds. And since James isn't a name that's tied to any gender, there wouldn't be any need to rename the character. 

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here are 17 actors we'd love to see as the next James Bond. And, yes, there was some internal debate over this list. Not everyone on here fits everyone's idea of who James Bond is.

Regé-Jean Page

Regé-Jean Page, one option for the next James Bond

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Many folks (men, women and non-binaries like) with a Netflix account know who this is, but for everyone else, Page played the ridiculously handsome Duke of Hastings in the first season of Bridgerton. He's certainly charming, has the acting chops and would be the first biracial Bond, but at 31 he may be a tad too young. However, don't write Page off forever — his next major lead role will be in a reboot of The Saint, memorably played in the 1960s by none other than Roger Moore. — Paul Wagenseil

Tom Holland

Tom Holland, one option for the next James Bond

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While he may seem a little short and child-like for the role (who gives a kid a license to kill?), there's a whole future of Bond movies ready for the current Peter Parker. At only 25 years young, Holland has his whole career ahead of him, and with his third Spider-Man movie under his belt, and multiple other MCU movies, he's a big enough name to be a box office draw. Oh, and if you're wondering, "shouldn't James Bond be British?" I guess you've never heard Tom Holland speak in his real voice. The guy's a "secret Brit," and a complete chameleon when it's time to talk. Plus, he's already demonstrated his ability to go serious with the movie Cherry. — Henry T. Casey 

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, one option for the next James Bond

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If the folks behind James Bond want a whole new world with Mr. Bond, I recommend Gugu Mbatha-Raw. You may know her from roles in Loki or The Morning Show, but Mbatha-Raw is an unknown-enough name that she won't walk into the 007 role with a lot of baggage. That said, her experience as Judge Ravonna in Loki showed she's as good with sly negotiation as she is in hand-to-hand combat. Plus, her character arc in season 1 of The Morning Show as Hannah demonstrated that she's equally capable with an emotional storyline that is tied to accusations and deceit. — Henry T. Casey 

James Norton

James Norton is one option for the next James Bond

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James Norton isn't a household name in America, although Masterpiece Mystery viewers may recognize him as the original "hot priest" on Grantchester, and he's also got a major role in HBO's The Nevers. That anonymity may be an asset for Norton if James Bond franchise owner Eon Productions wants a relatively unknown actor. Norton ticks off many of the other boxes for a new Bond: he's youngish (36), tall, very handsome, very English and just a bit posh. However, his action credentials are mostly limited to a lead role in the BBC/AMC series McMafia and a Viking movie. Still, don't write off this dark horse. — Paul Wagenseil  

Idris Elba

Idris Elba, one option for the next James Bond

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The conversation about Idris Elba as the first Black James Bond has gone on for so long that it feels like it would have happened by now. And that's because it should have happened already. Elba's smoldering work in Luther has primed audiences for his time as a 00 agent, while his performances in The Wire and Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw have shown he has plenty of range. Whether you want your Bond to be clever and focused on the big picture while he's working with the younger agents, or a Bond who can do all the big stunts, Elba's your man. Some around the Tom's Guide Slack think that Elba's a bit too old for the role — that the Broccolis want a bond for the next decade and beyond — but we have no time to live for a world without an Idris Elba Bond movie. — Henry T. Casey

Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill, one option for the next James Bond

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With appearances in some of the biggest blockbuster franchises, both as Superman and as August Walker in the Mission: Impossible movies, Cavill was already a prime target to be the next James Bond. But then in the last couple of years, he proved capable of doing it all, from building a gaming PC (really) to helming The Witcher on Netflix. That said, he's not over-exposed yet, and could blend right into the James Bond tux. You're imagining it right now, aren't you? — Henry T. Casey

Daniel Kaluuya

Daniel Kaluuya, one option for the next James Bond

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We learned that Kaluuya was good with action as W'Kabi during the climax of Black Panther, but the even more pertinent role was his work as Chris Washington in Get Out. Bond always finds himself in a bit over his head, and Washington definitely managed through such a situation when the Armitage family sent him to The Sunken Place. And anyone who's seen Kaluuya walk the red carpet these days knows that he's more than comfortable in a sharp suit. — Henry T. Casey

Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston, one option for the next James Bond

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James Bond isn't technically a master of mischief, but the main man who wears the Loki horns would be a stellar Bond. At 40, he's not too old to do a full set of 007 movies, and one just wonders if he may be too lanky for the role. The ultimate key to a successful Bond agent is one who's comfortable with action, gadgetry, espionage and banter — fields where Hiddleston has succeeded in throughout his career. One wonders if he could get his ex Taylor Swift to make a cameo. — Henry T. Casey

Henry Golding

Henry Golding, one of the next Bond options

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The British-Malaysian actor had his breakout in Crazy Rich Asians thanks to his looks, suave charm and chemistry with actresses. Sounds like just the combination needed in the next James Bond. The rising star went on to prove his acting chops in A Simple Favor and his action prowess in (the admittedly not good) Snake Eyes. Gold is not too old, not too young and not too big of a star, unlike some of the other candidates on this list. There’s still a bit of mystery to him, which is perfect for the Bond mystique. — Kelly Woo

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong'o, one option for the next James Bond

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While she may not be British, Lupita Nyong’o's good enough with accents, and excellent enough with dry banter that she could do well as 007. She showed considerable acting chops in Jordan Peele's US, where she played both sides of a very tricky situation, something that Bond always has to be capable of. And her work in the MCU as Nakia definitely shows she's ready for a raucous action scene or few. — Henry T. Casey

Dev Patel

Dev Patel, one of the next Bond options

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First thing’s first: Have you seen Dev Patel in a suit? Almost enough said. Beyond his very handsome facade, Patel is also one of England’s best young actors, with a BAFTA win and Oscar nomination for Lion among other accolades. So, he fulfills a lot of the more superficial Bond requirements. More than that, his South Asian roots reflect the changing face of Britain and could bring in an interesting exploration of the country’s colonial past. Sure, Patel has declared he doesn’t want the role, but what’s a Bond movie without a little chase? — Kelly Woo

Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson, one of the potential next James Bonds

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Since the Twilight saga ended, Pattinson has established himself as a dependable, unpredictable actor in movies ranging from the art-house The Lighthouse to the mega-budget Tenet. He's the right age (35) and the right nationality (English) for Bond, but there's one big obstacle in the way of him picking up Bond's Walther PPK pistol: Pattinson is slated to play Batman on the big screen for the next several years. — Paul Wagenseil

Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown, one of the next Bond options

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If the Bond franchise really wants to leap into the future, why not cast one of the biggest stars of Generation Z? Millie Bobby Brown is, of course, world-famous for Stranger Things, but she’s also honed her skills in two Godzilla movies and Enola Holmes (showcasing her natural British accent in the latter). Casting the 17-year-old as James Bond would be a massive shake-up of the character first introduced in 1953. But maybe this is the perfect opportunity to say “out with the old, in with the new. — Kelly Woo

Brett Goldstein

Brett Goldstein, one option for the next James Bond

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Oh, for f’ks sake! Goldstein has become one of the breakout stars of Ted Lasso not just for his ability to swear a blue streak, but for his gruff demeanor guarding his rather tender soul. Roy Kent’s cool, steady glare would translate well to Bond’s steely-eyed spy, and Goldstein’s physicality would be up to the task of playing an action hero. Plus, as a CGI character, it’ll be easy to insert him anywhere in the world.  — Mike Prospero

Christian Bale

Christian Bale, one option for the next James Bond

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Between Patrick Bateman and Bruce Wayne, Bale has plenty of experience playing rich tuxedo-clad bachelors with mental issues. While he might be reluctant to take on another franchise, he’s got the chops for action, too, and thanks to the Q branch, Bond has just as many high-tech toys as Batman. Holding a martini while blowing away bad guys would be as easy for Bale as slipping into a Tom Ford suit. — Mike Prospero

James McAvoy

James McAvoy, one option for the next James Bond

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As the young Professor Xavier, McAvoy has experience playing franchise characters, and he’s young enough to realistically portray the Bond character for a good 10 years or more. His sense of humor will also add a touch of levity that helps leaven the action in all the best Bond films. And considering the greatest Bond ever was a Scotsman, why not go back to the source? — Mike Prospero

Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott, one of the potential next Bond actors

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The Dublin-born and -raised Scott has been acting for 25 years, and at 44 might be approaching the cutoff age to commit to Bond for the next decade. But anyone who's seen Scott as Moriarty in Sherlock or as the "hot priest" in the second season of Fleabag knows how much of a presence he can make. I still think Pierce Brosnan was one of the best Bonds -- why not take a chance on another Irishman? — Paul Wagenseil