Since first appearing on screen in 1962, seven different actors have had the privledge of donning the infamous tuxedo of 007. With Spectre set to hit theaters this Friday, many speculate that this will be the last time Daniel Craig saves the world from an imminent attack. With no clear end in the sight for the franchise, the show must go on. But who will be the next 007?

During his tenure as 007, Daniel Craig has added a dimension to the character previously unseen throughout the decades. By portraying the spy as a more grizzled and aging figure who has seen his experiences catch up to him, it created a series of films that were decidedly darker in the wake of countless terrorism-backed tragedies that have made the world feel at times like even the greatest spy in the world could no longer save us.

Craig has strongly insinuated that this will be his last time portraying James Bond. In a brief interview with Time Out London, he answered questions regarding a possibility of a fifth film with him as the lead, saying, “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”

While many suggest that Craig’s strong statement was a direct reflection of the arduous filming schedule which took him all around the world and tested him both physically and mentally, his statements as of this moment have to read as fact. Daniel Craig doesn’t want to do James Bond (he himself said it would only be for the money), and producers must look to another source if they want to continue cashing in on the ultra-popular and extremely lucrative franchise.

“Look, I don’t give a fuck,” Craig said when asked about a potential replacement. “Good luck to them! All I care about is that if I stop doing these things we’ve left it in a good place and people pick it up and make it better. Make it better, that’s all.”

Although several names have been floated in the past, there are additional names which have been added to the growing list of actors who could step into Daniel Craig’s shoes. Here’s what we know.

Damian Lewis

While he may be best known for his portrayal of conflicted American POW, Nicholas Brody, on Showtime’s drama Homeland, Damian Lewis has found his name being floated as the top contender to become the next James Bond according to UK bookmakers who upped his chances from 25/1 to near-favorite 3/1 in June of this year.

“This is an unprecedented gamble, as for no apparent reason we have seen bets of up to £200 [$312 USD] on Damian Lewis being named as the next Bond. This could well be significant and might herald the end of Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous spy,” said a spokesperson.

Roger Moore, who portrayed James Bond in films Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill has also thrown his support behind Lewis, saying, “Hugh Jackman and [Homeland star] Damian Lewis.”

Idris Elba

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Idris Elba has had his name mentioned on many occasions – not only because of his debonair style and English roots, but because he’s the first black actor to have ever been connected with the role.

Momentum has grown for Elba’s inclusion during the last several months, forcing comment from those with ties to the source material.

Anthony Horowitz, who has added to the novel franchise created by Ian Fleming with a new 007 adventure called “Trigger Mortis,” told the Daily Mail recently: “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”

Yaphet Kotto, who played the Bond series’s only black villain in 1973’s Live and Let Die, told The Big Issue that “political correctness be damned,” Bond could never be played by a non-white actor: “He was established by Ian Fleming as a white character, played by white actors. It’s silly. Play 003 or 006 but you cannot be 007.”

Elba himself has been open about his desire to play the character after learning that so many people wanted to see it happen. “If human beings want to know if there’s any connectivity between all of us, the one thing I’ve heard around the world universally is that, ‘You’ll be great at James Bond!’” Elba told Variety while discussing his new film, Beasts of No Nation. “If it should happen, that’s proof there’s connectivity amongst human beings. If everyone wants something, they can make it happen. That would be true.”

Whereas people were up in arms because Daniel Craig was the first Bond with blonde hair, it seems people are protective of the character’s portrayal, but always appreciative and welcoming when a new actor adds new energy – no matter short, tall, white, black or ginger.

Although there’s no discussions between Elba and Bond producers, we can always thank the Internet for a glimpse at what Elba as 007 would look like.

Tom Hardy

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If Tom Hardy’s turn as Max Rockatansky in this year’s reboot of the Mad Max franchise is any indication, the actor is quite comfortable stepping into titular character shoes. In fact, Hardy always seems up to the task – whether playing villains in Batman, a deranged baker in Peaky Blinders, a notorious criminal in Bronson, or a fighter in Warrior. Simply put, there isn’t a better chameleon when it comes to acting than Tom Hardy.

In September of this year, Irish bookmaker, BoyleSports, took Hardy’s name to odds-on-favorite to play James Bond – slotting him  at 2/1, while Idris Elba was slightly behind at 3/1, and Damian Lewis at 7/2.

Henry Cavill

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Many would argue that if you’re suitable to be the Man of Steel, you’ve got all the necessary attributes to be James Bond. As the latest actor to portray Superman, Henry Cavill also has the recent experience in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as a proof of concept that he fits just as well in a debonair suit as he does in a cape.

When James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli were searching for the next 007 after Pierce Brosnan, they reportedly had two choices: Cavill and Daniel Craig. Ultimately, Cavill was deemed too young. “I came very close,” Cavill told EW back in 2011. With five more years of seasoning, and the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which promises to be one of the biggest films of 2016, it wouldn’t be shocking for producers to revisit an old favorite.

Michael Fassbender

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With such varied turns as Magneto in the X-Men films and Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle’s latest biopic about the late Apple CEO, there are many who have both worked with Michael Fassbender – as well as admired him from afar – who believe he would make the perfect James Bond.

Director Matthew Vaughn of Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass acclaim stated in 2011, “I was very keen to direct Bond. I don’t know if I am any more, to be blunt, now that I’ve done this. I really love Daniel [Craig], though, you know, it might be interesting if they one day decide to cast Fassbender as Bond, then maybe I’ll go ‘Hey!’”

Andrew Lincoln

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Although Andrew Lincoln is currently enjoying his turn as tortured and conflicted Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, he certainly has the British pedigree and rough and rugged attitude should Bond producers continue to take 007 down an even darker moral path.

Words by Alec Banks
Features Editor

Alec Banks is a Los Angeles-based long-form writer with over a decade of experience covering fashion, music, sports, and culture.

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